Marlins avoid season sweep by Dodgers

The Miami Marlins had been dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers for each of the five games they played each other this season.

The Dodgers were about to secure their first ever season series sweep over Miami but the Marlins, powered by Celeb Smith and a barrage of bats, exacted revenge on Thursday by way of a 13-7 win.

Unlike the Dodgers in the previous two game, the Marlins scored all 13 runs without a home run.

“Obviously it took a lot of hits to get those runs, but that’s who we are right now,” manager Don Mattingly said.

Smith was flirting with a no-hitter through four innings until Kevin Garlick hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was the only hit and run he gave up all outing, finishing with four strikeouts and three walks through five innings. He was in line for the win after Jon Berti scored two runs on a single by Brian Anderson in the first inning and a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro in the third inning.

The Marlins then unloaded on the Dodgers with six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Berti was hit by pitch for the second time in the game and scored along with Isan Diaz on a Anderson two-run double. He then scored on an RBI single by Castro. Jorge Alfaro and Lewis Brinson — who made a diving catch in the fourth inning to preserve Smith’s no-hit attempt at the time — drove in the final two runs of the rally.

“It feels good, man,” Brinson said. “That’s a good team over there. Their record and all their numbers show it. We just said we’ve got to fight every at-bat against these guys, because they’re a good squad. That’s exactly what we did.”

The Dodgers got the remainder of their seven runs through the long ball. Cody Bellinger hit his MLB leading 40th home run while Corey Seager homered for the third consecutive game. Max Muncy also hit his 29th home run of the season.

“It’s pretty cool,” Bellinger said on the milestone. “There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully more to come.”

Once again, Alfaro, Brinson and Anderson drove in the Marlins remaining five runs in the sixth inning. The bullpen held the lead the rest of the way. Alfaro was 2-for-14 in his last four games but went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs on the afternoon.

“It wasn’t a good day of pitching for us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Kershaw dominates Marlins

The Miami Marlins didn’t stand a chance the moment Clayton Kershaw entered the mound.

The longtime ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers struck out ten batters, including the first seven he faced and allowed only two hits, cruising to a 9-1 win on Wednesday.

“Sometimes you get in that groove early,” Kershaw said. “I really don’t care how we get the outs as long as I’m efficient with it. Tonight I was able to get ahead and did a decent job with fastball command.”

Harold Ramirez hit a two-out single to right field in the fifth inning to break up Kershaw’s bid for a perfect game.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner left after 90 pitches and a double. He seems to be on his way to a fourth with a 12-2 record and a 2.63 ERA in 21 starts.

“Obviously Clayton doesn’t want to come out of any game, especially when you feel as good as he did tonight,” Roberts said. “He wasn’t stressed at all. Tonight was as good as I’ve seen with all his pitches, mainly his fastball.”

The dominant performance earned Kershaw his 165th win, tying Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

“Any time you’re mentioned with Sandy it’s special,” Kershaw said.

Justin Turner and Corey Seager each hit a home run off Elieser Hernandez in the first inning to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

Edwin Rios, who is from Miami and played college ball at FIU, hit a home run in the fourth and sixth inning.

“Just felt great being back at the 305, where I went to school,” Rios said. “It was awesome just hearing the fans yell FIU, when I was on deck.”

Hernandez pitched six innings and gave up six runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts.

“I give a lot of credit to them,” said Hernandez, who struck out seven, through an interpreter. “They did a great job. Their lineup is strong, and all the mistakes I made, I paid for them.”

Curtis Granderson hit a pinch-hit homer off in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout. The Dodgers have won all five games against the Marlins in dominating fashion but to Don Mattingly, the glass is  half full.

“The games with L.A., in particular, I think they’re good because they kind of let you know where you’re at,” the Marlins manager said. “They’re one of probably three teams, maybe four, that legitimately — if they don’t win the World Series, they’re going to look at it like it’s a bad year.”

Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.08) will be tasked with securing the season series sweep on Thursday, while the Marlins will counter with Caleb Smith (7-6, 3.71).

Jordan Yamamoto learning from losing

Jordan Yamamoto became the second member of the Miami Marlins’ return package from the Christian Yellich trade and got to a hot start. He became the third starting pitcher in franchise history to begin his career with at least four consecutive victories, joining Livan Hernandez (9-0 in 1997) and Anibal Sanchez (4-0 in 2006).

Then he faced the Los Angeles Dodgers and everything changed.

After wining a home series against the San Diego Padres, the Marlins traveled to Los Angeles with Yamamoto toeing the rubber on July 21. The rookie run face first into the buzzsaw that is the two-time defending National League champions and allowed five runs in four innings, including two of the Dodgers’ three home runs.

That started a five start slump in which he has gone 0-4 with an 8.28 ERA. Against the Dodgers on Tuesday he lasted five innings but only got two strikeouts and gave up four runs including back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, leading to a 15-1 disaster of a series opener at Marlins Park.

“The Dodgers are a great lineup,” Yamamoto said. “Everybody knows that. But at the end of the day, it’s kind of a good test for all of us pitchers here and the whole team, just in general. At the end of the day, they’re a playoff team. We’re trying to get to that point where people look at us and are like, ‘They’re a playoff team.’”

Home runs have been his main downfall, as he has allowed eight during that five-game stretch. Being a rookie, the rough stretch was bound to happened and during a rebuilding year in which the postseason is not in reach, learning from losing is a vital part of taking the next step.

“It’s always a learning experience, from losing,” Yamamoto said after making his 11th big league start. “It [stinks] to lose. But at the same time, you still learn a lot about yourself and your team in those hard times.”

“I think Jordan actually was OK,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I feel like, actually, his last three have been good. He was aggressive.”

In the midst of losing, Yamamoto is at least winning the respect of those who beat him.

“Yamamoto, I think this kid has got some good stuff,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He can pitch, but we got to him. Credit to our guys.”

Homer happy Dodgers dominate Marlins

The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Miami needing one more win to reach the 80-win mark.

They reached that bench mark by unloading a barrage of bombs to fry the Miami Marlins 15-1 on Tuesday.

The Dodgers added to their National League leading home run total with six homers. Los Angeles also has the highest winning percentage with a home run in the National League at .731.

“It was as good a night as we’ve had all year, and that’s saying a lot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just a relentless approach.”

Will Smith hit two home runs, one in the fourth inning right after Corey Seager hit his 10th of the season and another in the sixth inning. Since being given the starting catcher role on July 27, the rookie catcher has knocked in a hit in 11 of 14 games, going 16-for-45 (.356) with 10 runs, seven doubles, six homers and 20 RBIs in his second big league stint.

“It’s special to be here,” Smith said. “It’s a special team. Eighty wins already, but we’re trying to work for those last couple wins at the end of the year.”

“He’s taken it and run,” Roberts said. “He really has. Most importantly, behind the plate and his relationship with the pitchers, with [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] as far as gameplanning. Just in the batter’s box, he’s really continued what he did in Triple-A. To see that maturity, the confidence, it’s very rare, especially when you’re playing with a team that is trying to win a championship. For him, it just makes us that much better.”

Cody Bellinger also tied a career high with his 39th home run when he and Justin Turner teed off Wei-Yin Chen back-to-back in the seventh inning.

“Everyone wants to be great on this team,” Bellinger said. “That’s what we’re showing.”

The Marlins have given up 13 extra-base hits, the most in club history. Miami has also given up a home run in 15 straight games.

“It doesn’t feel good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, “but it’s just one game.”

Starlin Castro se siente cómodo en el lado izquierdo del infield

Starlin Castro estuvo en el centro de los rumores los dos últimos meses de campaña antes de la fecha límite de cambios en las Grandes Ligas.

El infielder dominicano era una de las piezas de valor que los Marlins pretendían cambiar para recibir algo a cambio, pues su contrato termina esta temporada (su contrato tiene una opción que el equipo puede ejercer).

Para Castro, los primeros días fueron algo incómodo, y hasta confesó que juega beisbol sin usar una copa (protector de los genitales).

Sin embargo, ahora todo es mas llevadero. Gran parte de esa sensación de confort es gracias al venezolano Martin Prado, quien lo ha ayudado a adaptarse a su nueva posición.

Prado, quien se ganó su estancia en Grandes Ligas gracias a su versatilidad, es el mejor aliado de Castro, quien ya ha jugado shortstop antes en su carrera.

Son casos diferentes, pues Prado llegó a establecerse como tercera base de Miami, mientras que Castro está luchando para mantenerse en Grandes Ligas aprendiendo a lidiar con los roletazos desde un ángulo diferente.

“En segunda base tienes mas tiempo, y el terreno es mas amplio. Además, el tiro que se tiene que hacer es mas largo. Tienes que estar mas ready”, dice Castro, quien a pesar de tener que lidiar con este cambio, viene de su mejor mes con el madero.

Starlin Castro y sus mejores meses como Marlin

Starlin Castro se encendió justo antes del Juego de Estrellas en Cleveland, y ha mantenido su gran ritmo ofensivo en este último mes de campaña, bateando .322 (AVG), .341 (OBP), con 5 jonrones y 20 carreras impulsadas en sus últimos 30 juegos.

Aún así, los Marlins no lograron llegar a un acuerdo con ningún equipo para que se hiciera con los servicios del dominicano.

¿Qué podemos esperar para él ahora?

De no ejercer la opción que tiene el equipo, no se extrañen si los propios Marlins lo contratan con condiciones diferentes, para tenerlo como uno de los veteranos del equipo en el clubhouse, y que juegue en el infield unas dos o tres veces por semana.

En estos momentos, los Marlins no tienen un pelotero así.

 

En Cinco Razones Podcast seguimos a los Marlins de Miami como ningún otro medio del sur de Florida. Sigan nuestro trabajo en todas nuestras redes sociales (@CincoRazonesNet)

 

 

Sean Newcomb

Sean Newcomb finds redemption after loss to Marlins on Saturday

The Miami Marlins didn’t have enough leftover magic from Saturday’s thrilling comeback win to carry them over to Sunday. Sean Newcomb helped secure the Atlanta Braves’ 5-4 win with two strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth before Andrew Swarzak came in to finish the inning. It was enough to be considered redemption after giving up the winning run on Saturday’s 7-6 Marlins win.

Shortly after Martin Prado hit the walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, Newcomb furiously kicked a metal garbage can towards a fire extinguisher in the dugout tunnel, which then sent chemical dust and smoke spewing down, making its way into the visitors clubhouse at Marlins Park. The smoke also went into Marlins Mermaids locker room, which kept the dance squad from leaving on time. 

“We were all kind of laughing afterward and were like, ‘It stinks we lost, but we’ll remember this,'” said Luke Jackson, who got the save for the Braves on Sunday. “It was funny. These are the teams that win championships. You lose a game, but you build camaraderie, and I think it’s a win.”

It doesn’t take much to create a rally icon in baseball. For the Braves this weekend, a busted up fire extinguisher did the trick. Ronald Acuna and Ender Inciarte homered to carry Atlanta to victory.

“It was a good thing that happened,” Inciarte said. “We lost the game, a rough game, but everybody was thinking about the fire extinguisher. We were not thinking about what happened in the game.”

Not everyone on the Braves was present during the incident. Mike Foltynewicz, who got the win on Sunday, was in the team hotel before it happened and entered the ballpark shocked when he heard about it.

“I couldn’t believe that story,” Foltynewicz said. “I literally couldn’t believe it, I came in here and heard the stories, and it put a laugh on my face.”

Because of Newcomb’s tirade, the cleanup crew was in Marlins Park until early morning on Sunday. By the time they finished, they could’ve went straight to church. Sean Newcomb reportedly apologized to the stadium employees and even offered to pay for any damage.

The Marlins split the series with the Braves and took their only two home wins against their division rival.

“We had to fight like hell to get a split, and I’ll take that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This place was haunted for us these last four days.”

Jon Berti

Miami Marlins rookie Jon Berti is on fire

Since returning from the injured list on July 31, Jon Berti is batting .400 (16 for 40) with 6 RBI and four stolen bases.

He served as the spark plug to the Miami Marlins late inning rally. They beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in 10 innings after a walk-off sac fly by Martin Prado. He came in for Deven Marrero at shortstop and went 2-for-2 on the night. And he got a base hit and scored on an RBI by Brian Anderson in the eighth inning. That hit drove in Prado in the ninth to spark the four-run rally.

“He’s getting a shot here, kind of showing himself,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It puts him on the radar. This guy has got a chance to be a piece for us, from the standpoint he can do a lot of things.”

The rookie shortstop is tied with Brian Anderson with five stolen bases, and is one away from the team lead held by Miguel Rojas. All with only 99 at-bats on the season. The Marlins are second-to-last in the National League so they can certainly use a dose of speed at the top of the lineup.

“He’s a full-speed acceleration guy, where he’s at full speed quickly,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “If you’re going to be basestealer, or a guy who has that kind of burst, those guys are at full speed right away. A step. Step and a half. They’re going into gear quickly.”

Berti plays both infield and outfield, but is primarily playing shortstop with Rojas on the IL this season. He is the 12th fastest player in baseball according to Statcast,

“He’s part of that equation that can put pressure on the other team, just with speed,” Mattingly said. “I think that’s important for us, knowing the kind of roster we’re trying to build. That’s the kind of guy you’re looking for.”

Despite being 29 years old, Berti is a rookie this season. If this hot streak continues through August and September, he will easily fit the mold of what the Marlins want on their team during this rebuilding project.

“We want to be athletic,” Mattingly said. “We want to put pressure on teams, we want to be able to have guys who put the ball in play. There’s a lot of things that we want from this roster, moving forward. He fits that criteria, a guy that can put pressure on the other team. He can steal a base, he can go first-to-third. He’s going to score from first on a ball in the gap. All of those things put pressure on the pitcher, from the standpoint of having to hold the runner.”

Both Jon Berti and Harold Ramirez signed with the Marlins this year as minor league free agents. Ironically, they both came from the Toronto Blue Jays organization. And needless to say, they’re both shaping up to be the biggest additions of Miami’s previous offseason.

Marlins to call up Isan Diaz and Lewis Brinson

The Marlins will finally get to see what they truly got in return for the reigning National League MVP after calling up centerfielder Lewis Brinson and second baseman Isan Diaz, as reported by Craig Mish.

Diaz will be making his MLB debut as soon as he takes the field in New York. The Marlins are beginning a four-game series against the Mets which includes a doubleheader on Monday. He slashed 305/.395/.578 with 26 HRs and 21 2Bs in Triple-A New Orleans. The .305 batting average makes it the perfect time for him to come to Miami.

Diaz was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft but was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016 along with pitcher Chase Anderson and third baseman Aaron Hill for shortstop Jean Segura. He hit 20 home runs in Single-A Carolina that year.

Starlin Castro has been the everyday second baseman this season but has been seen taking grounders from third base this weekend when the Marlins were playing the Tampa Bay Rays. He will likely move to the hot corner once Diaz joins the team.

Lewis Brinson was originally the centerpiece of the Christian Yellich trade and was the first to make it to the big leagues in 2018. He slashed .199/.240/.338 with 11 home runs in 109 games. He looked impressive in spring training but was sent down on April 30 after hitting .197 in 27 games. He’s slashed .270/.361/.510 with 16 home runs and 16 stolen bases in Triple-A so there is heavy optimism that he will showcase his potential this time around.

Outfielder Cesar Puello is likely going to the 10-day IL to make room for him. He left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning due to left hip flexor tightness. He has batted .179 in 32 games since being acquired by the Los Angeles Angels for cash on June 19.

Starting pitcher Jordan Yamamotto was also included in the trade package. Since being called up he’s 4-2 with a 3.94 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 48 innings.

Robert Dugger to make MLB debut on Monday

The Miami Marlins travel to New York to face the Mets this week beginning with a double-header on Monday.

This allows them to call up a 26th member of the roster and that has led to starting pitching prospect Robert Dugger making his Major League debut.

The transaction has not been made official, he was with the team in the clubhouse during the weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays and conversed with the media on Sunday.

“It’s what you always dream about,” Dugger told reporters. “I always wanted to be a Major League baseball player, and the time has come. It’s just … I don’t even really have any words for it. I’m numb, I’m anxious to get out there and pitch and just get those nerves out.”

This would give the Marlins a first glance with the return from the Dee Gordon trade from the 2018 offseason. Dugger came from the Seattle Mariners along with along with right-hander Nick Neidert and infielder Chris Torres. Dugger posted a 3.31 ERA in 13 starts in Double-A with 73 strikeouts in 70.2 innings before being promoted to Triple-A and struggling with a 9.34 ERA in seven starts.

“We liked [Dugger] in Spring Training,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It seemed like he was the guy who slotted into this spot. There were obviously a lot of factors that go into that … but he was on the right day, and everything worked out.”

The Tucson, Ariz., native was a starter for two years at Cisco JC in Texas before transferring to Texas Tech in 2016 and spending his lone season there as a reliever. The Mariners signed him for $70,000 in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Draft and he began his pro career in the bullpen before returning to the rotation in mid-2017 when he was promoted to High A Modesto.

The trade went down after the 2017 season and since the deal, Gordon has batted .272 in 820 at-bats with 46 stolen bases.

Harold Ramirez hits walk-off home run against Twins

The Miami Marlins found themselves in the same position as they were in the previous game, down multiple runs in the bottom of the ninth facing a Minnesota Twins reliever that’s not the closer. Unlike on Wednesday, the Marlins emerged on top with a 5-4 walk-off win in 12 innings on Thursday to avoid the series sweep.

Former Marlins pitcher Sam Dyson, who was recently traded to Minnesota, entered the game in the ninth inning tasked to protect a 4-1 lead. He walked Curtis Granderson to lead off the inning. A single by Martin Prado put runners at the corners and a base hit by Jon Berti cut the lead to 4-2.

Brian Anderson, who hit a grand slam on Wednesday, walked to load up the bases for Neil Walker. Twins closer Taylor Rogers replaced Dyson but a ground ball by Walker barely went by the shortstop and scored two runs to tie the game at 4-4.

Similar to his previous appearance, Rogers ended the inning with three consecutive strikeouts. Marlins reliever Jeff Brigham got his first career win by throwing two perfect innings in the 11th and 12th with two strikeouts, keeping the game tied for Harold Ramirez to hit a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the 12th inning.

“I really just tried to get on base,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t try to do too much, because we needed somebody to get on base.”

The Marlins lost a one-run game on Tuesday, made it interesting at the end on Wednesday after a terrible start by their lone All-Star and won in extra innings by coming back in the ninth against a team that built itself into a playoff caliber squad with a young foundation and veteran producers. Miami could very well be where Minnesota currently is within the next few years.

“All I can say is, they’ve got a lot of good, young players,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “They remind me of Tampa. A team that up and down the lineup, they’ve got good players. They might not all be household names at this point. But when you’re trying to get them out, there’s a lot of good players there.