After taking 3 of 4 from the Atlanta Braves early last week, the Marlins came home and took 2 of 3 from the San Francisco Giants. This caps a week of positives for the Fish, as they look forward to a much easier schedule in the coming weeks. After a slow and demoralizing start, the pieces are starting to come together in Miami.
Here are 5 takeaways from a successful Marlins run:
Marlins Win When They Score
I know, isn’t that the basics of baseball? You score and you win, simple. For the Marlins, it hasn’t been so easy. With a consistent lack of production from the bats earlier in the season, the Fish put together a strong set of games offensively. The Marlins are now 5-1 in games where they score 5 or more runs and a whopping 2-7 in games where they don’t. Regardless of who is on the mound, the bats are determinant of when and how the Marlins win.
Especially with the talent the Marlins have in pitching, it makes it more strange that this season will come down to how well the bats can perform consistently. Nevertheless, the Marlins found a way to win low scoring games last season, and they need to start doing so this year to keep the pressure off of an inconsistent lineup.
Jorge Alfaro is a fine option
Out of 54 qualified catchers in the early 2021 season, Jorge Alfaro ranks 16th in framing. Obviously, he is no Russell Martin behind the plate, but he is actually performing well-above expectations defensively. The passed balls he has allowed have skewed the narrative on his performance. Now, with his bat finally waking up, he may be the best option the Marlins have at the catcher’s position. He is not a juggernaut offensively or defensively, but all he needs to be is average.
Trade rumors have circulated for months about Wilson Contreras replacing Alfaro/Wallach in Miami. Contreras, although a superior hitter, is 41st among qualified catchers in framing. At this point in the year, the Marlins should focus on putting their young pitchers in the best situation possible. A good defensive catcher gives them even more leeway to develop further.
Adam Duvall can carry an offense
It is no secret that the former Brave can swing the bat. He terrorized his old team in Atlanta, especially in Tuesday’s game where he went 4-5 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. He is still trying to figure out how to hit elsewhere, but once he does, he can carry this Miami offense on nights where the rest of the lineup is faltering. His bat alone almost won that game in Atlanta on a night where the Braves scored 8 runs, as he accounted for half of the runs in a 14-8 win. Duvall getting his bat consistent is a central key to this Marlins team’s future.
Starling Marte is… clutch
Marte is central to every operation on this Miami Marlins team. He is invaluable offensively and defensively, and he is the guy who picks up the important hits in key situations. In Friday’s win versus the Giants, his 3-run homer in the 8th sealed the deal. On Saturday, his 2-out RBI single in the 9th tied the game, leading to an eventual win. In Sunday’s 1-0 loss, Marte elft the game with an apparent injury in the bottom of the 9th. In Don Mattingly’s post-game interview, he expressed the “Next man up” mentality that the Marlins have.
There may not be a next man up to replace anything near what Marte provides. Hopefully, for the Marlins sake, it isn’t that serious.
Marlins compete versus good teams
It is no easy feat to start a season versus the defending AL Champs, the presumptive NL Central winners in St. Louis, a revamped first place Mets team, and a Braves team that was one game away from the World Series. The Marlins left those games just 2-games under .500, and now sit one game under heading into a much easier schedule. They play the Orioles, Giants (again), Milwaukee, Arizona, and Washington.
This set of games may be the most important of the season for the Marlins as they try to take advantage and gain ground in the standings. They don’t play the Mets until late-May and the Braves until early June, so this is the time for the Marlins to show what they are capable of.
Marlins Overall Takeaway
There is something special brewing in Miami (and not just Marlins Lager from Biscayne Bay Brewing). This team feels different from even last year’s squad. Baseball is fun to watch again in Miami, and this Marlins team still has a lot to prove. Enjoy a fun week of Marlins baseball ahead, Marlins fans.