Marlins Split WSH Doubleheader

The Marlins started an important series of baseball versus the Washington Nationals yesterday. They ended up splitting the doubleheader, losing game 1 5-0 and winning game 2 14-3. The classic set of opposite results. In a wild day, in game 1 Sixto Sanchez faltered for the first time in a Marlins uniform but was picked up by Brian Anderson’s 3-homer 7-RBI game 2.

What’s the difference between scoring 0 and 14?

 

Mentality. In-game 2, the Marlins played like they were on the verge of their first playoff berth in 17 years. In-game 1, they didn’t. Under no circumstances should a career 5.15 ERA pitcher in Erick Fedde be shutting down the Marlins. If I would have taken off my glasses, I would have thought the man was Max Scherzer. The Marlins got 2-hit in game 1, so there is not much to talk about statistically. Game 2, however, was quite a different story. 14 runs on 12 hits? That’s what we are talking about. Brian Anderson made 3 home runs look easy, and Lewis Brinson went 3-4, upping his average to .266, showing his continued growth this season. Consistency at the plate is key to this team’s final 10 games.

What happened to Sixto?

 

Ok, so our ace having a lackluster start like this one is frightening especially when he is set to take the mound twice more, and hopefully a third time in the playoffs. What I visibly saw was that he was too reliant on his stuff. His pitches weren’t breaking as much, and since he had great success allowing teams to put the ball in play, he continued throwing strikes. He became predictable. He needs to go back to being predictably wild. I’m sure Mel Stottlemyre will be on top of it.

10 more games for the Marlins :O

 

The Marlins are only 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place Cincinnati Reds and .5 games ahead of the Phillies for 2nd in the NL East. These 10 games will be one of the most important 10-game stretches in Marlins’ history. Pablo Lopez (4-4, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow versus Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.10 ERA).

 

Marlins get shutout versus Boston

After the bats looked to be on one of the most positive upward trends of the year, they completely died against Boston. Luckily, the Miami Heat came through and beat their Boston-based opponents in the ECF in a thrilling game. The Marlins and Red Sox game was, well, quite the polar opposite. The Red Sox won 2-0, improving their season record to 18-31, as the Marlins fell to 24-22. The Marlins still remain 2nd in the division and in the playoffs, for now. 

Marlins pitching >>>

 

Look, this team has clearly had minor issues when it comes to keeping the opponents at bay. If anyone asks… no, we did not lose 29-9. Why look at that game when we can look at the 30 other positive examples of stellar pitching? Last night, with Sandy Alcantara starting on the mound, the Marlins allowed 2 total runs on 7 hits. Again, normally, when this is the case, we should be celebrating victory afterward. I guess tonight was one of those nights where the bats just couldn’t keep up.

Marlins hitting <<<

 

I honestly don’t think there’s anything to recap. 0 runs on 4 hits. I’m not really sure what to talk about when it comes to this performance, so let’s look ahead. The Phillies are only a half-game behind us for 2nd in the NL East. The Reds (in 9th place) are only 2 games back. With 14 games left in the season, the Marlins have nowhere near clinched the playoffs. The bats need to pick up where they left off against Philadelphia if they are going to make the final push, and give fans a dream 17 years in the making. 

A look at today’s game

 

Trevor Rogers (1-1, 6.50 ERA) takes the mound versus Mike Kickham (1-0, 5.00 ERA). The Marlins need to capitalize on a weak Red Sox team to put themselves in the best situation possible. These next two games may be the reason the Marlins make the playoffs or don’t

Marlins series Phillies

5 Takeaways from Marlins Series Win Over Phillies

The Miami Marlins put MLB on notice this weekend. Long considered also-rans, door mats and ‘bottom-feeders’, the Marlins continue to buck those traditional epithets in lieu of a different one: playoff contenders. The evidence has never been more obvious, and the Marlins 7-game series win over the Phillies now stands as Exhibit A.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Marlins series win over the Phillies.

Sixto’s an Ace in the making

The start to Sixto Sanchez’s career continues to turn heads in baseball. In five starts, Sanchez has posted a 3-1 record with a 1.69 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 32 innings pitched. He worked six innings against Atlanta allowing three hits, no runs and striking out six for his

second career win. He followed that with a complete game effort allowing one run on three hits while striking out four.

Sanchez has the second most strikeouts (29) for a pitcher in his first five MLB games, all starts, with an ERA less than 2.00. RHP Steve Busby of the 1972 Kansas City Royals had the most (31). Even Sixto’s idol, Pedro Martinez, has come away impressed.

 

Sanchez split the 2019 season between Single-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville, going 8-6 with a 2.76 ERA and striking out 103 batters while walking only 21. He went undefeated in his final eight starts of the year, posting a 0.95 ERA over the stretch.

So far this season, he’s stabilized the Marlins rotation at a time it was teetering. His performances continue to show that the Marlins have a future ace on their hands.

Bounce Back from Lopez Key for Marlins in Series Win Over Phillies

Against the Phillies on Monday, Pablo López found his early season form. After a pair of starts where Lopez struggled mightily, the 24-year-old RHP settled in and provided the Marlins with a huge bounce-back performance.

In his previous two starts, Lopez surrendered a combined 12 earned runs over 5.2 innings pitched against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. He struggled to find the strike zone consistently and gave up too many hard hits. Against Philadelphia, though, Lopez regained his ace-like form.

Lopez tossed seven innings, allowing just one earned run on Andrew McCutchen’s homer in the first. He was able to throw his curveball for strikes consistently, then paired his changeup with his 4- and 2-seam fastballs to great success.

“Biggest thing for me, I was more in sync and trying to stay on top of the ball more frequently,” Lopez said after the game. He found a rhythm with catcher Chad Wallach, which also seemed to help.

Lopez finding his early season form means the Marlins have three high-end starters in their rotation, a must for any playoff team.

Marte May Be Most Important Midseason Pick-up

The deal to bring in Starling Marte may ultimately become one of the most important mid-season acquistions in Marlins history. The team has a storied history of adding difference makers, but in recent years, that hasn’t been the case. Initially, Marte’s performance left some concerned. He hit just .200 through his first eight games. But since, he’s embarked on a torrid stretch.

Versus the Phillies, Marte posted a .400 batting average. He went 10-for-25 with seven RBI, six runs scored, four doubles and a home run. He’s repeated come through in the clutch for the Marlins, with most of his RBI either tying the score or giving the team a lead.

Over the years, the Marlins have added big talents midseason, like Gary Sheffield in 1993, Darren Daulton in 1997 and Jeff Conine in 2003. Ugueth Urbina also came in 2003. Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion both came midseason in 2004.

Marte’s addition could be among the most important in franchise history if he helps lead the team into the postseason and more.

Veteran Bats Coming Alive During Marlins Series Win Over Phillies

One of the biggest concerns for the Marlins as the starting pitching has rounded into form was the lack of offensive punch. Miami acquired Marte to provide a boost to the lineup, and he’s largely done that of late. But what was also clear during the Marlins series win over the Phillies was the veteran bats coming alive as well.

Miguel Rojas owns Philadelphia this season. In nine games against the Phillies, Rojas went 14-for-26 (.538) with eight RBI, eight runs scored, three doubles and two home runs. His ability to consistently provide a lift for the Marlins offense helped spur the team’s series win over the Phillies.

This homestand has also seen Jesus Aguilar and Brian Anderson make meaningful strides at the plate. Aguilar, who went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI on Monday, sees his batting average up to .375 over his last nine games. Over that span, he tallied eight runs scored, seven RBI, five doubles, five walks and a home run.

Anderson, meanwhile, is hitting .481 (13-for-27) over the last 10 games. He driven in seven runs and the Marlins have won seven of those 10 games.

Marlins: Legitimate Playoff Contenders

The Miami Marlins series win over the Philadelphia Phillies vaulted them into second place in the NL East. That’s a guaranteed playoff spot in 2020. The 7-3 stretch over their last 10 has positioned the Marlins to make a playoff push. The team is playing meaningful baseball in September for the first time in a long time.

The Marlins have all the makings of a successful playoff team: elite starting pitching, solid backend of the bullpen, and timely offense. This season Miami’s batting .264 (129-for-488) this season with two outs, the fourth-highest mark in the Majors and second in the National League behind San Diego (.267). The Marlins’ .360 OBP with two outs is the best in the Majors in 2020. The team has stolen 21 of their 38 bases with two outs. They’ve scored 45.8 percent of their runs this season with two outs (93-of-203), the highest such percentage in the Majors.

“I kind of hope people are giving us more credit because we do have a good team. You kind of get labeled & branded something because of the past. It’s not the same team, not the same organization,” Matt Joyce said after the game yesterday.

 

The Marlins are looking to end MLB’s second-longest playoff drought this season, and if they get in, they will compete and be a hard out for any team.

Marlins Move to 2nd in East

Six games later, the Marlins took a 4-2 series lead on the Phillies in this 7-game series, moving to 23-21 on the year. This pushes the Marlins to 8-2 in double-header games and propels them into the 2nd place spot in the division. Regardless, they are currently in a good playoff spot with only 16 games remaining this season. 

Oh boy, the pitching

On Sunday, we took another good look at Sixto Sanchez and our first look at Braxton Garrett. Wow. Sixto pitched a 1-run complete game en route to a 1-run win. What continues to impress me is his ability to pitch to contact in stressful situations. 100 MPH plus craftiness is in most cases untouchable. Sixto looks more like the future of Miami Marlins baseball every time he steps on the mound. Sixto’s dominance may have overshadowed Braxton Garrett’s first start, although it shouldn’t have. Braxton (our 2016 first-round pick) went 5 innings, allowing only 1 earned run on 3 hits, striking out 6. I have repeatedly mentioned both the current strength of this rotation, as well as the future strength. This outing hopefully signifies another addition to what is shaping to be one of the best rotations in baseball.

Can’t lose when the pitching allows 1 run

The pitching gave the hitting a big cushion most of these two games, whereas normally the opposite happens. Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte’s RBI singles were enough to get the job done in game 1, but the bats broke it wide open in game 2. The whole squad put together nice at-bats, with the icing on the cake being Chad Wallach’s first homer of the year. 

Special shoutout to Brian Anderson for making a Manny Machado-Esque play at third base. Braxton Garrett’s reaction was priceless. 

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Secure the bag.

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Looking ahead for the Marlins

The Marlins are now 2nd in the division, but obviously this could be short-lived as the Marlins play the Phillies today again at 4:10 pm. Pablo Lopez (3-4, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound for the Marlins against Vince Velasquez (0-0, 5.85 ERA) of the Phillies.

Braxton Garrett

Meet the Marlins: Braxton Garrett

The Miami Marlins roster crunch continued ahead of Sunday’s games with the Philadelphia Phillies. The team designated infielder Eddy Alvarez for assignment, transferred LHP Brandon Leibrandt to the 60-day IL and optioned RHP Dan Castano back to the Alternate Training Site in Jupiter. To fill the 29th-man roster spot for the doubleheader, the Marlins called up LHP pitching prospect Braxton Garrett.

After splitting the first four games of this pivotal seven-game series with the Phillies, the Marlins are looking to win at least two of the next three. A sweep today would guarantee a series win for the Fish.

The addition of Garrett provides Marlins manager Don Mattingly with another arm in the bullpen, which has been taxed of late. Garrett could start Game 2 if need be. The Marlins have RHP Sixto Sanchez taking the hill for Game 1.

Meet the Marlins: Braxton Garrett

The Miami Marlins drafted Braxton Garrett with the number seven overall pick in the first round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. Garrett pitched out of Florence High School in Florence, Alabama, and had committed to pitch collegiately at Vanderbilt prior to signing with the Marlins.

At 23-years-old, Garret stands 6-foot-2 and is an elite left-handed pitching prospect. MLBPipeline lists Garrett as Miami’s No. 7 overall prospect.

The Marlins were high on Garrett and his potential to move through the system quickly. Entering his pro debut, Garrett featured a high-end curveball, considering one of if not the best in high school in 2016. Unfortunately, Garrett blew out his elbow after just four starts with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Marlins Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. Garrett had Tommy John surgery in June of 2017.

Garrett missed all of the 2018 campaign rehabbing from the procedure but returned in 2019 and quickly found his old form. With the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State league, Garrett regained his momentum. He posted a 10.1 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate, which would’ve led the league if he hadn’t fallen just short of qualifying.

In 20 starts, he went 6-6 with a 3.34 ERA and 118 strikeouts over 105 innings pitched. He earned a promotion to Double-A Jacksonville late in the season.

Garrett’s pitching arsenal features a 90-93 fastball that can touch 96 mph. He has solid command of the pitch and comes at the hitters with a downward angle that could be troublesome.

He plays off his fastball with an above-average changeup, but his best pitch remains his curveball. The low-80s offering is an above-average pitch for him and he leans on it often to tally strikeouts. It works well against both left-handed and right-handed hitters.

The key for Braxton Garrett, like so many pitchers, remains location. He issued 40 walks in 106 innings pitched in 2019. That’s something he’ll have to avoid at the MLB level. As he continues to build his arm, Garrett could add more velocity to his arsenal. He’s yet another in the long line of potential stalwarts for the Marlins rotation in the future.

Marlins lose to Phillies 12-6

The Marlins played in game 4 of a 7-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies last night. The game remained close until the end when the Phillies broke it open and ended up winning 12-6. The Fish have not been playing their best baseball through these 4 important games, and because of this, they are lucky to have come out with a split 2-2 record. This keeps them at .500, but more importantly, only 1.5 games back of the Phillies for 2nd in the division. 

Another pitching blip

 

For the Marlins, these slip-ups are becoming more and more common. Jose Urena didn’t pitch terribly after giving up a first-inning Grand Slam to Didi Gregorious. He went 4.1 IP allowing 5 ER on 5 hits. The hitting eventually brought the Marlins back into the game, but the bullpen couldn’t keep things under control. Richard Bleier and Josh A. Smith combined to allow 6 ER on 7 hits in the 7th and 8th inning. This put the game out of reach, handing Jose Urena the first loss of his young season.

Honestly, the Marlins bats look a lot better

 

Yes, the Marlins lost, but the level of quality at-bats, especially from younger players, is increasing on a daily basis. On any other night, if we were told the Marlins scored 6 runs on 10 hits, we would take it without even blinking. Aguilar and Anderson went deep, cementing a strong middle of the order. Miggy Ro struggled with a hand injury, comparing it to a jammed finger, which is interesting to note as he continues to serve as the Marlin’s most consistent hitter. If the pitching picks up their game, and the bats continue on this upwards trend, the playoffs look more and more within reach.

Looking ahead

 

The Marlins have 3 more games versus the Phillies. As aforementioned, these games become more and more important as the season comes to a close. The Marlins have Sixto Sanchez (2-1, 1.80 ERA) on the mound. The Phillies are yet to announce their starter.

 

Marlins doubleheader Phillies

5 Takeaways from Marlins Doubleheader Split with Phillies

The 5-day, 7-game series between the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies stands as the most important series in recent Marlins history. Meaningful baseball in September is not something Marlins Park has witnessed lately. After a rousing walk-off win on Thursday, the Marlins split Friday’s doubleheader with the Phillies, taking Game 2 5-3 after a 11-0 Game 1 loss.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Marlins doubleheader split with the Phillies.

Dontrelle Willis in on Trevor Rogers

The Marlins have a bevy of young arms at their disposal. And while most of the headline these days have been reserved for Sixto SanchezTrevor Rogers has also impressed. Entering Friday’s doubleheader, Rogers posted a 3.00 ERA with 21 strikeouts over his first three starts at the Major League level.

Rogers, a former first-round pick by the Marlins, outdueled two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom. He then notched a career-high 10 strikeouts in his last outing against Tampa Bay. Perhaps most impressive is Rogers accomplishments come without a single start above Double-A prior to 2020.

Rogers piled up five strikeouts over the first two innings on Friday. Unfortunately, though, the potent Phillies lineup figured him out in the third and fourth innings, putting up nine runs (eight earned) and chasing him from the game. Rogers exited with 26 strikeouts over his first four career starts with the Marlins, matching the franchise record held by Dontrelle Willis.

During the game, Willis voiced his support for Rogers on Twitter.

 

“[Rogers is] a strike thrower with great life but teams can use that to be aggressive (which the Phillies did the second time around) and they swing at everything cause they know it’s going to be in the zone,” Willis said on Twitter. “I was effectively wild so they couldn’t do that to me.”

Rogers will have to make adjustments, like moving the hitters’ feet, which Willis mentioned, if he wants to continue his early-season successes. After Friday’s performance, Rogers’ ERA jumped from 3.00 to 6.50.

Run Differential Doesn’t Mean Much

Entering Saturday’s game, the Marlins team run differential sits at minus-28. That’s the fourth-worst run differential in the National League, but Miami currently sports the sixth-best record in the NL and holds the 7-seed for the playoffs.

Going into their final game in Atlanta earlier this week, the Marlins had an even run differential. What followed over the last four games pushed the run differential to negative-28.

That said, Miami is 2-2 in that span, despite being outscored 45-21.

Wednesday’s historic loss tilted the differential dramatically to the negative. Remove that contest, the Marlins would be minus-8 for the season. Take Friday’s 11-0 game off the ledger and Miami’s plus-3. And that’s just two of the team’s 41 games this season. Even eliminating the Marlins two most lopsided wins of the season (8-0, 8-2) would only move the differential to minus-8.

There’s only one non-playoff team in the NL that sports a better run differential figure at present (Mets, plus-9).

Run differential is often used when judging the likelihood of a team’s sustained success in a season. But with a 60-game sprint, the sample size may be too small. The last time that the team with the best run differential won the World Series was in 2016 (Cubs, plus-252).

Perhaps the most telling part of this might be the fact that Wednesday’s game in Atlanta should not have been such a historic blowout. A seemingly blown call by the umpires in the second inning turned what would’ve been a 2-1 Marlins lead heading into the third into a 11-2 deficit. After that call, and several other borderline ball-and-strike calls in favor of the Braves, the game got out of hand.

What’s more, the Marlins have been better than average in one-run games this season (8-7), after a terrible 2019 (16-28). Miami’s average margin of victory is 2.71, while it’s average margin of defeat is nearly double that at 4.25.

Brinson Breaking Out During Marlins, Phillies Doubleheader

The emergence of Lewis Brinson over the last few weeks has come as a surprise to some, but not to the 26-year-old outfielder.

“It’s not a fluke that I’m here and living out my dream,” Brinson said. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears over the past couple of years. This offseason has been big for me, mentally and physically, being able to trust myself and know that I’m here for a reason.”

Brinson’s third inning home run sparked the Marlins offense in Game 2 of the doubleheader.

“That was big,” Brinson said postgame via Zoom. “Tied the game up against a good lineup. Got momentum on our side a little bit. Obviously after that, we took off a little bit.”

In his last 15 games, Brinson has made strides at the plate. He’s hitting .313 over that stretch with a .989 OPS. In those games, he scored six runs, drove in five and connected on three homers.

“He’s coming along,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ll keep going with him. He’s getting better. We’ll mix and match him a lot of different ways.”

There’s a Competition Brewing at Second Base

The return of Isan Díaz to the lineup this weekend is a welcome one, too. Considered the Marlins second baseman of the future, Diaz opted out for the season in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in July. However, after sitting out nearly two months, Diaz opted back in and has been welcomed with open arms.

Playing in his first games since July, Diaz’s RBI single in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the doubleheader put the Marlins up for good.

Prior to the game, Diaz said he’s “very excited to be here again.” He talked about how his decision to opt out was tough and personal. He went on to say he’s appreciative of both the organization and his teammates for welcoming him back.

His return comes after Jon Berti was placed on the 10-day IL. Jazz Chisholm has manned most of the games at second since.

Diaz called Chisholm “a stud” and said he’s “doing a phenomenal job” at second. Diaz revealed he took grounders at third base in Jupiter, something also seen at Marlins park prior to Friday’s games, and claimed he’s ready to play anywhere he’s needed.

Chisholm has manned both second base and shortstop this season. He’s hitting only .160, but in his last two starts, Chisholm has made strides at the plate. He’s 3-for-8 with a triple, a homer, two RBI and a walk in those most recent starts.

In his return, Diaz went 2-for-5 over the doubleheader, driving in one run.

“It’s a good feeling to come back into the clubhouse and see everyone, and see how focused everyone is,” Díaz said postgame. “It’s exciting. I’m ready to go, and I’m happy to be back.”

Is Yimi the New Closer?

Prior to the Marlins doubleheader with the Phillies on Friday, Yimi Garcia said it doesn’t matter to him when or where he pitches.

“I don’t believe in roles,” Garcia said pregame. “I’m ready to pitch from the first inning. I’m available for whatever Donnie needs me and to just get outs.”

Garcia posted a huge shutdown inning during Thursday night’s walkoff win, and on Friday, with Game 2 on the line, Mattingly turned to him rather than the team’s closer, Brandon Kintzler.

Kintzler wound up pitching in the sixth instead of closing. He started the season 9-for-9 in save opportunities but has blown the last two. That, coupled with a fingernail issue that he was having, which Mattingly revealed postgame, may have led to the backend change.

Prior to last night’s save, Garcia’s only other save in his career came with the Dodgers in 2015. His manager then? Don Mattingly.

Garcia surrendered his first run of the season, but shutdown the Phillies to record the save. He’s tallied 12 strikeouts with a 0.93 WHIP this season over 9.2 innings pitched. He certainly has the stuff to be a full-time closer for the Fish.

Miami Marlins Season Recap (so far)

Well, here we are. The Marlins are 2/3s of the way through the shortened COVID-19 style 2020 MLB season. They are sitting at 20-19 and are currently in the playoffs as a Wild Card and closing in on a top 2 divisional finish. It’s happening, but how? How have the Marlins gone from one of the worst teams in baseball to this? Can this team win in the playoffs?

 

A (shortened) Marlins season in review

 

From the first pitch of 2020, something seemed different. This team has survived a week off from COVID-19, almost half the roster being sidelined by COVID-19, and 100+ roster moves. And we still sit above .500 through 39 games. Since their early 7-1 start, the Marlins have been performing quite the balancing act around that .500 mark. To make the playoffs this year, they don’t need much more, so that is more than fine in the long run. 

 

Amazing pitching (now and future)

 

The starters, when healthy, can compete with anyone in the league which is something the Marlins haven’t seen in what feels like a decade and a half. The 5-man punch of Sixto Sanchez, Pablo Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Elieser Hernandez is scary right now. Just imagine 5 years. The bullpen of wily vets has been able to get the job done minus the exception of a few games in which they had no rest. The team has an ERA of 4.63, but if we exclude the 29 run slugfest in Atlanta, it is much more reasonable, reaching a rank of top 5 in the NL (7th with that game factored in). 

 

2-out hitting

 

The bats aren’t the strongest, and the lack of pop is most likely the main reason this team’s record is not way over the mark of .500. What has allowed this team to thrive, however, is their ability to hit with 2-outs. There are a handful of examples to choose from, but the two that top the list are 1. Starling Marte’s bases-clearing game-tying double in the 8th inning last night and 2. Jorge Alfaro’s walk-off single in the 9th inning last night. The team as a whole has struggled to play small ball and move runners over, especially when there are not 2-outs in the inning which is definitely something to keep an eye on. If the Marlins can start combining stellar pitching, small ball, and clutch 2-out hitting, the possibilities are endless.

 

Speaking of possibilities for Marlins

 

Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but… The Marlins have made the playoffs twice. They have won the World Series twice. They were Wild Cards both of those years. We are Wild Cards now. Obviously this is a stretch, but can these Marlins make a deep run give the chance? Yes. I know that this take is extremely premature, and would probably hold validity in 2-3 years, but why couldn’t they? The Marlins have stellar pitching, especially out of the starting rotation. In a 5 game series against those 5 guys aforementioned, I don’t think there is any way the Marlins don’t put up a fight. If they fix some of the minor issues and continue playing like the family they are, there is no reason that an energized young Marlins team led by veterans can’t make it far in the playoffs. This is all speculation, but something to keep in mind. The most important thing is that this Marlins team is young, energetic, and going to be competing for many years to come.

Why not us this year?

 

Christian Chase Jr. (@ChaseChrisJr) attends the University of Florida. His regular columns are sponsored by SafeCubbies.com 

Marlins Walkoff Win the Day After Meltdown

“Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.” – Big Sean, The Marlins

After one of the most embarrassing defeats in baseball history in which the Atlanta Braves slaughtered (that’s probably the best word) the Fish 29-9, the Marlins picked up the pieces and won a close game at home versus Philadelphia. They fell down early and trailed 6-3 late into the game before a 3-run double by Starling Marte tied it up. Jorge Alfaro’s walk-off single in the 9th sealed the 7-6 comeback win. Grit. Determination. Culture. This team is showing their true colors.

Sandy was slightly sloppy but still good

Despite the 6 runs allowed, Sandy actually fought pretty well last night. Only 3 of those 6 were earned and he only walked 2 through 6 innings pitched. Alcantara will be one of the most important pieces the rest of the way, as him getting back to ace shape will push the Marlins to the finish line. Nick Vincent, Richard Bleier, and Yimi Garcia were brilliant in their 3 combined innings, not allowing any runs to keep the marlins in the game. Only 3 earned runs in nine innings feels a lot better than 27. 

Marlins bats are woke

I feel like the Marlins picked up on my constant mentioning of the statistic that said they hadn’t scored 4 or more runs in more than 3 games in a row all season. The streak is now at 7. Continually, we are seeing an increase in the level of quality at-bats the Marlins are putting together. Most notably, they worked deep into counts versus Jake Arrieta last night, forcing him out of the game relatively early in the 6th inning. Starling Marte continues to deliver, as his 3-run double tied the game in the 8th and gave the Marlins a chance to win.

6 more versus the Phils

This is the most important series of the Marlins season. It is as simple as that. Being only .5 GB of the Phillies for the 2nd place spot means that series win means more than ever. The Marlins and Phillies play in a doubleheader today. Game 1’s starters are Trevor Rogers (1-0, 3.00 ERA) and Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.74 ERA). Neither team has announced their game 2 starters.

 

Marlins Phillies

5 Keys to the Marlins, Phillies Series

The Miami Marlins need to shrug off last night’s historic drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. And they need to do that quickly, because the Marlins return to Miami to face the waiting Philadelphia Phillies for seven games in five days.

The Marlins’ playoff push stands a stout test in the second-place Phillies. At 19-19, Miami enters with an opportunity to not only solidify its playoff position, but also overtake Philadelphia in the standings.

The Marlins are 5-5 over their last ten games. Philadelphia’s play has improved of late, as they’ve rattled off 12 wins in their last 16 games to vault up the standings, passing the Marlins in the process.

Marlins, Phillies Start Seven-Game Series

The Marlins and Phillies are playing a seven-game series thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak that affected the club back in July. MLB scrambled to rearrange the schedule and settled on this 7-game series (a first in Marlins history) which includes a pair of doubleheaders.

The Phillies will start veteran RHP Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.67 ERA) on Thursday. Arrieta marks the ninth former Cy Young Award winner to start against the Marlins this season. Miami is 3-5 in those starts, including recent wins against Jacob deGrom and Blake Snell.

But Arrieta has had success in Marlins Park before, going 6-1 in seven career starts with a 3.40 ERA. In his career against the Marlins, Arrieta holds a 8-1 record with a 3.55 ERA in 11 starts.

This season, the Marlins are 2-1 against the Phillies. On Opening Day, RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 3.78 ERA) beat the Phillies 5-2. He allowed three hits, two walks and two runs while striking out seven over 6.2 innings. Alcantara landed on the IL shortly thereafter, but he regained his rhythm in his last start. Against Tampa Bay, Alcantara went six innings and allowing just three hits and one run while striking out eight.

Keys to the Marlins, Phillies Series

The Starters

The Marlins enter this crucial seven games in five days stretch with one of their top pitchers on the mound. In five career starts against the Phillies, Alcantara has been really good, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.51 ERA.

As a staff, Miami’s starters have a 4.11 ERA this season, 11th-best in MLB. They were top-10 in ERA prior to Pablo Lopez‘s struggles last night. Former Philly farmhand Sixto Sánchez has allowed his opponent to score in just three of his 25.0 innings this season. He’s struck out 25 batters combined over his first four starts.

In Marlins franchise history, only Dontrelle Willis (26) has fanned more batters through his first four career starts. That said, Trevor Rogers has 21 strikeouts through his first three starts, so we’ll see.

Phillies starters have posted a 4.01 ERA overall. But if take out Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the other starters (Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez) have a combined 5.34 ERA.

The Bullpen

Where the Marlins have a clear advantage is the bullpen. Prior to last night’s game, Miami had a 4.29 bullpen ERA, which was 13th-best in baseball. After Jordan Yamamoto’s implosion, though, the ERA sits at 5.27 (26th). All told, Marlins relievers coughed up 22 runs (20 earned) in last night’s debacle.

Even so, it’s the Phillies who sport MLB’s worst bullpen this season with a 7.24 ERA. Despite making a number of trades for bullpen arms at the deadline, Philadelphia still struggles in that department.

If the Marlins can post runs against Philly starters, they’ll be in great shape. And comebacks are certainly possible against Philadelphia relievers.

Finding Some Offense at Marlins Park

Miami holds a 17-10 record on the road this season, but they’ve struggled to win at home (2-9). The Phillies are 6-8 on the road this year. For the Marlins, they’ll need to find a way to put up five runs. The team is 11-2 this season when scoring at least five runs.

Miami hits just .234 at home, with a .288 on-base percentage and a .622 OPS. Not great. Jesus Aguilar has reached base safely in 9-of-10 career games at Marlins Park, going 10-for-40 (.250) with five walks, and there are several Marlins players who have performed historically well against Philadelphia.

The Phillies have hit .249 on the road, with a .288 on-base percentage and a .659 OPS. While Rhys Hoskins has been the offensive engine of late, Bryce Harper has struggled. In his last 15 games, Harper is batting .143 and slugging .163 with no homers and a .502 OPS.

Clutch Two-Out Rallies

The Marlins are batting .268 (114-for-426) this season with two outs, the fourth-highest mark in the Majors and second in the NL behind the Padres (.269).

Miami’s .366 on-base percentage with two outs is tops in the Majors in 2020. The Marlins have scored 48.5 percent of their runs this season with two outs (82-of-169), the highest such percentage in the Majors.

Rivalry Bringing Out the Best

The Marlins are 2-1 against the Phillies this year after they went 10-9 against them in 2019. All told, Miami is 12-12 against NL East opponents in 2020, while the Phillies are 17-9 against the division. Winning this series would hurt a division rival and solidify Miami’s playoff position.

And no one has enjoyed playing the Phillies more than Miguel Rojas. He sports a nine-game hit-streak against the Phillies, going 18-for-37 (.486), including a 3-for-4 effort with a home run and four RBIs in his last game against Philly on July 24.

Jorge Alfaro also plays well against the Phillies. He owns .432 (19-for-44) batting average in 13 career games versus Philadelphia, with two doubles, three homers and five RBI. Brian Anderson, meanwhile, has posted a .349 batting average (22-for-63) and a 1.128 OPS (4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 13 RBI) over his last 17 games versus the Phillies.

One player who needs to get going is Starling Marte, who’s managed just a .200 batting average (7-for-35) with two home runs and four RBI in the eight games since the trade deadline.