After a disappointing road trip that culminated in a sweep and an 11-16 record at the hands of the Washington Nationals, the Marlins went home to play the Diamondbacks and Brewers. They started hot, winning the first 4 of the homestand before dropping two to Milwaukee. The Marlins, now 15-18, sit 3 games back of the first place Mets, looking back at a lost opportunity to make up some ground while banged up.
Recency bias pointed towards the last two games are sure to overshadow some clear positives from this past week, so rather than delving into the negatives, let’s take a look at what Miami did right. Because, with a 10-game road trip looming against the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Phillies, they will need every bit of help they can get.
Well, well, well. It’s no shock that the biggest positive in Miami is the starting pitching. But it sorely underappreciated just how good it has been.
Sandy Alcantara, the sure ace (based on tenure and consistency) of this rotation, put together two gems in his outings at home: a combined 13 innings pitched allowing only 3 runs. These performances were good enough to net him 0 wins. The Marlins did win his first outing after Anthony Bass allowed the tying run to score in the 8th, but failed to win on Mother’s Day after Anthony Bass allowed the game winning run to score in the 10th.
Pablo Lopez is not a flashy pitcher, and with gunslingers like Trevor Rogers and Sandy Alcantara behind him, his impact has been sorely unappreciated. He now has a 2.04 ERA this season, with 0 wins to show for it. He has been silently evolving into an elite starting pitcher, and a present and future consistency on the Marlins. His outing against the Diamondbacks showed that yet again, as he went 5 innings on no earned runs.
And finally, the NL Rookie of the Month in April Trevor Rogers continued his winning ways, going 5 innings of one run ball to lower his ERA to 1.89 on the season. He continues to show that his start to the season is no fluke, and that he will only continue to develop with time.
The only thing more consistent than these guys are the Marlins lack of run support for each pitcher. Rogers leads the team in wins with 4, but with Pablo and Sandy having ERA’s below 3 and only 1 total win to show for it, there is a problem in Miami.
Early on in the homestand, the Marlins put together timely hits in key situations. After losing the lead in game 1 in Arizona, the bats put together a 6-run 8th to win. In game 2, they scored consistently. In game 3, they had timely hits in the 7th to complete the sweep. Playoff teams win those types of games, but against Milwaukee it was a different story.
Most notably in their final game, they failed to produce any runs outside of a Lewis Brinson solo homer in the 7th off J.P. Feyereisen. They missed key opportunities that could have sparked a much needed win.
On the bright side, the bats are putting together more clutch hits than they previously were. They are not hitting juggernauts, but have shown that there is a possibility for them to pull out close games with 2 out hits and early pressure.
Look, this Marlins team is special on certain nights. They have energy and youth on their side, but those two attributes also bring immaturity at the plate. Even with a terrible run differential last season, the Fish made the playoffs on their ability to win close games. The Marlins won games when they were leading, and with the bullpen struggles of Anthony Bass and others late into the game, that has not been the case this season. With 10 extremely challenging games ahead, and a Jazz Chisholm Jr return impending, the Marlins need to win some close games to get back on track the rest of the way.
This team has the capability to do so, but only time will tell if they can figure it out.