The Miami Marlins have really struggled against the New York Mets this season.
Miami is 2-5 so far against the Mets this season and they are still trying to figure out how to beat them.
With the sweep against the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week, the Marlins thought that they would have enough momentum to beat the first place Mets on their home turf. But, the Mets are in first place for a reason. Their lineup from top to bottom is as good as anyone in baseball and their pitching staff has really proved that they don’t need Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer to win games.
Don’t get me wrong, the Mets are a really good team. But, the Marlins had many opportunities to give themselves wins in Games 1 and 2. Missed spots from pitchers and too many strikeouts from the offense combined with a little bit of bad luck gave the Mets the series victory.
Here are the takeaways from the series.
Sandy Alcantara’s rare tough outing
Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara got the start in Game 1 of the series and immediately from the jump, found himself in some trouble.
With two outs in the top of the first inning, Alcantara gave up a solo home run to Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. It’s not too often that you see Alcantara give up a run so early in the game, but it goes to show that no one’s perfect in professional baseball.
Alcantara would start to settle for the next few innings until Mets left fielder Mark Canha hit a home run to left field that gave New York a 2-1 lead.
In the sixth inning, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Mets right fielder Starling Marte hit a ground ball towards second baseman Willians Astudillo that should’ve been a routine double play. Instead, because Astudillo picked the ball up with his bare hand, when he tagged the runner, the umpire ruled him safe because Astudillo tagged him with his empty glove. Not only that, Astudillo’s throw to the first baseman was late. So at the end of it all, the Marlins found themselves with the bases loaded and nobody out. And to make matters worse, Lindor was up at the plate.
Alcantara found himself in a 3-1 count against Lindor and threw a fastball right down the middle. As a result, Lindor hit a double that cleared the bases and gave the Mets a 5-2 lead.
“I think he’s (Lindor) hot right now”, Alcantara said about his struggles against Lindor. “I lost my fight tonight and I’ve gotta get better for myself in the next one.”
Alcantara would end the day with seven innings pitched, four strikeouts, six hits, and four earned runs.
Don’t worry Marlins fans. Alcantara is still an excellent pitcher. This outing was just a case of some bad luck. What’s even more wild is that after this start, Alcantara’s ERA is at 1.95 which is first in the National League and second in all of baseball.
Hitters have figured out Trevor Rogers
I’m afraid that we may never see the Trevor Rogers of last year. I know it sounds like I’m overreacting, but given the numbers from his starts this year, it seems like the opposing teams have figured out how to beat him.
Rogers got the start for Game 2, and after he struck out three consecutive hitters in the first inning, there was a glimmer of hope that this would be a great outing for him.
I was wrong.
In the second inning, Rogers missed his spot and threw a fastball down the heart of the plate to first baseman Pete Alonso that Alonso hit over the right field wall.
In the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar hit an RBI-single to give them a 3-0 lead.
That would end the day for Rogers who had 4.1 innings pitched and gave up seven hits and three earned runs while getting five strikeouts.
“I made a bad pitch to Alonso so you just tip your cap”, Rogers said after the game. “I made a couple mistakes to Marte and tip your cap there as well, he’s a good hitter. Just little things not going my way.”
So what’s the problem with Rogers? I think that he’s having trouble with his command which is leading to pitches that the hitters can easily hit and has decreased his strikeout percentage. His pitch count is also hurting him and isn’t allowing him to work deep into games.
Rogers’ strikeouts per nine innings this year is 8.29, almost two and a half less than what he had last year which was 10.62. His walks are also up from last year which is also another factor to look at when you’re trying to figure out the struggles that Rogers has dealt with.
Anthony Bass continues to be stellar out of the bullpen
Right-handed reliever Anthony Bass has been the best pitcher coming out of the Marlins bullpen this year. After an up-and-down season in 2021 where he logged a 3.82 ERA with zero saves in four opportunities, Bass has really shown another side to him this year.
Bass’s ERA has gone down to 1.80 and the opponents are batting just .214 against him compared to .241 last year.
Bass was utilized more as a closer last season, especially during the start of that year. It looked like he wasn’t very comfortable in that role and this season, Mattingly noticed that putting Bass in the seventh or eighth inning makes him more effective. A lot of the reason why Bass is having a much better year is because he doesn’t have to deal with the same amount of pressure a closer would have.
In his outing in Game 2, Bass allowed just one hit and got a strikeout in a crucial situation to keep the game tied at three a piece in the seventh inning.
Pete Alonso’s two-homer day
Alonso was very effective for the Mets offense, but in Game 2 was when he really propelled them to a win.
The University of Florida alum went 2-for-4 with both of those hits being home runs. Luckily for the Marlins, they were both solo shots. But it still wasn’t enough to contain the scorching Mets lineup.
His first homerun was against Rogers in the second inning and his other was against right-handed reliever Jimmy Yacabonis in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.
“Thankfully I kind of took a lesson from last night’s at bat (against Yacabonis) and I applied it today”, Alonso said about how he hit his second home run. “I saw the ball a little bit better and I saw the window of where the ball’s coming out of.”
The Marlins did a pretty good job of shutting down Alonso over the series, but his two homeruns in Game 2 was too much for Miami to overcome and win the series.
Nick Fortes walks it off
After starts in both Games 1 and 2, catcher Jacob Stallings was given a rest day in the series finale which gave way for backup catcher Nick Fortes to get a spot in the lineup.
Fortes has been solid at both catching behind the plate and hitting.
Over 13 games this season, Fortes has batted .289 with three home runs and seven RBIs. He’s actually been one of the more productive Marlins hitters this season and it showed in Game 3 of this series.
It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. The score is tied 2-2 with two outs and Fortes is up to bat. The Mets have their right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino on the mound to try and push the game towards extra innings.
Ottavino throws Fortes a slider that Fortes swings at and misses badly. The next pitch, Ottavino throws another slider and Fortes jumps all over it, sending the ball towards the seats in left field to give the Marlins the win and avoid the sweep.
Of course, Fortes hits a walk-off home run on the day that his alma mater, Ole Miss, is a win away from winning the College World Series.
The Marlins head into St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals from Monday to Wednesday.