The New York Mets (64-37) came to town to face the Miami Marlins (47-55) in what felt like a one-sided series.
Not only did the Marlins get swept in the three-game weekend series, but to make things worse, LoanDepot Park was flooded with Mets fans. It felt like the Mets were the home team and with nothing much for Marlins fans to cheer about through each game, there was nothing they could do to drown out the “Let’s go Mets!” chants that echoed throughout the ballpark.
I don’t blame Marlins fans for not showing up to the stadium though. Why would they spend the extra money to watch a losing product on the field? Until some major changes start to happen and the Marlins win consistently, the fans won’t show up and support.
It was a disappointing weekend for the Miami Marlins.
Here are five takeaways from the series.
Trouble For Sandy
Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara pitched Game 1 of the series and he didn’t look like his usual self.
The Marlins actually gave Alcantara run support, something that hardly occurs, and produced three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
But that 3-0 lead didn’t hold for long, as the Mets answered right back in the second inning and scored three runs of their own. The Marlins did score another run of their own in the second inning to regain the lead, but a home run by former Marlin Starling Marte in the fourth inning tied the game at four. Alcantara would eventually pitch the fifth inning but shortly after, his night was done.
Alcantara finished the game pitching five innings and allowed eight hits, four earned runs, and three walks. He also posted five strikeouts.
The Marlins’ ace had his worst outing of the year and the only thing that I can think of that explains why is that he had faced the Mets four times already this year. Because New York’s offense had already seen him a number of times, his stuff isn’t as deceiving as it normally would be against any other club.
It seems as if when Alcantara is on his game, the Marlins fail to produce runs. But when Miami does score runs, Alcantara has an off night.
Mets Offense Too Much To Handle
The Mets lineup is good. Like really, really good.
It felt like Miami had no idea how to get New York’s hitters out. And if they did get someone out, the next guy in the order did damage.
Marte was a double shy of hitting for the cycle against Alcantara in Game 1. That’s when Miami could guess that they were in for a rude awakening.
Over the three games, Mets hitters had an absurd average of .339 (39-for-115). They also averaged 6.3 runs per game and had 18 extra-base hits. If you’re the Marlins and you know that you’re on the brink of a possible wild-card spot, that cannot happen.
“Every guy seems to fight you,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about the difficulties facing the Mets. “There’s no really easy outs up and down that lineup. It’s a battle to get through there.”
If the Mets can hit like this now, imagine how they will be after the trade deadline. There were some rumblings about a possibility of acquiring catcher Willson Contreras from the Chicago Cubs. Plus Jacob deGrom is making his 2022 debut this week, so there’s no doubt this team will be scary.
Leblanc Excels In Debut Series
Marlins third baseman Charles Leblanc made his MLB debut on Saturday and he made his name known on both sides of the ball.
In the seventh inning of Game 2, Leblanc made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball hit in his direction and he threw to first base just in time to get the runner out.
During the two games he played in, Leblanc went 3-for-7 (.428 BA) and hit a couple of doubles. He was the only player in Marlins history to record a double in each of his first two MLB games.
On top of that, Leblanc hit his first career home run in the bottom of the sixth inning during Game 3.
“It was a blacked out moment, I don’t remember much,” Leblanc said about what he felt during his first home run. “I saw something over the plate and that was it.”
In Triple-A Jacksonville, Leblanc had a .302 batting average and an OPS of .884. He also had 14 home runs and 45 RBIs.
Marlins fans have been begging for the organization to call Leblanc up to the Majors and you can see why.
Why Did Miami Start Pablo?
All week, right-hander Pablo Lopez’s name has been swirling around the league as the trade deadline draws closer.
Many people assumed that because of Miami’s current situation, Lopez would be on the move as soon as the front office received a deal they liked.
“A deal that really helps us has to present itself,” Marlins General Manager Kim Ng said about Lopez’s trade situation. “We’re not out there looking to move Pablo (Lopez)…but we’re listening on all fronts.”
Because Miami had yet to make a move with Lopez, he started Sunday’s game against the Mets and looking back on it now, I’m sure the front office surely regrets throwing him out there.
Lopez had without a doubt his worst start of the season. By the top of the third inning, all nine Mets batters had a hit. Lopez finished his brief afternoon with 2.2 innings pitched, allowing six earned runs and a career-high 12 hits.
Lopez’s trade value has in all likelihood plummeted and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marlins just hold on to him and not trade him at all. If the front office didn’t like the returns they heard for Lopez earlier in the week, they for sure won’t like them after his performance on Sunday.
What Exactly is the Front Office’s Approach?
What is Ng and the Marlins organization currently thinking?
Surely they would be sellers, right? Apparently, that’s not so easy to tell because we haven’t gotten a clear-cut answer as of now.
Starting Lopez just a couple days prior to the trade deadline looked suspicious. Why risk having a player like Lopez’s value go down when they can trade him while his value’s high after a spectacular outing against the Reds earlier in the week? Maybe Lopez has been a player that Miami has been planning to keep all along amidst the trade rumors. But why keep him when his contract is set to expire by the end of the season?
“I think the objective is always to try and better yourself,” Ng told the media about the team’s objective heading into the trade deadline. “I think where we are in the standings…I’m not sure whether we’re going to be a clear buyer or a clear seller. I think it’s a little bit more complex than that.”
It’s obvious that Ng doesn’t want to reveal the team’s exact plans to the public, but given that they are eight games under .500 and have around a 1.5% chance to make the playoffs, it would be surprising if they buy at the deadline. We’ll see what the Marlins do in the next couple of days.
The Marlins will try and bounce back from this brutal series as they face the Cincinnati Reds (40-61) for a three-game series from Monday through Wednesday.
Photo by Tony Capobianco