5 Takeaways from the Miami Marlins’ Disastrous Start

There’s nothing quite like Opening Day in baseball. A new year, an empty slate and teams feel like it could be their year. Well, that feeling didn’t last too long for the Marlins. 


The Miami Marlins (0-4) hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-0) to start out the 2024 season and what hoped to be a chance for Miami to get the season off to a strong start turned out to be the complete opposite. 


Miami ended up getting swept over the four-game series to Pittsburgh and a lot of it had to do with the Marlins poor pitching performances.


The Marlins were outscored 31-17 by the Pirates. It’s inexcusable to be giving up that many runs in four games. 


A lot of frustration to start out the year and hopefully, Miami can find a way to get it together and find some much-needed momentum.


Here are five reasons why the Marlins have been playing poorly to start the season.



Luis Arraez has not been getting hits


Luis Arraez was the life of the Marlins offense a season ago. 


During the 2023 season, Arraez was hitting for an average of .354 and had 69 RBI that won him a batting title in the National League. 


But this season, Miami’s second baseman has gotten off to a really slow start. The polar opposite of his scorching hot start last season. 


Over the four games in the series, Arraez had just two hits, going 2-for-18 (.111 average). 


So what’s the reason for this? Well, it’s baseball. Players go through slumps all the time. One month, they can be hitting everything they see and then the next, they can’t buy a hit. That’s what happens and this is just one of those cases. 


Arraez is making contact. He’s hitting some hard liners but it’s just been a bit of bad luck because those balls can’t seem to find their ways to reach the gaps. 



Avisail Garcia might be the most hated Marlin of all time


Avisail Garcia signed a four-year, $53 million contract with the Marlins back in 2021 and it looks like Miami regrets making that decision. 


On the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021, Garcia hit .262 with 29 home runs and 86 RBI that helped earn him that contract with the Marlins. But all of a sudden, his stats took a huge dip. 

Over his three seasons in Miami, Garcia is batting just .214 with 11 home runs and he’s struck-out a total of 150 times. 


There’s not really a reason as to why he’s had a massive fall off since joining the Marlins a few seasons ago. He’s certainly not the same player Miami signed in 2021. 


In his first at bat on Opening Day, Garcia was greeted with a roar of boos from the LoanDepot Park crowd. The fans were letting not only him, but the team know that his time with the Marlins has been a complete disaster.


But Garcia did have a good game on Sunday. He hit the second home run of the day for the Marlins and made a nice sliding catch in right field. 


If he can become that consistent hitter Miami hoped to get when they signed him, their offense can really gain a huge boost. 


Starting pitching woes 


Miami might have a problem with their starting pitching. With their usual starters in Sandy Alcantara, Eury Perez, Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera out due to injury, the Marlins have been forced to “experiment” with their pitching staff. 


Four left-handed starters is just one aspect of it. But you have a guy like A.J. Puk who hasn’t been a starting pitcher in his professional career. Puk has been coming out of the bullpen and on Friday night, Puk had the start and it was as bad as you can imagine. 


Puk struck-out his first batter but unfortunately, that was the best we’d see all night from him. His command was off and the pitch velocity was down. 


In just two innings, Puk gave up three hits, four earned runs and six walks. That is not ideal from someone the Marlins are looking to work deep into games to give their bullpen a rest.


On the other hand, Jesus Luzardo looked really good for the Fish on Opening Day.


Luzardo made his first Opening Day start of his MLB career and he showed why he deserved to take on that role. 


The 26-year old left-handed starting pitcher for the Marlins showed out for a packed LoanDepot Park on Thursday afternoon. 


Luzardo’s only mistake came in the third inning when he gave up a two-run home run to Bryan Reynolds that tied the game 2-2. Home run aside, Luzardo pitched well. He pitched through five innings and gave up two hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck-out eight. 


It’s tough to see how long the Marlins can rely on Puk to start because in my honest opinion, he does not have the skillset to be a starting pitcher in the MLB. 


Ryan Weathers and Trevor Rogers looked solid for Miami. But the main problem from both of them was the pitch count. They had innings where they threw for 20 or more pitches which forced them to not have lengthy outings. Just four and five innings from Weathers and Rogers, respectively. 


These short outings from the starters can turn into a hefty workload for the bullpen which is something that Miami does not want to do in an Opening Day series. 



Bullpen has been forced to work a lot…already


The Marlins had 23 innings of relief pitching over the course of the four-game series. That is a ton of innings. 


We saw lengthy appearances from pitchers like Declan Cronin, Brian Hoeing and Vladimir Gutierrez. 


Sixto Sanchez made his return to the MLB at the top of the eighth inning in Game 1. It had been his first time seeing major league action since September 23, 2020. 


Unfortunately, Sanchez gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. Oneil Cruz hit an opposite field home run that tied the game at 5-5. 


Closer Tanner Scott made just two appearances during the series because the Marlins often found themselves down by multiple runs so there were no save opportunities. But when Scott was in the game, especially Game 4, he did not pitch well. 


Miami’s starting pitchers need to find a way to go deep into games because the bullpen can’t operate like this for the rest of the season. 



New pieces have not done much so far


Miami acquired some players during the offseason in hopes of adding some contributions to the offense but so far, it has been crickets from these new faces. 


In his first Marlins at bat, Tim Anderson hit an RBI double down the right field line that put Miami up 2-0 early in the second inning. But other than that, it was a relatively quiet series for the former White Sox shortstop. 


Anderson was 3-for-16 during the four-game stretch and struck-out six times. 


The Marlins added utilityman Nick Gordon from the Minnesota Twins and Gordon’s bat came alive when Miami needed it most. Gordon hit a home run in the ninth inning of Game 4 that tied the game at 7-7. 


Vidal Brujan came over to the Marlins after spending last season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Better known for his fielding, Brujan is someone that Miami looked at as a player that can play all over the infield. But Brujan was hitless in the series (0-for-4).

Like Brujan, Christian Bethancourt was brought in for his defensive abilities. Bethancourt has a cannon of an arm at catcher and his bat is serviceable. But during the Opening Day series, Bethancourt went 0-for-7.


Yes, these guys have talent. But the Marlins didn’t do much to address their needs with the offense. Losing Jorge Soler over the offseason was a massive blow and Miami doesn’t have enough star power to have their offense carry them in games. 


Hopefully, Miami can turn things around. The season is still very early and they’ll start to pick up some momentum. But the impatience from fans will be increasing if things don’t change for the better. 


The Marlins will host the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game series. First pitch is tomorrow at 6:40 p.m. EST. 

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