Max Meyer Marlins

Max Meyer Gets Marlins Promotion

The Miami Marlins made fans, and perhaps more importantly, one of their top prospects very happy on Thursday night. The team posted a video of Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp manager Daren Brown relaying the news to Max Meyer that he’d received the call to pitch at the MLB level with the Marlins.

 

Meyer recently worked his way back from a ulnar nerve irritation injury before getting this well-desvered call. He will reportedly make the start for the Marlins on Saturday at home versus the Philadelphia Phillies, a team Miami’s chasing the in the Wild Card race.

Marlins (Finally) Call Up Max Meyer

The Marlins find themselves three games back of the final NL Wild Card spot after splitting a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. Miami (43-45) continues to deal with injuries and ineffectiveness among their pitchers outside of Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, which only added to many Marlins fans clamoring for Meyer’s call. The timing here coincides with a pivotal three-game series with the Phillies before the All-Star break.

Max Meyer finally getting the call from the Marlins puts one of baseball’s top pitching prospects on display. MLB Pipeline lists Meyer as Miami’s No. 2 prospect, behind only 19-year-old phenom Eury Perez. He’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 21 prospect overall.

With Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer dominated competition for stretches of the season. His first six starts the season, prior to the issues surrounding his injury, saw Meyer post a 1.72 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched. He allowed just six earned runs over those six starts, registering 39 strikeouts along the way. Meyer handled Atlanta Braves slugger Ronald Acuña Jr. during that stretch.

It’s clear that the ulnar nerve irritation, which eventually landed him on the IL, affected his next two starts. Meyer adjusted his approach and mechanics to deal with the discomfort, ultimately to disappointing results. But after a month to heal and recuperate, Meyer found his form once again with Jacksonville.

During his rehab stint in Jupiter, Meyer told MLB.com: “I’ll get my shot, and I’ll be up there for a long time.”

In the four starts before this Marlins promotion, Max Meyer looked ready. He went 18.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and just four earned runs (1.96 ERA). Opponents managed a meager .119 batting average against in those starts.

Meyer’s Path to the Majors

The Marlins selected Max Meyer with the third overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Minnesota. He was the first pitcher off the draft board and started his time in Miami’s system with Double-A Pensacola in 2021. (There was no minor league season in 2020.)

With the Blue Wahoos, Meyer earned the Double-A South Most Outstanding Pitcher award. He did so following a season where he registered a 2.41 ERA and 113 strikeouts over 101 innings.

In 2022, Meyer made 12 starts for Triple-A Jacksonville, posting a 3.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 65 strikeouts over 58 innings. He averaged 10.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, registering a 28.4 percent strikeout rate along the way. He induced ground balls at a 50 percent rate this season, and kept his walk rate to just 8.3 percent.

In his 35 minor league starts, Meyer pitched to a 2.77 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, recording 199 strikeouts in those games.

Meyer sports a repertoire of three pitches, including a dominant, wipe-out slider many scouts called the single best pitch in the 2020 draft. His fastball velocity sits in the mid-to-upper-90s and has touched triple digits. This third pitch is a changeup, which the organization wanted to see him develop ahead of his promotion.

There’s been some talk of Meyer ultimately being a bullpen arm, but the Marlins maintain they view him as a rotation piece.

“I see Max as a starting pitcher,” Marlins amateur scouting director DJ Svihlik said on Wednesday. “We knew when we selected Max, there was that reliever-starter conversation. Any starter of that caliber with that kind of two-pitch combination can go into the back of a bullpen.”

Svihlik did note: “I see Max as a playoff starter.”

A spot on Miami’s 40-man roster opened recently when the Baltimore Orioles claimed reliever Louis Head off waivers. The Marlins need to add Meyer to the 40-man prior to his scheduled start on Saturday.

More on Marlins Prospects

5 Takeaways from the Marlins Series Split vs. Angels

The Miami Marlins (39-41) had their six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Angels (38-45) came to play for a cross-league series.

Miami split the two game series, winning Game 1 by a score of 2-1 and losing Game 2 by a score of 5-2. 

The stars were showcased during those two games as a couple of perennial all-stars, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, came to town to play against the fish. 

The seats at LoanDepot Park were filled up which was a surprise for a midweek series. But also, how could you not watch these once in a lifetime players in person? There were many Japanese fans that showed out to the park to not only watch Ohtani, but also because the Marlins were celebrating Japanese Heritage Night during Tuesday’s game. 

Although the Marlins didn’t get the series sweep, it was still a very entertaining couple of games to watch from both sides.

Here are five takeaways from the series.

 

Sandy paints another masterpiece

Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara had another one of his lights out performances.

Alcantara took the mound in the first game of the two-game series and he knew that this wasn’t going to be particularly easy. 

Although Alcantara was facing an Angels offense that suffered the most strikeouts per game in the MLB at 9.66, he still had to get through Trout and Ohtani. 

Of course for Alcantara, that was not a problem. 

Alcantara ended up having arguably his best outing of his career where he pitched through eight innings, gave up just two hits, and struck out 10. Out of those 10 strikeouts, two were to Trout. Ohtani didn’t have a hit as well against Alcantara. 

If you’re fooling those two talents even during the third time through the order, then that’s when you know there’s something special. 

Alcanatra continues to make his case for the National League Cy Young Award and he is pretty much the favorite at this point in time if he keeps putting up these incredible numbers. 

 

Garrett Cooper is slowly becoming one of baseball’s best hitters

Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper is the definition of consistent. 

Game after game, Cooper has been big for Miami when they needed that big hit or a ball in play.

And the numbers show that he’s been getting better and better as the season progresses. Cooper’s batting average has increased to an incredible .311 which ranks as the 12th-highest in baseball. His on-base percentage of .377 puts him ninth in the National League. 

Although Cooper didn’t have a great two games, only producing one hit, he did come up clutch when the Marlins needed him. 

In the bottom of the third inning during Game 1, Cooper hit a 3-2 pitch just over the left field wall for a home run that gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead. 

During the first inning of Game 2, Cooper hit a sacrifice fly that also gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead. 

It just goes to show that when the Marlins need him, Cooper produces the big hit. 

 

Marlins shutdown Trout

Miami didn’t let Trout get hot during his short stay in Miami. 

The three-time MVP was just 1-for-7 and struck out four times during the two-game series. 

It’s definitely odd to see a player of that caliber struggle that much over those couple of games. It’s like he couldn’t see the ball well at LoanDepot Park, but he did say the same exact thing in Houston during their last series where he struggled to hit the ball as well. 

Maybe it has nothing to do with Miami’s pitchers and has more to do with himself. Miami’s lucky that they got scheduled to play the Angels during a time where Trout is cold because if he was playing like his usual self, I don’t see how the Marlins split the series. 

I’m not discrediting the Marlins pitching staff by any means, but seeing a player like Trout have those struggles at the plate makes you wonder how much of a factor is his mental approach as opposed to the pitcher he’s going up against. 

 

There’s no answers when facing Ohtani

The Marlins offense looked clueless against Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani. I mean CLUELESS.

The only time the batters really got to Ohtani was in the first inning where they racked up a couple of hits and ended the inning with a 1-0 lead.

At that point, many were probably thinking that the offense had a plan against Ohtani and maybe they could get him out of the game before six innings.

Well, the opposite of that ended up happening. 

Ohtani pitched seven innings and struck out 10 batters while allowing just two hits and no earned runs. During that span, Ohtani managed to retire 15 straight Marlins hitters. 

I mean, Ohtani’s tough for a hitter to figure out. He’s got five pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, cutter, and splitter. 

The splitter is his strikeout pitch and is arguably one of the best in baseball. Hitters are batting just .115 against that pitch and it doesn’t help that Ohtani also throws a 100 mph fastball. Having those two combined, along with the curveball and slider, makes it tough for any hitter to have success against this generational talent. 

“He never seems to get rattled”, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about Ohtani. “Pretty impressive tonight seeing him for the first time.”

 

The winning streak comes to an end 

Miami’s winning streak has sadly come to a close. 

Their six-game winning streak started back when they won against St. Louis, the Washington Nationals for four games, and the Angels during the first game of this series. 

Although their winning streak came to an end, there’s still a ton of positive things that came out of it. 

First, Miami has gained some serious ground in the race for that final Wild Card spot. The Marlins are now just three games back of that spot which is crazy because last week, all people were thinking was to trade our players and start fresh for the next season. 

Will the Marlins actually become buyers at the trade deadline? It’s something that Marlins fans aren’t very used to seeing. 

After the winning streak came to an end, Miami is just two games back of .500. A record they haven’t seen since April. 

But, if the Marlins want to make it to the postseason, they’ll have to start beating teams that are above .500. Because that’s where the real test is at. And they definitely can’t afford losing a series against a poor team. 

Miami’s up for a big test as they head to New York against the Mets (51-31) for a four-game series from Thursday through Sunday. 

 

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5 takeaways from the Marlins’ series loss vs. Mets

The Miami Marlins have really struggled against the New York Mets this season.

Miami is 2-5 so far against the Mets this season and they are still trying to figure out how to beat them. 

With the sweep against the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week, the Marlins thought that they would have enough momentum to beat the first place Mets on their home turf. But, the Mets are in first place for a reason. Their lineup from top to bottom is as good as anyone in baseball and their pitching staff has really proved that they don’t need Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer to win games. 

Don’t get me wrong, the Mets are a really good team. But, the Marlins had many opportunities to give themselves wins in Games 1 and 2. Missed spots from pitchers and too many strikeouts from the offense combined with a little bit of bad luck gave the Mets the series victory.

Here are the takeaways from the series.

 

Sandy Alcantara’s rare tough outing

Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara got the start in Game 1 of the series and immediately from the jump, found himself in some trouble. 

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Alcantara gave up a solo home run to Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. It’s not too often that you see Alcantara give up a run so early in the game, but it goes to show that no one’s perfect in professional baseball.

Alcantara would start to settle for the next few innings until Mets left fielder Mark Canha hit a home run to left field that gave New York a 2-1 lead. 

In the sixth inning, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Mets right fielder Starling Marte hit a ground ball towards second baseman Willians Astudillo that should’ve been a routine double play. Instead, because Astudillo picked the ball up with his bare hand, when he tagged the runner, the umpire ruled him safe because Astudillo tagged him with his empty glove. Not only that, Astudillo’s throw to the first baseman was late. So at the end of it all, the Marlins found themselves with the bases loaded and nobody out. And to make matters worse, Lindor was up at the plate. 

Alcantara found himself in a 3-1 count against Lindor and threw a fastball right down the middle. As a result, Lindor hit a double that cleared the bases and gave the Mets a 5-2 lead.

“I think he’s (Lindor) hot right now”, Alcantara said about his struggles against Lindor. “I lost my fight tonight and I’ve gotta get better for myself in the next one.”

Alcantara would end the day with seven innings pitched, four strikeouts, six hits, and four earned runs. 

Don’t worry Marlins fans. Alcantara is still an excellent pitcher. This outing was just a case of some bad luck. What’s even more wild is that after this start, Alcantara’s ERA is at 1.95 which is first in the National League and second in all of baseball.

 

Hitters have figured out Trevor Rogers

I’m afraid that we may never see the Trevor Rogers of last year. I know it sounds like I’m overreacting, but given the numbers from his starts this year, it seems like the opposing teams have figured out how to beat him.

Rogers got the start for Game 2, and after he struck out three consecutive hitters in the first inning, there was a glimmer of hope that this would be a great outing for him. 

I was wrong.

In the second inning, Rogers missed his spot and threw a fastball down the heart of the plate to first baseman Pete Alonso that Alonso hit over the right field wall. 

In the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar hit an RBI-single to give them a 3-0 lead. 

That would end the day for Rogers who had 4.1 innings pitched and gave up seven hits and three earned runs while getting five strikeouts. 

“I made a bad pitch to Alonso so you just tip your cap”, Rogers said after the game. “I made a couple mistakes to Marte and tip your cap there as well, he’s a good hitter. Just little things not going my way.”

So what’s the problem with Rogers? I think that he’s having trouble with his command which is leading to pitches that the hitters can easily hit and has decreased his strikeout percentage. His pitch count is also hurting him and isn’t allowing him to work deep into games.

Rogers’ strikeouts per nine innings this year is 8.29, almost two and a half less than what he had last year which was 10.62. His walks are also up from last year which is also another factor to look at when you’re trying to figure out the struggles that Rogers has dealt with.

 

Anthony Bass continues to be stellar out of the bullpen

Right-handed reliever Anthony Bass has been the best pitcher coming out of the Marlins bullpen this year. After an up-and-down season in 2021 where he logged a 3.82 ERA with zero saves in four opportunities, Bass has really shown another side to him this year. 

Bass’s ERA has gone down to 1.80 and the opponents are batting just .214 against him compared to .241 last year.

Bass was utilized more as a closer last season, especially during the start of that year. It looked like he wasn’t very comfortable in that role and this season, Mattingly noticed that putting Bass in the seventh or eighth inning makes him more effective. A lot of the reason why Bass is having a much better year is because he doesn’t have to deal with the same amount of pressure a closer would have.

In his outing in Game 2, Bass allowed just one hit and got a strikeout in a crucial situation to keep the game tied at three a piece in the seventh inning.

 

Pete Alonso’s two-homer day

Alonso was very effective for the Mets offense, but in Game 2 was when he really propelled them to a win.

The University of Florida alum went 2-for-4 with both of those hits being home runs. Luckily for the Marlins, they were both solo shots. But it still wasn’t enough to contain the scorching Mets lineup.

His first homerun was against Rogers in the second inning and his other was against right-handed reliever Jimmy Yacabonis in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

“Thankfully I kind of took a lesson from last night’s at bat (against Yacabonis) and I applied it today”, Alonso said about how he hit his second home run. “I saw the ball a little bit better and I saw the window of where the ball’s coming out of.”

The Marlins did a pretty good job of shutting down Alonso over the series, but his two homeruns in Game 2 was too much for Miami to overcome and win the series. 

Nick Fortes walks it off

After starts in both Games 1 and 2, catcher Jacob Stallings was given a rest day in the series finale which gave way for backup catcher Nick Fortes to get a spot in the lineup.

Fortes has been solid at both catching behind the plate and hitting. 

Over 13 games this season, Fortes has batted .289 with three home runs and seven RBIs. He’s actually been one of the more productive Marlins hitters this season and it showed in Game 3 of this series. 

It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. The score is tied 2-2 with two outs and Fortes is up to bat. The Mets have their right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino on the mound to try and push the game towards extra innings. 

Ottavino throws Fortes a slider that Fortes swings at and misses badly. The next pitch, Ottavino throws another slider and Fortes jumps all over it, sending the ball towards the seats in left field to give the Marlins the win and avoid the sweep.  

Of course, Fortes hits a walk-off home run on the day that his alma mater, Ole Miss, is a win away from winning the College World Series. 

The Marlins head into St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals from Monday to Wednesday.

Marlins sweep the Rockies in three-game series: 5 takeaways

The Miami Marlins have finally obtained a series sweep against a team not named the Washington Nationals. 

After losing three out of four games against the New York Mets in their previous series, Miami needed to win the series against the Colorado Rockies to regain traction in the standings.

The Marlins would have been happy with a series win against Colorado, but a sweep was the cherry on top. Although Miami managed to win all three games, the series was full of back-and-forth action and wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for the Marlins. 

Here are five takeaways from the series.

 

Pablo Lopez bounces back

It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez. 

After a tough outing against the New York Mets last Friday where Lopez allowed eight hits and six earned runs in 5.1 innings of work, he knew that he had to be much better in his next start. 

Lopez started Game 2 of the series and pitched lights out. In seven innings, Lopez struckout six batters and had no earned. He also gave up just four hits to the Colorado hitters. 

It’s no surprise that Lopez played much better than his last start. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and given the fact that the Marlins were playing a struggling Rockies team at LoanDepot Park, it was almost a given that Lopez would be locked in. 

His numbers at home are great so far this year. Lopez is 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA at home compared to a 2-2 record with a 2.81 ERA away. His numbers when he pitches away are still phenomenal, but it’s interesting to see how well he pitches in Miami. 

 

The bats erupt

Was this series in Coors Field or Miami? Because it sure felt like they were playing in Denver with all of the home runs and extra-base hits the Marlins were producing. 

Over the three-game series, the Marlins hit five home runs and 12 extra-base hits.

Miami exploded right out of the gates with nine runs in Game 1 and seven in Game 2. In Game 3, the Marlins had just three runs but they did get the win, which is all that matters. 

In Game 1, the Marlins tallied 13 hits with big performances from right fielder Avisail Garcia and center fielder Jesus Sanchez. Both Garcia and Sanchez managed to hit a home run over the center field wall. Garcia went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Sanchez was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. 

In Game 2, Miami got 13 hits and put together back-to-back home runs from second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. and left fielder Jorge Soler in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

“He (Soler) can hit a ball way further than I can,” Chisholm said about the back-to-back home runs. “It’s just fun playing with these guys and I’m just enjoying it.

Although the Marlins had just three runs in Game 3, they did have nine hits. What does that tell you? They’re still struggling to score with runners in scoring position. They did well in the first two games, but it would be nice to see them have success in that category on a daily basis. 

 

Brendan Rodgers loves to play against Miami

Colorado second baseman Brendan Rodgers has been giving the Marlins fits all season. 

Going back to the last series in Denver where he hit three home runs in a game that included a walk-off to left field, Rodgers was right back to crushing the ball against Miami pitchers.

In the three-game series, Rodgers batted .461 (6-for-13) and had three RBIs. Rodgers also produced three doubles and two triples. 

It felt like Rodgers was the life of Colorado’s offense during the series and he made it difficult for the Marlins pitchers to throw to him. Luckily, guys like first baseman C.J. Cron and right fielder Charlie Blackmon didn’t get going or else Miami would’ve had some problems shutting down the Rockies hitters.

 

Garrett Cooper continues to hit the baseball

First baseman Garrett Cooper has been hot in the month of June. This month, Cooper is batting .386 (27-for-70) with 13 RBIs and an OPS of .962. 

It’s refreshing to see Cooper giving the Marlins much-needed consistency at the plate. It feels like he’s always locked in and rarely swinSet News Imagegs at pitches outside of the zone. As soon as he finds the pitch he likes, he unloads on it and produces hits. 

Over the three-game series, Cooper was 4-for-13 with three RBIs and a home run. Cooper had a hit in each game, extending his hitting streak to eight games and his on-base streak to 15. 

In Game 1, Cooper came up clutch with a tie breaking double in the bottom of the eighth inning that led to a 9-8 Marlins victory. In Game 2, Cooper found his home run swing, as he sent a ball 413 feet over the center field wall in the bottom of the third inning. Game 3 was a bit quieter for the Marlins’ first baseman, but he did get a hit to extend his hitting streak.

 

Jon Berti makes history

Third Baseman Jon Berti has been a base-stealing machine. 

Berti currently leads the MLB in stolen bases with 21 and he is yet to be caught. In the fifth inning of Game 3, Berti stole his 21st base without being caught which broke Emilio Bonifacio’s Marlins record back in 2012.

“He plays with a toughness and an understanding of the game and when to run and when not to run,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about the benefit of having a player like Berti on the team. “The more guys you have like that, the better off you are.”

And it’s not like the opposing pitchers or catchers aren’t prepared for Berti’s speed. They’re well aware that Berti is an excellent base runner because every time he’s on first base, the pitcher would throw at least three times to the first baseman to keep Berti close and prevent him from getting a big lead and ultimately stealing a base. But of course, Berti still manages to do it successfully.

“We kind of won in different ways every single game,” Berti said following the win. “We came ready to go this series and we’re onto the next one.”

The Marlins look to extend their home winning streak as the New York Mets come to town for a three-game series this weekend. Those games will be played from Friday to Monday.

Marlins lose a tough series vs. Phillies: 5 Takeaways

After winning their previous two series, the Miami Marlins hoped to go into Philadelphia and take care of business. 

The Marlins have had success with the Phillies earlier this season, taking three out of four in their series back in April. So there was optimism that Miami would be able to beat them this go around. That was not the case.

Miami ended up losing two of three against Philadelphia and the talk of the series was the bullpen. Of course, it comes as no surprise because that’s been the Marlins’ biggest problem of the season. The starters are doing their jobs, but it seems like every time Miami turns to their bullpen, the game gets away from them. 

A couple of bright spots to take away from the series is that designated hitter Jesus Aguilar has played a great last couple of games. Aguilar went 3-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs. And how about right fielder Avisail Garcia? The Marlins have been hoping that their big free agent signing was going to have the same amount of production as he did in Milwaukee last season when he batted .262 and had 29 home runs. After a slow start this season, it looks like the former all star is starting to get back to that form from last year. In Game 2, Garcia went 2-for-5 with a home run and a couple of RBIs.

At the end of the day, the Marlins weren’t able to get it done and they have a tough road ahead of them as they head to New York to take on the first place Mets.

Here are five takeaways from the series.

 

Why take out Sandy?

Marlins’ starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara had another stellar performance. Alcanatara pitched in the first game of the series and he was lights out, per usual. 

Alcantara gave up an RBI single to designated hitter Bryce Harper in the bottom of the third inning, but after that, Alcantara settled back in and didn’t give up a run in the next few innings. 

Now, we’ve reached the bottom of the eighth inning. Alcantara had given up two leadoff walks to put runners on first and second base with nobody out. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was up to bat and got jammed on an inside sinker by Alcantara that caused him to ground into a double play.

Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius was up to bat and all game long, Gregorius had struggled against Alcantara. Gregorius was 0-for-3 with a strikeout leading up to his at-bat in the eighth inning. Alcantara was ready to throw the pitch and then Marlins manager Don Mattingly came out of the dugout and told Alcantara that his night was done. Left-handed pitcher Steven Okert came out to face Gregorius and on Okert’s first pitch, Gregorius hit the ball down the right field line to tie the game 2-2. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.

Why did Mattingly take Alcantara out of the game? Maybe it was the pitch count because Alcantara was at 112 pitches. But even then, Alcantara didn’t show signs of slowing down. It was Alcantara’s game to finish and he didn’t get the opportunity to and he showed his frustration when he sat in the dugout after being pulled. 

 

Trevor Rogers continues to struggle

Starting pitcher Trevor Rogers was set to take the mound for Game 2 of the series and from the get go, he wasn’t able to get comfortable.

Rogers logged just 3.2 innings pitched and gave up four earned runs, five hits, and a career-high six walks. What is really mind-boggling is that five of his six walks were to left-handed hitters. Three to left fielder Kyle Schwarber and the other two were to Harper. The walks to Harper were understandable because he has been on a tear as of late and it seemed like the Marlins’ game plan  was to stay away from him as much as possible. But, to let Schwarber walk three times is truly puzzling. Schwarber has been batting just .202 against lefties this season and for Rogers to not get aggressive and throw pitches in the strike zone against him doesn’t make much sense. 

After this start, Rogers’ ERA has shot up to 5.87 and he has given up a total of 28 walks so far this season, the tenth most in the MLB. Marlins fans have been hoping that Rogers would get back to his phenomenal play from last season where he was named an all star with a 2.64 ERA. But, how high is his confidence after this outing?

 

Miami didn’t have an answer for Rhys Hoskins

Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins went absolutely crazy in the three games against Miami. Over the series, Hoskins went 8-for-13 with seven RBIs and a pair of home runs in Game 2.

In Game 1, Hoskins hit a walk-off single to give the Phillies a 3-2 win after a changeup by right-hander Anthony Bass was hit off the end of Hoskins’ bat that fell into no man’s land and gave the runner at second enough time to score. 

It felt like everything the Marlins’ pitchers were throwing weren’t fooling Hoskins at the plate. Hoskins was the life of the Phillies’ offense and Miami couldn’t find a way to get their hottest hitter out. 

 

Daniel Castano shines in his first start 

With the injury to starting pitcher Pablo Lopez, Mattingly and the Marlins had to turn to someone else to make the start in Game 3 as a precautionary move. They didn’t want Lopez to risk hurting his hand even more and decided to give him a couple more days to rest.

So, the Marlins turned to left-hander Daniel Castano. Castano made a few appearances for Miami earlier this season, but as a relief-pitcher. Last season, Castano started games for Miami and had some success. 

In Game 3 of the series, Castano pitched an incredible game. He pitched 6.2 innings and didn’t give up a run to the Phillies. His pitch count of 105 was the most he’s had in his three-year career. It seemed as if every inning, the Phillies would have runners in scoring position and he would find a way to get out of the jams whether it started with two, one, or zero outs in the inning. Castano found ways to stay composed on the mound and take care of business.

 

The bullpen is back to being subpar 

After a great series against the Houston Astros, I thought that the bullpen finally got it together. But sadly, I was wrong. 

Time and time again when it looks like the Marlins are in the driver’s seat for the length of the game, they lose control once the bullpen is called. This series was a prime example of that. 

In Game 1, Alcantara had given up just one run through seven innings and when the bullpen entered the game, Miami lost the lead. They did eventually tie it back up but Hoskins hit the walk-off to give the Phillies the win. 

In Game 2, the bullpen was in early because of Rogers’ rough outing. The score was tied at four by the time Rogers was pulled from the game. Right-handed relief pitcher Dylan Floro entered the game and the Phillies were all over him. Floro gave up four earned runs in just 0.2 innings of work. Fortunately, the Marlins were able to create enough offense to come back from a four-run deficit and win 11-9 in a roller coaster of a game.

And now the worst of all: Game 3. The Marlins had just one run all game that came off of a home run in the top of the fifth inning by shortstop Miguel Rojas. So, there wasn’t much room for error after Castano’s six shutout innings. Right-handers Tommy Nance and Anthony Bass did a good job in keeping the Phillies’ offense shutout. But in the bottom of the ninth inning, Miami turned to left-hander Tanner Scott to close out the game and leave Philadelphia with a series win. 

Scott struck out Gregorius, gave up a single to third baseman Alec Bohm, walked Realmuto, and struck out infielder Yairo Munoz. Catcher Garrett Stubbs was the last hope for the Phillies and with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, Scott threw a slider right over the heart of the plate that Stubbs crushed into the seats in right field to give the Phillies the win and the series. That’s now two walk off hits that Miami’s relievers have given up in the past three games. You really can’t make this stuff up.

“I thought he got away from his fastball a little bit,” Mattingly said about Scott’s last outing. “He kind of got predictable.”

Mattingly went on to say, “The guy (Stubbs) had a pretty good swing at his slider and took a couple of sliders. He left that one up.”

It feels as if every time Miami takes one step forward, they then take two steps back. That’s been the theme of the season so far. 

It’ll be interesting to see how the Marlins can regain their confidence as they head into New York for their next series. They need to find a way to move on from these last tough couple of games and get focused for a great baseball team. 

The Marlins play the Mets this weekend for a four-game series from Friday to Monday at Citi Field in New York.

5 Takeaways from Marlins’ Series Win vs. Astros

It looks like the Miami Marlins have finally found their groove in the midst of the season. The Marlins have just won their second straight series as they won two out of three games against the Houston Astros.

In Game 1, the Marlins beat the Astros 7-4 with huge performances from second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. and first baseman Jesus Aguilar. In Game 2, Miami shutdown Houston’s offense with their 5-1 victory. Unfortunately, Miami couldn’t get the series sweep and lost Game 3 by a score of 9-4. 

It’s hard for any team to hold an offense like the Astros to so many runs in a series. The fact that the Marlins were able to capture a couple of wins against the second-best team in the American League says a lot about how much Miami has grown in the past couple of weeks. 

Before Sunday’s loss against Houston, the Marlins had won five games in a row. That was their longest winning streak since their seven game streak back in April.

The Fish are hot and it’s going to be fun to see where they go from here.

Here are five takeaways from the series. 

 

DON’T TRADE JAZZ

Last Tuesday, Marlins manager Don Mattingly held a team meeting to address some issues that players had in the locker room.

Apparently, the meeting was centered around Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the players were criticizing his work ethic and the way he dresses to the ballpark. Some might even think that the players were jealous of Chisholm and Mattingly knew he had to call a meeting before things spiraled out of control and the team chemistry would fly out the window.  

Man, was that meeting one of the best decisions Mattingly has made this season. 

Since Tuesday, Chisholm has hit four home runs and tallied nine RBIs. He had also stolen a base during that span which allowed him to join Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker as the only two MLB players to hit at least 10 home runs and have at least 10 stolen bases so far this season. 

Another thing to take note of is that ever since the team meeting, Miami’s record has been 5-1.

 

Miami’s bats have come alive

The Marlins’ offense has finally woken up. In the month of June, Miami has averaged 6.5 runs per game. Those 6.5 runs per game are the second highest among any team in the MLB during that span. Miami has also managed to bring their team batting average up to .246, seventh-best in the National League. 

During the series against the Astros, the Marlins’ bats came alive as they scored seven, five, and four runs in each game against an elite Houston pitching staff. 

In Game 1, Chisholm and Aguilar each hit two home runs that helped give the Marlins a series-opening victory. 

In Game 2, Miami had big performances from multiple players including third baseman Jon Berti, left fielder Luke Williams, and Aguilar. Berti was able to produce two RBIs and Williams had an RBI and a couple of base hits. Aguilar had two hits including a double. 

In Game 3, Astros right-hander Justin Verlander had pitched six shutout innings and struck out five Marlins batters. Verlander has been incredible this season with a 1.94 ERA and a league-leading eight wins. 

But just when you think that this was going to be another one of Verlander’s dominant outings, in the seventh inning, Miami was able to produce four runs that included a big three-run home run from right fielder Bryan De La Cruz that sent the ball soaring into the Crawford Boxes. 

It’s great to see the bats come alive and hopefully, the Marlins can sustain the production on offense in the games to come. 

 

The bullpen has been surprisingly solid

The main area of concern all season has been the quality and consistency of the bullpen. Miami has lost countless one-run games because of blown saves or missed opportunities to get out of situations by the Marlins’ relief pitchers. 

The starting pitching has been lights out all season and to have their games ruined by the bullpen has been frustrating. But, there’s a glimpse of hope. 

During the series against the Astros, Miami’s starting pitchers often found themselves out of the game early due to the rise in pitch counts. No Marlins starting pitcher ever made it to the sixth inning during the three-game set because of how hard it was to get Houston’s hitters out. From top to bottom, the Astros are loaded with talent, so it’s understandable that Miami’s starting pitchers couldn’t go deep into games. 

The bullpen did a fantastic job in suppressing Houston’s batters as much as possible. Aside from Game 3’s outing from right-handed reliever Louis Head who gave up four runs, Miami’s bullpen had given up just two runs in the series. 

Impressive outings from right-hander Anthony Bass, right-hander Cole Sulser, and left-hander Tanner Scott have played a huge part in Miami’s ability to come out with a series win.

 

Should we be concerned about the injuries?

Miami has been dealing with injuries for a large part of the season. 

Guys like Brian Anderson and Joey Wendle have been on the Injury List for a couple of weeks, so they should be returning to action pretty soon. Then, you have a guy like starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo who hasn’t seen game action since early May. It feels like every day, there’s a new player getting put on the IL. 

Right before Game 2 of the series, arguably Miami’s best hitter Garrett Cooper was placed on the IL due to COVID. 

During right-handed starting pitcher Pablo Lopez’s start in Game 1, he was forced to come out of the game with what looked like an injury on his right wrist after he got hit by a line drive in the fifth inning. The good news is that x-rays came out negative and Lopez was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion. The bad news is that because he got hit on his throwing arm, how much is that going to affect his accuracy or pitch velocity? As of now, Lopez is day-to-day and should be able to pitch in his next start on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. 

There shouldn’t be any concern with Cooper, as he should come back into the lineup as soon as his 10 days on the IL are complete. As for Lopez, we’ll see how much he is affected by his wrist in his next start. But, Miami definitely dodged a bullet because this could have definitely been much worse than it was.

 

The NL East is the hottest division in baseball

Aside from the Washington Nationals, the NL East has been tearing it up in June.

The Marlins have been rolling and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Philadelphia Phillies had won nine in a row since June 1st before getting their win streak snapped against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. The Atlanta Braves have looked unbeatable and have won 11 in a row. Even though the New York Mets haven’t looked great as of late, they are still 39-22 and sit on top of the National League with the best record.

It will be interesting to see how the standings play out in the coming weeks because the Marlins have a series against the Phillies and the Mets this week. Those series are crucial for Miami if they want to climb the standings in not only the National League, but their division as well.

The Marlins have a three-game series against the Phillies that will be played in Philadelphia from Monday through Wednesday.

Marlins Minor Trade

Marlins Make Minor Trade Amid Struggles

The Miami Marlins completed a minor trade with the San Francisco Giants on their off day. The team acquired 25-year-old utility player Luke Williams in exchange for Double-A second baseman Hayden Cantrelle.

This comes as the Marlins travel to Atlanta ahead of a pivotal three-game set with the Braves. Miami finds itself mired in an extended rough patch and remains in danger of falling too far behind in the Wild Card race if these struggles continue.

Marlins Make Minor Trade

Marlins Minor Trade

The Marlins completed a minor trade deal on Thursday, picking up another super-utility player for the roster. The 25-year-old Williams comes to Miami with a .245/.308/.318 slash line over 120 career plate appearances with the Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. Williams hit .250, with a .583 OPS, over eight games with San Francisco before being designated-for-assignment to create room on their 40-man roster.

Williams becomes just the next in a long line of recent acquisitions and call-ups with positional versatility. With the Phillies in 2021, Williams played seven different positions (everything but pitcher and catcher). The Giants had him man third base and left field this season.

Williams seems cut from a similar cloth as Jon Berti, a light-hitting super-utility player known for his speed. He has just six career extra-base hits, but sports solid plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. Williams holds a 20.2 percent strikeout rate for his minor league career, and a 22.5 percent rate at the MLB level.

Perhaps most interestingly, Williams comes to the Marlins with all three minor league options intact. The Giants DFA’d him without using an option, which added to his trade value.

The Marlins sent 23-year-old minor league second baseman Hayden Cantrelle to San Francisco to complete this trade. Cantrelle came to the Marlins via trade two months ago, as part of the Alex Jackson deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he started well for Double-A Pensacola, hitting three homers in his first six games, Cantrelle logged just a .185 batting average with the Blue Wahoos this season and a 36.4 percent strikeout rate.

This move reads like an organizational depth play, especially considering the recent spate of injuries in the middle infield. Williams will start with Triple-A Jacksonville and could be called up the next time there’s an MLB fill-in need.

Marlins Recent Struggles

Marlins Minor Trade

The Marlins absorbed a two-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, dropping yet another one-run game. Their rally fell short, 5-4, saddling the Fish with their league-high 14th one-run loss. Miami’s played in more one-run contests (20) than any other team in MLB.

Over their last 20 games, the Marlins sport a 6-14 record, tied for the worst mark in the league. Miami’s dropped five of their last six series and seem rudderless at the plate of late.

The Marlins have really struggled in Late and Close situations (defined as a game in the seventh inning or later, and the batting team is either leading by one run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck). In that situation, Miami’s hitting a league-worst .182 and has posted a league-worst .491 OPS.

Their metrics with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP) rank only slightly higher. For the season, the Marlins rank 25th hitting with RISP (.223). Their .659 OPS in that spot ranks 24th. With RISP and two outs, Miami’s hitting .205 (22nd). The team strands 3.6 runners in scoring position per game, the third-highest mark in MLB and highest in the NL.

The Marlins averaged just three runs per game over their last six, where they went 1-5 (with four one-run losses).

Marlins Minor Trade

Marlins Roster Shuffle Following Minor Trade

Following the Marlins minor trade for Luke Williams, the team’s 40-man roster page got something of a refresh. 42 players occupy the page, but two of those, Joe Dunand and Erik Gonzalez, likely received their call-up via MLB’s COVID roster exemption. To create space for Williams on the 40-man, the Marlins transferred RHP Paul Campbell from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.

Miami activated both Richard Bleier and Joey Wendle from the 10-day IL today and optioned Dunand, Gonzalez, and catcher Payton Henry to Triple-A. The Marlins selected the contract of Willians Astudillo from Jacksonville when Anthony Bender landed on the IL this week. Astudillo is another player with positional versatility and MLB experience. He also has experience at catcher.

The Marlins enter a stretch of 10 games in 10 days, which each contest coming against teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race.

Marlins Mariners

5 Takeaways from Marlins Series Win v Mariners

The Miami Marlins saw their seven-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, but the team still took two-of-three from the Seattle Mariners to win their third-straight series. Miami’s recent run of success included stellar starting pitching and timely hitting, but those elements were notably absent in Sunday’s 7-3 loss.

The Marlins find themselves in second place in the NL East with a 12-9 record. They’ve gone 8-2 against division opponents and 10-8 against all National League opponents thus far. Over their last 10 games overall, Miami’s 8-2, with a .243 team batting average and a 2.93 team ERA. The Marlins have outscored opponents by 10 runs over that span.

Luzardo Impressive in Marlins Win Over Mariners

Entering the season, the frontend of Miami’s starting rotation looked very much like the team’s top strength. And while there are some questions regarding who should be part of the backend of this rotation, Jesus Luzardo continued to make his case in the Marlins series win over the Mariners.

Luzardo tossed a season-high six innings in Miami’s 3-1 victory on Saturday. The 24-year-old lefty lowered his ERA to 3.10 after allowing just two hits and one earned run. He struck out five in the process, surrendering two walks.

 

Luzardo’s strikeout rate now sits at 34.1 percent for the season, putting him squarely in MLB’s top-10 for that metric. Credit for the improved strikeout rate goes in large part to increased velocity from Luzardo. Baseball Savant notes a 1.8 MPH increase in his fastball velocity, which checks in as the seventh-highest gain year-to-year among pitchers.

The biggest key for Luzardo has been locating his pitches and working ahead of hitters in order to get to his breaking ball, which he’s thrown 44.2 percent of the time. He’s registered 20 of his 28 strikeouts on his curveball so far this season.

Soler Starting to Find Success

One of the Miami’s top free agent additions, Jorge Soler, started to find more consistent success during the Marlins series win over the Mariners. The 30-year-old slugger crushed a Matt Brash four-seam fastball an estimated 468 feet on Friday (MLB’s third-longest home run of the season). The hit rocketed off Soler’s bat at 117.6 mph.

 

On Sunday, Soler had his first multi-hit game since April 22nd, and just his third of the season. His RBI single in the seventh inning beat the Mariners’ shift, then he followed that with his second homer of the series in the ninth. Over his past 10 games, Soler is 9-for-39 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

Soler found success for the Marlins connecting on fastball offerings from Mariners pitchers, but he continues to struggle with offspeed pitches. Soler’s hitting just .100 on offspeed stuff. But there’s some bad luck mixed in to those results, because when he makes contact, his expected batting average in those spots is .337.

Marlins’ Garcia Remains Unlucky vs Mariners

Miami’s other major offseason addition, Avisail Garcia, continues to struggle at the plate, but some of those struggles can be attributed to bad luck as well.

On Sunday, Garcia’s liner with two runners on rocketed to right field with an exit velocity of 99.6. Off the bat, it had an expected batting average of .470, but was caught to end the inning. Something similar happened to Garcia in Washington, when a pair of batted balls failed to find the grass. Garcia had a flyout that sported an exit velocity of 98.6 and an expected batting average of .630. Had it dropped, it would have scored Garrett Cooper from second in that game. Earlier in that same contest, Garcia had a  flyout with a 101.4 exit velocity and a .610 expected batting average.

Garica’s average exit velocity sits at 91.3 mph, which would be a career-high for him. That figure puts him in the 80th percentile among MLB hitters, and his 12.2 barrel percentage is nearly double the MLB average at this point.

Although his 1.4 walk-rate stands in the bottom one percent of the league, his .271 batting-average-on-balls-in-play (BABIP) shows additional bad luck, considering his actual batting average sits at .194.

Marlins Still Middling with RISP

Although the Marlins lost to the Mariners 7-3 on Sunday, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. Miami stranded 12 runners on base in the loss, and managed to go just 2-for-9 with runners-in-scoring-position. The Marlins were better in that metric in their two wins over the Mariners, going 5-for-10 on Friday and 2-for-7 on Saturday.

Still, the 24 stranded runners continues a worrying trend for the Fish. Although Miami ranks fifth in team on-base percentage in the NL (.325), following Sunday’s loss, the Marlins now check in with the fourth-most stranded runners so far this season (163) and second-most in the NL.

With runners-in-scoring-position, the Marlins rank 22nd in batting average (.223) and 20th in OPS (.696). Miami’s top average in that spot belongs to Joey Wendle (.462, 6-for-13), while Jesus Sanchez (9) and Jazz Chisholm Jr. (9) have driven in the most runs.

Alcantara Struggles for Marlins vs Mariners

The Marlins had their staff ace taking the mound with a chance to secure the team’s second consecutive sweep. But with the loss, Miami saw their season-long winning streak end at seven. They remain the only franchise in MLB history without a 10-game winning streak to its credit.

Marlins MarinersSandy Alcantara took the mound for the Marlins on Sunday, starting opposite the Mariners’ ace Logan Gilbert. But instead of a pitcher’s duel, Alcantara struggled through his worst outing of the season. The 26-year-old righty surrendered a season-high five earned runs, which matched his total for the month of April.

Alcantara gave up two home runs and walked four batters. It was the third time this year he’s walked at least three. Last season, he walked 2.2 batters per nine innings. This season, that figure’s nearly doubled (4.1). Although he’s surrendered three homers already this season, he’s still at 0.9 HR/9, which is equal to his rate over the last two seasons.

Alcantara’s struggles with command have pushed his walk-rate to 11.3 percent, his highest such rate since 2018 (his second year). Last season, Alcantara’s walk-rate finished at a career-low 6.0 percent. The lack of command has also resulted in fewer strikeouts and a lower strike percentage (62.0). His pitches-per-inning (15.3) and pitches-per-plate-appearance (3.83) are both up as well.

Marlins Sweep

5 Takeaways from the Marlins Sweep in D.C.

The Miami Marlins ended their seven-day, six-game road trip with a three-game sweep of their NL East rivals, the Washington Nationals, in D.C. Miami used dominant starting pitching and timely hitting to win the series.

It’s clear the Marlins have elite starting pitching at this point, with potentially more on the way in the minors. What’s also clear is that the offense needs more consistent production, especially from the five regulars hitting below .205. But with this three-game sweep, the Marlins showed themselves to be a good team, taking care of business on the road against an inferior opponent.

Miami comes home 10-8, having won five in a row, their longest win streak since 2020. A win on Friday at home against the Seattle Mariners would push the Marlins to three games over .500 for the first time since August 29, 2016.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Marlins sweep in Washington.

Starting Pitching Carries the Marlins During Sweep of the Nats

The Marlins saw the top three pitchers of their rotation get a turn in this three-game series in Washington. The result? Two earned runs allowed over 18 innings pitched. On the road trip, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López, and Trevor Rodgers combined to toss 38 innings, allowing three runs total. That’s an 0.71 ERA.

 

Alcantara limited the Nationals to one run on six hits and three walks over six innings, although he was helped on Tuesday by a pair of outfield assists. Alcantara’s surrendered just five earned runs through his first four starts of the season. He struck out five Nationals, to run his season total up to 20 over 25.1 innings pitched. His 1.78 ERA for the season sits just outside the MLB top-10.

MLB’s leader in that category is López, who tossed another gem this week. But more on him in a moment.

Rodgers helped the Marlins secure the sweep in D.C. thanks to his best outing of the season. Rodgers went a season-long 6.0 innings in what was his fourth start. He surrendered two hits in the effort, both in the first inning, and only allowed two base runners after that. He helped keep this Nationals offense under wraps, lowering his ERA to 5.09 in the process.

Pablo López Leveling Up

Pablo López’s start to this season has been one of the most impressive things in baseball through the first month. Lopez shut down the Nationals, navigating a third consecutive start without surrendering a run.

The right-hander allowed just three hits over his six innings of work, with six strikeouts to just one walk. Miami picked up a 2-1 victory and López was credited with his third win in a row, matching a career high. He’s has now tossed 18.1 consecutive scoreless innings, which is the longest stretch of his career without allowing a run.

 

“I feel real good,” López said after the game on Wednesday. “I feel really happy with where I am feeling on the mound with the rhythm, the tempo, the way I’m breaking my hands the same time with my legs.”

López continued: “I just feel like I’m in a good spot on the mound.”

In addition to leading the league in ERA (0.39), López leads in WAR for pitchers (1.5) and ranks second in WHIP (0.729). Lopez is the 12th pitcher (13th occurrence, Roger Clemens did it twice) in MLB history to allow one run or less in his first four starts of the season while pitching at least 20.0 innings. His 0.39 ERA is the lowest in club history through the first four starts of the season, bettering Dontrelle Willis’ 0.71 mark to start 2004.

‘Mix and Match’ Bullpen Saves Marlins Sweep

It wasn’t just the Marlins starting pitching that propelled the team to the sweep in Washington. Miami’s bullpen shut the door in each of the three games, registering with key outs in high leverage situations. And with Dylan Floro still on the IL, Marlins manager used the “mix and match” approach throughout the series.

The fact that their starters each pitched six innings in these games allowed Mattingly to approach the final third of these games based on matchups. With the starters covering all but nine innings in the series, relievers came out of the bullpen in different combinations to maximize matchups in those high leverage situations to much success.

Marlins relievers allowed three runs (two earned) during this sweep in Washington. Anthony Bender missed the series win against the Atlanta Braves due to hip soreness, but registered his third and fourth saves of the season in the first two games versus the Nationals.

 

Bender pitched a clean ninth on Tuesday, then registered a four-out save on Wednesday. That 1.1 inning effort was his longest outing of the season. Perhaps the most impressive part was Bender’s ability to keep the Nationals off the board in a high leverage, one-run situation, although Yadiel Hernandez seemed to just miss a grand slam of him.

On Thursday, Cole Sulser picked up his first save with the Marlins. Sulser closed the sweep of the Nationals with a 1.1 inning outing of his own that included keeping Washington’s tying run at third with a strikeout of Josh Bell in the eighth.

On the road trip, Miami’s bullpen went 5-for-5 in save opportunities, with four different relievers (Bender, Sulser, Louis Head, and Tanner Scott) registering a save.

Sanchez Delivers with Key Pinch Hit

The Marlins find themselves in a stretch of 16 games over 16 days, so naturally, Mattingly will work off days into the schedule for many of his regulars. Playing a day game after a night game, and with a lefty starter on the mound, Mattingly opted with a right-handed heavy lineup for the series closer.

But in a key spot in the seventh inning, with the game tied at one, Mattingly tapped Jesus Sanchez to pinch hit for Bryan De La Cruz with Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas on base. Down 0-1 in the count, Sanchez reach down and shot RHP Victor Arano’s 83.5 MPH slider through the right side of the infield, getting the Marlins the lead. Rojas advanced to third and would score what amounted to the game-winning run on a wild pitch.

 

That hit snapped an 0-for-14 stretch for Sanchez that included seven strikeouts. It was Sanchez’s lone RBI on the trip, one in which he went 3-for-22 overall, lowering his batting average from .356 to .284. Although he struck out in the ninth, it was good to see Sanchez deliver in a clutch spot with a base hit.

Marlins Struggle with RISP (and Bad Luck) During Sweep

Although the Marlins completed the series sweep on Thursday, they did so in large part thanks to their pitching. Miami pitchers limited the Nationals to five runs over the three games. Marlins hitters, meanwhile, did just enough.

Miami’s offense put up 10 runs, half coming in the series opener. The Marlins went 4-for-24 with runners-in-scoring-position. Sanchez came through with the big hit on Thursday, with Joey Wendle’s three-run homer on Tuesday being the difference in that one.

For the season, the Marlins remain in the bottom third of MLB in this metric, hitting just .203 when runners are in scoring position. Miami’s 31-for-153 in that spot. While the team’s 192 plate appearances with RISP ranks eighth so far, Marlins hitters still need more consistency in the clutch. Miami’s even worse (.178) with RISP and two outs.

While some of this is bad execution, some of it is also just plain bad luck.

Jorge Soler went 0-for-4 on Thursday, but he had the two highest exit velocities of the game. Soler rocketed a grounder to third at 106.3 MPH with runners on the corners, but Nationals third baseman Maikel Franco snagged the ball and registered the force out. Later in the game, Soler smashed a pitch 110.9 MPH to left but Nats outfielder Yadiel Hernandez made an excellent sliding catch. The expected batting averages for those Soler strikes were .650 (for the 106.3 grounder) and .870 (for the 110.9 liner).

Avisail Garcia’s flyout in the sixth sported an exit velocity of 98.6 and an expected batting average of .630. Had it dropped, it would have scored Garrett Cooper from second. Garcia has a similar situation unfold in the second inning, with a flyout to right that had a 101.4 exit velocity and a .610 expected batting average.

Marlins series Braves

Marlins Take First Road Series from Braves

The Miami Marlins showed some moxie over the weekend with their 2-1 series victory over the defending world champion Atlanta Braves. Although the Marlins absorbed their second shut-out loss of the season in the series opener, Miami rallied to secure a pair of wins and pass the Braves in the NL East standings.

The Marlins weren’t the only team from Miami to have success in Atlanta this weekend, as the Heat took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Hawks in their playoff matchup. Even Inter Miami notched a win versus Atlanta FC.

But for the Marlins, this series win over the Braves remains important, and could be a launching pad for the club this season.

Marlins Bats Get Going in Series vs Braves

The Marlins’ offense has been up-and-down this season, to say the least. Miami’s offense struggled to consistently produce save for one game against the Cardinals prior to this trip to Atlanta. But after a shutout to start, the Marlins bats got going in this series against the Braves.

Following a series in which the team went 2-for-21 with runners-in-scoring-position, stranding 21 on base, the Marlins came through in clutch spots against Atlanta. After an 0-for-4 with RISP on Friday, Miami hitters went a respectable 9-for-33 (.272) with runners-in-scoring-position. The Marlins scored 14 runs over the final two games in the series versus the Braves.

In the back-and-forth contest on Saturday, the Marlins got clutch hits throughout the evening. Avisail Garcia came through with pair of RBI early, while Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jorge Soler helped the Marlins grab the lead in the sixth. Garrett Cooper’s pinch-hit two-run single gave the Marlins the lead for good, and Jesus Aguilar added an insurance run with a sac fly.

Chisholm was particularly good on Saturday, connecting on a lead-off home run and recording a career-high four hits on the night. He drove in three runs, scored three runs, and nabbed two stolen bases.

On Sunday, Garcia got the Marlins on the board once again, this time with an RBI double. Cooper came through with an RBI single after that. Jacob Stallings contributed with a sac fly in the sixth before Cooper drove in another run in the seventh. Joey Wendle’s seventh inning double capped the scoring for the Marlins in this series against the Braves.

Scoring nine runs then five runs in two games stands as Miami’s best run production in consecutive contests this season. And they could’ve done more, considering 33 runners were left stranded by Marlins hitters in this series versus the Braves. Miami now ranks 23rd with RISP this season (.209).

Veteran Marlins Bats Finding Their Stroke in Series vs Braves

The Marlins sunk some money into their lineup this offseason. But after some early season struggles, it seems like Miami’s veteran bats are starting to find their stroke.

Soler received his World Series ring this weekend, and celebrated with his most productive stretch of play since the Fall Classic. Soler registered hits for the Marlins in each of the three games in this series against the Braves. He reached base eight times, scoring two runs and driving in one.

Garcia also got going, notching three RBI, three hits, and one run scored in the series. He picked up his first stolen base of the season. Aguilar also picked up three hits over the weekend, driving in one and getting his batting average up over .205 for the first time this season.

Cooper entered this series 1-for-his-last-11 with just two RBI on the season. But after an 0-for-3 Friday, Cooper came through with one of the biggest hits of the season with his bases loaded, pinch-hit, two-RBI single on Saturday.

Cooper maintained that momentum Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a double and two more RBI. That lifted his batting average to .272 with an on-base percentage of .396. Cooper hit .328 with RISP last season.

Closer-By-Committee Taking Effect

At the end of Spring Training, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the team would use a closer-by-committee approach early on. Presumptive closer Dylan Floro landed on the 10-day IL to start the season with a rotator cuff injury, so Miami planned to mix and match at the backend of the bullpen.

That said, Anthony Bender proved to be the closer in all but name through the season’s first few weeks. But Bender’s results left something to be desired. While he registered a pair of saves early on, the 27-year-old second-year reliever surrendered the tying or winning run(s) in three of his five outings.

Bender didn’t pitch for the Marlins in this series against the Braves, though, because of hip soreness. He sports an 8.31 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP over his first 4.1 innings of work this season.

On Saturday, Mattingly turned to recently acquired Tanner Scott in a crucial save situation. Scott registered the second save of his MLB career with an 11-pitch outing that finished with a strikeout of Austin Riley. Scott’s stuff plays like that of a traditional closer, but on Sunday, he didn’t have his best. He surrendered a season-high three earned runs, recording just one out.

Mattingly then turned to Louis Head, another new member of the Marlins bullpen, to close out the game. Head surrendered a double to Marcell Ozuna before striking out Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario for his first career save.

Marlins relievers tossed 11.1 innings in this series, allowing five earned runs and striking out 14 Braves hitters. Miami’s bullpen now ranks 16th in ERA (3.33).

Reinforcements should be on their way soon, too, with Floro beginning his rehab stint in Jupiter this week. Floro threw 23 pitches in his first outing and could be back with the team by the next homestand.

Marlins Afloat Following Tough Start to Schedule

13 of the Marlins first 15 games this season came against teams that finished above .500 in 2021. Three of their first five series came against teams that made the postseason a year ago (San Francisco, St Louis, and Atlanta). So far, Miami’s played the third-toughest schedule among NL teams and the seventh-toughest schedule overall.

The Marlins were able to tread water during that tough stretch, going 7-8 with a plus-1 run differential. They’re now second in the NL East and start a three-game road series against a Washington Nationals (6-12) team that’s lost five in a row.

The Marlins grabbing a 2-1 series win over the Braves helped them climb in the NL East standings, but Miami needs to maintain this level of play against their division rivals. The Marlins took five of the first seven matchups versus Atlanta last season, but the Braves dominated the rest of the way. Miami finished 8-11 against Atlanta in 2021.

The Marlins have lost the season series to the Braves for seven straight years. The last time Miami won the season series versus the Braves was 2014. The Marlins have won more than lost against Atlanta only five times in the franchise’s 29 years.

If Miami’s going to make a push for the postseason in 2022, the team needs to capitalize against losing teams like the Nationals. Of the Marlins next 16 games, nine come against losing clubs. Miami also has a home series against the Seattle Mariners and a road series against the San Diego Padres in that stretch, both winnable sets.

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