The Marlins started an important series of baseball versus the Washington Nationals yesterday. They ended up splitting the doubleheader, losing game 1 5-0 and winning game 2 14-3. The classic set of opposite results. In a wild day, in game 1 Sixto Sanchez faltered for the first time in a Marlins uniform but was picked up by Brian Anderson’s 3-homer 7-RBI game 2.
What’s the difference between scoring 0 and 14?
Mentality. In-game 2, the Marlins played like they were on the verge of their first playoff berth in 17 years. In-game 1, they didn’t. Under no circumstances should a career 5.15 ERA pitcher in Erick Fedde be shutting down the Marlins. If I would have taken off my glasses, I would have thought the man was Max Scherzer. The Marlins got 2-hit in game 1, so there is not much to talk about statistically. Game 2, however, was quite a different story. 14 runs on 12 hits? That’s what we are talking about. Brian Anderson made 3 home runs look easy, and Lewis Brinson went 3-4, upping his average to .266, showing his continued growth this season. Consistency at the plate is key to this team’s final 10 games.
What happened to Sixto?
Ok, so our ace having a lackluster start like this one is frightening especially when he is set to take the mound twice more, and hopefully a third time in the playoffs. What I visibly saw was that he was too reliant on his stuff. His pitches weren’t breaking as much, and since he had great success allowing teams to put the ball in play, he continued throwing strikes. He became predictable. He needs to go back to being predictably wild. I’m sure Mel Stottlemyre will be on top of it.
The Marlins are only 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place Cincinnati Reds and .5 games ahead of the Phillies for 2nd in the NL East. These 10 games will be one of the most important 10-game stretches in Marlins’ history. Pablo Lopez (4-4, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow versus Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.10 ERA).