About 90 minutes before game time, a seismic rumble rolled through the Marlins clubhouse. Don Mattingly scratched Jose Urena from his scheduled start, and regular starters Harold Ramirez and Garrett Cooper were pulled as well. However, despite the uncertainty surrounding the club, the Marlins rallied to beat the Phillies, 11-6.
Miguel Rojas spurred the comeback, going 3-for-4 with a home run, triple, hit-by-pitch, three runs scored and four RBI. He fell a double shy of what would have been the first cycle for the Marlins franchise (4,306 games).
“It was a whole group of guys just relentless and not quitting,” said Rojas. “I’m so proud of the way we approached the day today. It was a weird day, a lot going on in the morning. This group of guys showed character.”
Rojas emphasized the team effort. “Everybody did their part to win the game.”
Marlins Bats Come Alive
The Marlins beat the Phillies thanks, in large part, to the bottom of the order. Rojas hit in the eight-hole. Isan Diaz (hitting seventh) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. He made solid contact in two of his other at-bats in addition to the hits.
Magneuris Sierra, who made the 30-man roster over the likes of Monte Harrison and some of the other outfield prospects, demonstrated his value as well. Sierra (hitting ninth) went 2-for-3 with two RBI, a double, triple and walk. He played a great centerfield.
Most think Sierra made the team because his out of minor league options, but he does sport game-changing speed. Sierra hit .350 in 15 game after a September 3rd call-up last season.
New additions Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar continued their hot start as Marlins. Dickerson went 2-for-5 with a towering home run in the sixth. He scored twice and drove in one. Aguilar hit his second homer of the season and finished 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored.
For the three game set, the Marlins hit five home runs, four doubles and two triples for 27 total hits and 17 runs.
Pitchers Played their Role
Robert Dugger made the surprise start in place of Urena. He learned about the change in the morning and called the moment “a shock. I had a little bit of time to mentally prepare. Everyone had confidence in me. You just got to adapt and be that guy for the team that day.”
Dugger surrendered a three-run home run to Bryce Harper in the first inning, but saw his teammates get all those runs back in the second. Dugger settled in to give up just one more run, ultimately going 3.1 innings.
Jordan Holloway, a 20th round pick for the Marlins in 2014, made his MLB debut. He walked his first batter but induced a deep fly ball out from Bryce Harper to register his first out. He gave up a pair of singles before coming out but did not surrender a run.
Holloway is the first pitcher to make the leap from Single-A since Jose Fernandez. He throws hard, working from 95-98 mph peaking at 100 with his fastball. In 2019, Holloway posted 93 strikeouts but 66 walks over 95 IP.
Seven pitchers went for Miami in this one. The Phillies managed baserunners often, but relievers only surrendered one run. Philadelphia loaded the bases in the fifth, six and eighth innings, but managed to push across just one run.
Walks continued to be an issue for the ‘pen, as they issued six free passes on the day. Luckily, none of the those walks came around to score for Philadelphia.
Marlins Beat Phillies Despite COVID Uncertainty
“It was a huge day for us,” Mattingly said. “Losing our starter, getting down four, the boys just bounced back. It would’ve been very easy to feel bad for yourself, so it’s was a big win from that standpoint.”
The Marlins changed their travel plans after the game and will stay in Philadelphia for the night. That decision is likely COVID-19 related, as the team awaits test results. Prior to the game Urena, Ramirez and Cooper were all pulled from the lineup, and while the team hasn’t confirmed this, several reports have surfaced that all three players have tested positive.
The Marlins already have Jorge Alfaro on the 10-day IL dealing with COVID related issues. Lewis Brinson and Matt Joyce did not work out with the team during summer camp and remain on the IL. Brinson has returned to workouts in Jupiter, as has prospect Jazz Chisholm, who also had a bout with COVID.
The team will fly home tomorrow to face the Baltimore Orioles. Pablo Lopez is scheduled to start for the Marlins. Asher Wojciechowski should go for Baltimore.
Since the Marlins beat the Phillies 11-6, they won the three-game series 2-1. It’s the first time since 2014 the Marlins have won the opening series of the season.