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.
Sign up for PrizePicks using the code “five” and get your initial deposit matched up to $1000.