5 Takeaways after Marlins Swept to Start Second Half

After playing their best first half of baseball in recent memory, the Miami Marlins (53-42) started their second half on a bad note, getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles (57-35) in three games. 


There were plenty of opportunities to win some of these games but Miami just failed to deliver when they were given those chances. 


In Game 2, the Marlins had a 4-0 lead in the second inning that immediately vanished and they’d end up losing by a score of 6-5. 


Looking to avoid the sweep in Game 3, Miami was down 5-0 heading into the ninth inning. But they showed some fight and tacked on four runs to cut the lead to 5-4. 


The Marlins had two outs with a runner on second and had the perfect guy at the plate in Luis Arráez. Arráez, with the best batting average in baseball (.380), had a chance to potentially tie the game but ended up flying out to left field, which perfectly summarizes how the series went for the Fish. 


Here are five takeaways from the series. 


Sandy inching his way back…


After winning the National League Cy Young Award last season, it’s been a rather disappointing year for pitcher Sandy Alcantara. 


With an ERA of 4.72 in the first half of the season, Alcantara is hoping that he’ll turn things around in the second half and get back to that elite level that we’ve been so accustomed to seeing. 


Alcantara got the start in Game 1 of the series and aside from a couple of mistake pitches over the heart of the plate that resulted in Oriole homers, the right-hander pitched a solid game. 


Through six innings, Alcantara allowed two earned runs on eight hits, a walk and struck-out five batters. He couldn’t find his command in the first few innings but ultimately settled in and pitched well. 


“They made me throw a lot of pitches,” Alcantara said about his outing after the game. “But that’s part of the game.”


“I thought he did good,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said about Alcantara’s performance after the game. “I think he’ll (Alcantara) tell you that he made two big mistakes on the couple home runs.”


Little by little, Alcantara’s outings have gotten better and better. Only time will tell if we’ll see him perform at the level he did last year. 


Bullpen showed signs of shakiness 

Miami’s relievers didn’t particularly pitch well against Baltimore. 


In Game 1, LHP Robert Garcia made his major league debut and he couldn’t get settled in, pitching just 0.1 inning giving up a hit and a walk. RHP Bryan Hoeing came in the game in hopes to clean up Garcia’s inning and immediately gave up a two-run home run to Baltimore’s second baseman Adam Frazier. 


Game 2 was no different as RHP Huascar Brazobán would enter the game during the seventh inning with the Marlins holding onto a 5-4 lead. The first pitch Brazobán threw resulted in an Oriole home run off the bat of third baseman Gunnar Henderson to tie the game.


Unable to shake the homer off, Brazobán would allow three more hits and another run to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead, forcing Schumaker to take the right-hander out of the game. 


Sunday’s Game 3 was no different as right out of the gates, the Orioles found themselves with a 3-0 lead after the first inning. LHP Steven Okert was used as an opener and just couldn’t fool Baltimore’s bats. 


RHP George Soriano pitched really well in the second and third inning, but all of a sudden, lost control of his pitches during the fourth, hitting two Oriole batters which led to a 5-0 lead for Baltimore. 


Dane Myers continues to impress 

Injuries to both of the Marlins’ center fielders Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jonathan Davis forced Miami to call up Dane Myers from the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, their Triple-A affiliate team. 


Since making his major league debut on July 4, Myers has been nothing short of productive with his bat. 


In nine games, Myers is batting .406 with 8 RBI, a home run and an on-base percentage of .424. 


Although he did misread a flyball in center field during Game 2 that allowed Baltimore to score two runs, you have to give him a break. It’s his first time playing in center field and he’s still getting the feel of the position.


“He’s still growing,” Schumaker said about Myers adjusting to the center field position. “He hasn’t played out there that much and for him to do that on a winning team in a big league uniform is pretty impressive. 


Cueto solid in his return to action

After pitching just one inning this season, Marlins right-hander Johnny Cueto made his first major league appearance in over four months. 


Miami signed Cueto as a free agent on a one year deal for $8,500,000 in hopes that they’d add more depth to their starting pitching rotation. Unfortunately, Cueto would face just seven batters against the Minnesota Twins before having to leave the game because of right-bicep tightness that placed him on the IL. 


In Game 3 of the series, Cueto made an appearance coming out of the bullpen during the fifth inning and really looked good out there. 


In his first inning of work, he threw eight pitches that forced three Oriole flyouts. In three innings, Cueto allowed just one hit, a walk and tallied a strikeout.


“He attacked,” Shumaker said about Cueto’s outing after Game 3. “I thought his velo(city) was up…I thought overall, really encouraging outing.”


As of now, we should expect Shumaker to keep Cueto in the bullpen. 


No answers for the Oriole hitters

Pesky and scrappy are words I’d use to describe this Baltimore lineup. You look one through nine and there doesn’t seem to be an easy out anywhere. 


Over the three-game series, Baltimore had 16 runs that included five home runs, 27 hits and walked seven times. 


The Marlins pitching staff had trouble finding ways to produce 1-2-3 quick innings and the Orioles did a good job of fighting off pitches and finding ways to reach base to raise the pitch count on Miami’s starting pitchers. 


The Orioles have a lot of young talent and they’re a team to keep an eye on as potential contenders in the American League, not only in the future but also this season. 


Miami looks to bounce back as they face the Cardinals (40-53) in St. Louis for a three-game series. Game 1 is on Monday, July 17 at 7:45 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Florida.

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