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Marlins loss

Marlins Suffer Frustrating Loss to Phillies, 7-1

The Miami Marlins came crashing down to earth after the high of Opening Day. Less than 24 hours after posting five runs on nine hits, including a homer and two doubles, Miami’s bats quieted against Zack Wheeler. The Marlins loss dropped them to 1-1 on the season.

Caleb Smith made his season debut but struggled to consistently find the strike zone. Smith labored through three innings. He surrendered six walks and a towering home run to Didi Gregorius. Of his 70 pitches, only 36 went for strikes.

Smith battled with baserunners all afternoon. He managed to minimize the damage with timely strikeouts, but his pitch total pushed him from the game after three.

“Obviously, not a lot was working,” Smith said via Zoom after the game. “Six walks in three innings is not acceptable. A horse-shit outing. I take full responsibility for that loss.”

Smith’s six walks matched a career high, but none of the batters he issued free passes to crossed the plate to score.

“He made some good pitches when he had to,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The walks hurt us. Put us on our heels all day long.”

All told, Marlins pitchers issued nine free passes to Phillies hitters.

“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Mattingly acknowledged. “You walk nine guys in this ballpark, and it could’ve been a lot worse. All the walks put us in a bad spot all day long.”

The opposite was true for his opponent. Wheeler commanded the strike zone throughout, registering four strikeouts and inducing four inning-ending double plays.

“He was pretty dominant all day,” Mattingly said of Wheeler.

Every time the Marlins seemed to be a on the verge of making an offensive push, Wheeler worked free. His four-seam fastball averaged 96.8 mph and he induced inning-ending double-plays in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings.

Marlins hitters struck out seven times in total, managed only one extra base hit and went 1-for-5 with runner-in-scoring-position.

Three Marlins Make Debut in Loss

Despite the Marlins loss, one bright spot this afternoon was the different debuts. Nick Neidert and Alex Vesia made their MLB debuts, and Stephen Tarpley made his first appearance with Miami. Of the three, Neidert proved to be the most successful.

The 23-year-old righty stands as the Marlins No. 10 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline. He entered in the fourth and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings from there. He gave up a hit and walk but kept the Marlins in the game.

Afterwards, Neidert called the debut “a dream come true. I’ve dreamed of this day since I was five years old. It was an amazing feeling. We didn’t get the win, and there’s always tomorrow, but it was a dream come true.”

Veisa followed Neidert in the sixth. He started his MLB career with a strikeout of Didi Gregorius, but subsequently walked Scott Kingery and surrendered a two-run homer to Phil Gosselin.

Ryne Stanek made his season debut and served up a three-run homer to J.T. Realmuto. In the eighth, Gosselin added a solo shot off Tarpley, who the Marlins acquired in December from the New York Yankees.

Miguel Rojas and Brian Anderson both contributed at the plate during the Marlins loss. Rojas went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Anderson went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.

The Marlins will look to bounce back from this loss on Sunday afternoon. Jose Urena starts for Miami versus Vince Velasquez of the Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.

Marlins win

Alcantara Dominates, Leads to Marlins Win on Opening Day

The Miami Marlins hadn’t won on Opening Day since 2014. The last time they did, Jose Fernandez took the mound for Miami and struck out nine Rockies en route to a 10-1 win. For the 2020 season, Sandy Alcantara toed the rubber, becoming the youngest Opening Day starter for Miami since Fernandez. His seven strikeouts were also the most since Fernandez’s nine in 2014. Alcantara’s performance helped spur the Marlins win.

Alcantara entered the game with a 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA versus the Phillies, including a 2-0 mark with a 1.32 ERA at Citizens Bank Park. He’s a breakout candidate for the Marlins this season and his performance on Friday showed why.

Over 6.2 innings pitched, Alcantara posted seven strikeouts, surrendering just three hits, two walks and one earned run. He induced seven ground-ball outs including one double play. He relied mostly on a fastball-changeup-slider combination and kept hitters off balance all night.

Alcantara particularly flummoxed the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup. He dominated Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, keeping them 0-for-8 with four strikeouts and just one walk.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly pulled Alcantara from the game in the seventh after 87 total pitches.

“I was ready [to finish it],” Alcantara said after the Marlins win. “I see [Mattingly come to the mound] and I’m thinking ‘Oh my God. I’m done, but I don’t want to give him the ball. I want to be on the mound.’ But I respect his decision.”

“His stuff is overpowering, when he stays aggressive and attacks the strike zone,” Mattingly said. “Then we were able to get him some runs, which takes the pressure off and gives us some breathing room.”

New Additions Contributed to Marlins Wins as well

The breathing room for Alcantara came thanks to the Marlins offseason additions. Jonathan Villar‘s sac-fly in the third inning drove in the first run of the year for Miami. Then Jesus Aguilar broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning when he deposited an 0-2 breaking ball from Aaron Nola 409 feet away in left-center.

Corey Dickerson helped chase Nola from the game when he lined a double to right field three pitches later. Dickerson finished the game 2-for-4, scoring a run on a wild pitch in the sixth.

Francisco Cervelli, subbing in for Jorge Alfaro who landed on the 10-day IL prior to the game, played well, too. He registered the first hit and scored the first run of the year. Cervelli finished 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored. He called an excellent game for Alcantara.

The addition of the DH to the National League also paid dividends for the Marlins. In what would have been the pitcher’s spot, Miguel Rojas went 2-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and run scored. Garrett Cooper manned the DH spot went 1-for-4 with a two-out RBI double in the sixth inning.

“It’s good to get on the board,” Mattingly said of the Marlins win. “Feels like a big win, to be honest with you.”

The Marlins are back at it this afternoon at 4:05 PM. Caleb Smith starts for Miami versus Zack Wheeler. Smith was 10-11 with a 4.52 ERA and 168 K in 2019. He surrendered 33 HRs, which is something he’ll need to improve upon in 2020. In four career starts versus the Phillies, Smith is 1-2 4.50 ERA with 19 K over 18 innings pitched.

Marlins breakout candidates

5 Marlins Breakout Candidates for 2020

For the Miami Marlins, the 2020 season arrives with new faces and renewed hope. While not the normal spring beginning by any means, this optimism feels real and is largely tied to a number of potential Marlins breakout candidates.

The 2020 MLB season arrived last night in rainy Washington, D.C. For the Marlins, they’re a few hours north in Philadelphia awaiting their first tilt of the truncated season. The landscape of MLB transformed this year thanks to COVID-19, new rules and an eleventh-hour agreement to expand the playoffs. Everyone has a chance, and for Miami, their opportunity to break a 17-year postseason drought could be decided by a handful of players.

So here’s a look at five Marlins breakout candidates for the 2020 season.

Marlins Breakout Candidates: Sandy Alcantara

Miami’s Opening Day starter is 24-year-old Sandy Alcantara. A first-time all-star in 2019, Alcantara finished 6-14 with a 3.88 ERA, 151 strikeouts, 81 walks and two complete-game shutouts. His best work came over an 11-game stretch to end the season. Over his final 74.1 innings, Alcantara posted a 2.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 62 strikeouts. He hit seven innings in seven of his last 11 starts.

“I think that’s the biggest thing in my life, being the Opening Day starter. I feel great about that,” Alcantara said. “I’m ready to go.”

In 2019, Alcantara went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA versus Philadelphia. He sports a five-pitch arsenal which includes a solid fastball-sinker-slider combo. His changeup and curve are weapons versus lefties.

“His stuff is as good as anyone,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said recently. “I don’t care who you want to put out there. His stuff is as good as anyone’s.”

For the Marlins, if Alcantara can ascend to top-line starter level, the 2020 season will be a success.

“I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” Alcantara said. “They want me to be a leader. That’s what I’m trying to do. Keep preparing myself. Keep getting better. Become an ace.”

Marlins Breakout Candidates: Pablo Lopez

If the Marlins are going to contend for a playoff spot, they’ll need Pablo Lopez to make a leap. In 2019, Lopez sported a 4.23 ERA through mid-June, allowing four earned-runs or less in 13 of his 14 starts. But after he went down with strained right shoulder, he wasn’t the same pitcher.

Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. has been impressed by Lopez throughout the spring and summer, particularly considering the tragic passing of Lopez’s father recently. He said Lopez is the pitcher he’s “most excited about.” And Lopez has worked tirelessly to develop his game, adding a cutter to his arsenal, which already includes a top-level changeup.

Following an impressive performance during a simulated game last Thursday, Mattingly noted that it was “the best I’ve ever seen Pablo look as far as being that aggressive guy.”

Lopez also looked good against the Braves. He dispatched Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman on six pitches in the first inning of that game. Lopez will start the home opener versus the Baltimore Orioles next week.

Starting him in Marlins Park is a nod to Lopez’s struggles on the road in 2019, where he went 2-5 with a 7.36 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. At home, Lopez was much better, going 3-3 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

Marlins Breakout Candidates: Isan Díaz

The hype surrounding Isan Díaz seemed well worth it when he took Jacob DeGrom deep in his MLB debut. That memorable moment, though, was followed by uncharacteristic struggles at the plate for the 24-year-old. Díaz finished his first year in the Majors with a .173 batting average, five home runs and 23 RBI.

“There were a lot of things going on mentally,” Díaz said of the struggles. “I wasn’t allowing my ability to evolve in the game. Those are things that happen.

“I had a great group of guys here who told me to take it as a learning curve and come back ready for next year,” he said. “Here we are for this 2020 season and already there’s a big difference with how I’m mentally feeling and how I’m going at this. I think that last year’s failure actually is going to help me for this year.”

Mattingly sees Díaz as the team’s second baseman now and of the future. He said Díaz’s “track record show that he’s gonna hit.”

Díaz should find the addition of new bench coach/offensive coordinator James Rowson hugely beneficial. Díaz has raw power but was too patient as a rookie, falling behind often. He’s already demonstrated strides at the plate in the exhibitions versus Atlanta. Although he only had one hit and one walk, there were productive at-bats.

Marlins Breakout Candidates: Jorge Alfaro

The player who could enjoy the most gains from the addition of Rowson is Jorge Alfaro. The 27-year-old catcher flashed his potential with the bat in 2019, connecting on 18 home runs, 14 doubles and 57 RBI. What hurt Alfaro was a 38.4-percent swing-and-miss rate, a 48-percent chase rate and a 33.1-percent strikeout rate.

Rowson says he wants Marlins hitters to take “swings to do damage,” and Alfaro can certainly do that. He sported a 44.8 percent hard-hit rate (a ball with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph) last season.

Alfaro demonstrated the new aggressive approach on Tuesday when he punched the first pitch he saw over the leftfield fence at Truist Park. In the two games, Alfaro went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI.

He’ll also need to improve defensively. Alfaro posted the fourth-most errors by a catcher (11) and the third-most passed balls (11). He’ll be mentored this year by Francisco Cervelli, who’s well known for his defensive acumen.

Marlins Breakout Candidates: Brian Anderson

Although the Marlins added higher profile names to their lineup (Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickersonand Jonathan Villar), Brian Anderson remains a key component to this offense. Anderson’s second year ended in August after a hit-by-pitch fractured his left hand. He slashed .261/.341/.468 with 20 home runs, 33 doubles and 66 RBI.

“I think he’s been getting better and better,” Mattingly said. “I think he’s got all the attributes. I’ve talked about him a lot from the standpoint of he sees the ball good and controls the strike zone. He’s got a good swing. He uses the whole field. Everything’s there in place.”

Anderson does have the tendency to get frustrated at the plate, evidenced by his 0-for-4 performance in the first exhibition versus the Braves. But Anderson bounced back with a solid 2-for-3 outing, including a double and run scored.

Adding Villar, Dickerson and Aguilar around Anderson should also provide the 27-year-old third baseman with lineup protection he’s never received in Miami.

“Those types of guys are definitely gonna make our lineup just more well-rounded and just tougher to pitch to,” Anderson said. “For me, I’m hoping that means I get more pitches to hit. It’s my job to make sure that I get those good pitches and I hit them.”

Recent reports indicate that Miami and Anderson have discussed a long-term contract extension.

“They’ve obviously given me an incredible opportunity here so I would love to stay here,” said Anderson, who the Marlins drafted in 2014 (third round).

“I love the direction that we’re going. I love getting to hear Derek talk about expecting to win,” he said. “That’s something that can grow and build and we can start making something special here.”

How to Watch, Bet the 60-Game Baseball Season

Since its inception in 1903, the Major League Baseball is the home to some of the best baseball players in the world. The last few seasons have been extremely interesting and the new season has some changes which are worth looking at since they might be confusing to some fans.

We are going to discuss this topic into detail and give you an insight into the shortened 60-game season, the biggest favorites, and share some interesting intel on betting. As you may know, many baseball fans are more than happy to place a bet or two and we are going to provide you with the best platform for betting. After all, sports and betting are separate industries that always went side by side.

Betting With Online Bookies

There are plenty of baseball betting lines that you should check out. The odds are great and you might end up with a nice prize. Even though some people prefer to place their bets in land-based bookies, a new and revolutionizing way has become popular in the last few years.

Online bookies are favored by millions of people around the world. The reason for that is that they have numerous advantages over the land-based bookies. They are available at any time and place, offer better odds and rewards, and most importantly – they are far more efficient.

We all know that in sports, placing bets fast, especially with live betting, is important. And since baseball is one of the sports where each second matters, placing bets at online bookies is a far greater option than walking to a land-based sportsbook. But, there are some rules that you need to know about sports betting, so make sure you check them out.

Now, let’s see what the shortened MLB season has to offer us.

When Does it Start and How Will it Work?

The MLB season starts on July 23 with a split Opening Day. The Yankees will face the Nationals, while the Dodgers will face the Dodgers. The rest of the schedule is still unknown, but there are some games scheduled on July 24.

Each team will play 60 games – 40 of them will be against their division rivals and 20 interleague games. The 2020 MLB All-Star Game is sadly cancelled, but the next game will take place at Truist Park in Atlanta (2021). 

Rosters will be different and some rule changes will be implemented. The new rule which allows position players to pitch in certain situations is abandoned. Games that are stopped due to rain before the fifth inning will be considered as suspended. The National League will have a designated hitter and extra innings will begin with a runner on the second base to reduce the chances of long games.

Even though the whole situation is new and it looks challenging, some quirks will come out. Teams won’t have to travel as much as before, the season ends with seven Interleague series, and some of the monotony will be lifted. Some of the games that were standard for over a century in the League will not take place. 

Many teams will have some benefits with the way this season is scheduled, which is why we are excited to see what the outcome will be.

 

The Biggest Favorites

Minnesota Twins are the biggest favorites to win the American League Central. The Yankees are the number 1 team in the American League East, while Houston Astros are considered as favorites in the American League West. 

As far as the World Series, The New York Yankees top the list of biggest favorites to win it. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros are ranked second and third. Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins conclude the top 5 list. But, there are some teams that are worth watching. One of those are the Miami Marlins.

Why Did The Deal Came So Late?

The reason why the solution for a shortened season came so late is that the MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association were unable to make an agreement in May and July. The MLB owners drafted the first plan in mid-May and it featured a schedule of 82 games with no fans in the attendance.

MLBPA countered with another proposal, which was unacceptable for the MLB and the negotiations went on and on. During the end of June, the 60-game plan was finally voted unanimously and players reported to training camps on July 1. The plan was released on July 6 and slight changes were implemented in order to cut costs on the teams.

All in all, we are in for a treat. Although the start of the season might be a bit slow and teams will need a bit time to adjust to the changes in the rules, we do not doubt that the level of excitement will be no less than the previous seasons. 

Marlins split

Marlins Split Exhibition Series, Beat Braves 6-2

The Miami Marlins bounced back after a disappointing loss on Tuesday night with a 6-2 win on Wednesday afternoon. The Marlins split the two-game exhibition series and, other than one bad inning, looked pretty good doing it.

The task for the team now is to trim the 41-players who traveled to Atlanta down to 30. Miami has until Thursday afternoon to pare down the roster ahead of Friday’s Opening Day tilt in Philadelphia.

What stands out the most from these two games is the improvement at the plate. In 2019, the Marlins were last in home runs and second-to-last in runs scored. Versus the Braves, Miami registered 15 runs and pounded out five homers in two games.

“We have a group that is talented,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said on a Zoom conference call Wednesday morning prior to the game.

“We’ve added some guys that are professional hitters,” Jeter said. “They add a little depth to our lineup. It’s no secret and it goes without saying that we struggled to score runs last year. You hope that these guys are going to help us score a little more.”

On Tuesday, those additions provided a huge lift. Jonathan Villar went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a home run, an RBI and a stolen base. Jesus Aguilar chipped in with a pair of hits and an RBI and Corey Dickerson plated two on a single.

On Wednesday, Dickerson continued to impress. He reached base on all three plate appearances, including drawing a walk on an 11 pitch at-bat where he started down 0-2. He scored twice in the game.

The real star on Wednesday, though, was Harold Ramirez. The 25-year-old right fielder demonstrated the changes he made in the batter’s box by going 2-for-3 with a home run and a double and three RBI. His adjustments at the plate and his improved conditioning and defense have earned him a regular spot in the lineup.

Pablo Lopez started the game for the Marlins and impressed. Lopez pitched three innings and struck out three, only allowing one hit (a home run to Austin Riley). This performance lines up Lopez to make the start for the Marlins in their home opener versus the Baltimore Orioles next week.

Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyer Jr. has been impressed by Lopez throughout the spring and summer, particularly considering the passing of Lopez’s father recently. His solid outing versus the Braves followed an impressive performance during a simulated game last Thursday.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly noted after that performance that it was “the best I’ve ever seen Pablo look as far as being that aggressive guy.”

After Lopez, Elieser Hernandez entered and had a similarly solid stretch. The presumptive fifth starter tossed three innings, walking one and giving up one earned run (another Riley homer).

Prospects followed Hernandez after that. Jordan Holloway pitched the seventh and gave up two hits but induced an inning-ending double-play. Stephen Tarpley and Sterling Sharp combined to pitch an uneventful eighth (other than a Garrett Cooper error). Ryne Stanek impressed with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

Despite the offensive outbursts, the Marlins split the exhibition series. In this one, Monte Harrison responded after a bad strikeout to double in the top of the ninth. Cooper drove him home with a single. Utilityman Eddy Alvarez padded Miami’s run total with an RBI single of his own later in the ninth.

Harrison will start the season in Jupiter but he could be with the Marlins before long.

The Marlins will need to pare down the roster to 30 men as they prepare to leave for Philadelphia. Miami opens the 2020 season versus the Phillies on Friday, when Sandy Alcantara faces off against Aaron Nola.

Marlins exhibition

5 Takeaways from Marlins Exhibition Disaster

The first Miami Marlins exhibition game sported mostly excitement and positivity but ended in disappointment. As Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the game, “Disaster, right?”

The lede for this one should’ve been the offensive explosion. However, a bullpen meltdown cost Miami the game, a chorus all too familiar to Marlins fans. Here are five takeaways from the Marlins exhibition disaster.

Walks Plagued the Bullpen During Marlins Exhibition

In 2019, the Marlins featured one of the worst bullpens in MLB. Miami relievers posted the fifth-worst ERA (4.97), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.11) and save percentage (55.1). Their WHIP (1.45) was seventh worst. Relievers blew 22 save opportunities and surrendered a .235 batting-average-against and .343 on-base percentage.

On Tuesday night, the bullpen issued five free passes to Braves batters. All five of those walks came around to score. Jeff Brigham, working his way back from a biceps injury this spring, walked Freddie Freeman then surrendered a run-scoring double to former Marlin Marcell Ozuna in the sixth inning.

In the eighth, the combination of Robert Dugger and Adam Conley melted down completely. The two combined to allow eight earned runs, five hits and four walks. All four free passes found the plate for Atlanta.

“Obviously, that’s something that has plagued us last year, the walks,” Mattingly said. “It’s something that we addressed all spring and we’ll continue to address. That’s not something we’ll put up with this year, not throwing strikes and giving free bases in those situations.”

Adam Conley’s on Thin Ice

In one-third inning of work, Conley jeopardized his spot in the Marlins bullpen. He walked Matt Adams, threw a wild pitch which allowed Freeman to score, walked Yonder Alonso, then gave up four runs on back-to-back doubles. He struck out William Contreras before surrendering the lead on Adam Duvall‘s single.

Once a promising young starter, Conley settled into a relief role in 2018. He performed well that season, holding opponents to a .207 batting average and inducing ground balls on 50 percent of the balls put in play. But in 2019, Conley regressed. He posted a career-worst 6.53 ERA and opponents hit .308 against him.

For 2020, the Marlins have other options. Conley’s on a one-year, $1.5-million contract. The team brought a pair of young lefties with them to Atlanta in Alex Vesia and Stephen Tarpley. Vesia profiles as a late-inning, high-leverage reliever. New closer Brandon Kintzler’s slider is also an effective weapon versus left-handed hitters.

Other Bullpen Arms Looked Good During the Marlins Exhibition

While it always hurts to cough up a seven-run lead, Marlins fans can take solace in the fact it was an exhibition game. Yimi Garcia and Kintzler, the presumptive late inning pitchers for Miami, had already thrown once the eighth rolled around. The two combined for one hit and three strikeouts over two innings.

All told, the Marlins bullpen registered eight strikeouts over 5.2 IP. Remove the eighth and they surrendered two earned runs.

Nick Neidert showed his stuff in an inning of work. The 23-year-old righty flashed his potential as piggyback option for the back of the rotation by surrendering just one hit and striking out Charlie Culberson. Neidert fell behind Culberson 2-0, then responded with a two-seam fastball, breaking ball, fastball progression to register the swinging strikeout.

Fellow rookie prospect Alex Vesia entered in the ninth and quickly posted a pair of strikeouts. Six of Vesia’s first eight pitches went for strikes. He did, however, surrender the walk-off home run to Matt Adams on a four-seamer left up in the zone.

Brad Boxberger cleaned up Conley’s mess in the eighth by striking out the only batter he faced.

Upgraded Offense

The Marlins sought to improve on its league-worst home run total in 2019 this offseason with the acquisitions of Jonathan Villar, Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar. The Marlins were 29th in runs scored as well.

On Tuesday night, the new additions to the lineup proved valuable. Villar, Dickerson and Aguilar combined to go 6-for-12 with four RBI, two runs scored, a homer and a stolen base.

Dickerson’s two-run RBI single in the fifth was particularly impressive. The lefty took a 1-2 offering from Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz and drove it into center, plating Miguel Rojas and Villar. Dickerson choked up and got his front foot down quickly to punch the pitch to center.

Villar’s 3-for-4 night demonstrated his value at the top of the order and Aguilar helped produce in the middle of the lineup.

New Offensive Philosophy On Display

Although he’ll never step into the batter’s box, the addition of new bench coach/offensive coordinator James Rowson payed dividends early in this one.

In 2019, Rowson helped guide Minnesota’s high-powered to a record 307 home runs. Minnesota also scored the second-most runs in baseball (939) and sported the fourth-lowest strikeout rate in the league (21 percent). His work, along with new hitting coach Eric Duncan, demonstrates a seed-change for the franchise.

In Spring Training, Rowson said: “We’re going out there with intent to do damage on every pitch.”

At no point was that more obvious than in the third inning. Three Marlins hitters, Jorge Alfaro, Rojas and Villar, hit three consecutive home runs on four total pitches seen.

“The back-to-back-to-backs get us rolling,” Mattingly said. “But then I thought we did a nice job of stringing some hits together, adding on and continuing to play.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Miami has achieved this feat once in a regular season game. On August 26, 1998 in St. Louis, Derek Lee, Cliff Floyd and Kevin Orie hit back-to-back-to-back home runs.

What’s more, in the second inning, Marlins batters fouled off seven two-strike pitches. Only one batter reached base that inning, but Foltynewicz ultimately threw 23 pitches in the frame. Making him work the inning prior helped prime the Marlins three-homer binge to start the third.

The Marlins registered 14 hits on Tuesday night, including four home runs. Outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez tied the game in the top of the ninth with his 416-foot blast to right. In the hands of Rowson and Duncan, Miami’s offense looks like it’s on the right track.

Marlins Players

5 Marlins Players to Know for 2020

The Miami Marlins have finished their summer camp training this week and are in Atlanta for a pair of exhibition games. The two contests versus the Braves will be the finial tune ups for the 60-game season sprint, which starts Friday. New Marlins players and roster holdovers alike are competing for spots on the roster.

The Marlins will travel with 41 players to Atlanta but will need to pare down to 30 for Opening Day. The unique nature of this season could see roster changes happening regularly. So even if a player doesn’t initially make the team, ala Jordan Yamamoto, they could play a role later in the season.

For Opening Day, the Marlins will be in Philadelphia. According to SportsBettingDime.com’s odds page, Miami enters the game as an underdog versus the Phillies. Sandy Alcantara will toe the rubber for the Marlins to start the year, but there’s still some uncertainty regarding the rest of the roster.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five under-the-radar Marlins players who could play a role in 2020.

Marlins Players to Know: Jordan Holloway

Jordan Holloway has been something of a surprise during summer camp. The 24-year-old right-hander comes in as the No. 20 prospect for the Marlins according to MLBPipeline. At 6-foot-6, Holloway stands as an imposing figure on the mound and has found success working at Marlins Park this summer.

“What he’s done in a couple of outings here has been pleasantly surprising and has put him kind of in the mix,” Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. “We have to stay open-minded. We’re going to be able to expand our roster, and there are going to be some guys that are given an opportunity that maybe in a regular season wouldn’t have been given that opportunity.”

Holloway boasts a fastball that touches triple-digits and sports an above-average curveball. Also, he’s fully healthy after a 2017 Tommy John surgery.

Stottlemyre said Holloway is “probably the nastiest guy we have in our bullpen.”

Holloway’s electric stuff and three-quarter delivery could make him a viable option in the bullpen, despite his starter pedigree. The major point of emphasis for him, though, will be command. Holloway walked 66 batters over 95 innings at Single-A Jupiter in 2019.

Marlins Player to Know: Alex Vesia

Another electric arm who could help in the ‘pen in 2020 is Alex Vesia. Listed as the No. 24 overall prospect for the Marlins by MLBPipeline, Vesia posted a 1.62 ERA with 138 strikeouts over 100 innings while advancing to Double-A over his last two seasons. He finished 2019 on a 35-inning scoreless streak and pitched six scoreless innings this spring. At 24-years-old, the lefty reliever has turned heads with his work this summer.

“Everywhere he went he had success,” Don Mattingly said of Vesia. Miami’s manager went on to say Vesia has “pitched with confidence” and “has some moxie about him,” noting “[h]e’s on the attack; he’s not afraid; he’s a strike thrower.”

Vesia’s fastball flies at 92-95 mph and touches 97. His deceptive delivery and high spin-rate gets on hitters quickly, helping those strikeout numbers.

The Marlins are limited with left-handed relievers and Vesia is the highest-rated lefty prospect in Miami’s system. If he can consistently throw strikes, the rookie could find himself pitching meaningful innings in 2020.

Marlins Player to Know: Nick Neidert

When the Marlins optioned Yamamoto to Jupiter, most assumed Elieser Hernandez had won the fifth starter competition. While that may ultimately prove to be true, one of the names still in the running is Nick Neidert.

The 23-year-old righty stands as the Marlins No. 10 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline. And throughout the summer, Mattingly hasn’t hesitated to throw Neidert into the mix for the 2020 roster. He said he’s in a “position to stay.”

In five minor league seasons, Neidert sports a 3.20 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and an 8.1 K/9 rate over 460.2 innings pitched. He features a 90-93 mph sinking fastball that pounds the bottom of the zone. His deceptive delivery can fool hitters and he was sharp in the Arizona Fall League.

Over six innings this spring, Neidert gave up just one earned run. He’s been up-and-down in recent intrasquad games and could ultimately slot in as a long reliever or piggyback option out of the bullpen.

Marlins Player to Know: Eddy Alvarez

The Marlins’ bench seems set, but local product Eddy Alvarez continues to make a late push for the 30-man roster. The 30-year-old Miami native and Columbus High graduate seeks to make his Major League debut in 2020, which would add to a resume that includes a 2014 Winter Olympics silver medal in speedskating.

Alvarez is a roster wildcard. He’s another player with positional versatility and he’s a switch hitter. At the Triple-A level in 2019, Alvarez hit .323 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI over 66 games.

“I like the kid,” Mattingly said of Alvarez. “I think he’s got a chance to help us depending on what happens during this this camp.”

Should Alvarez make the team, the Marlins would have to make a roster move, as he’s not currently on the 40-man roster.

“We’re pieces of the puzzle,” Alvarez said in March. “If I fit in a certain algorithm, then it’ll be time for me to go. It’s tough as a baseball player, it really is, not knowing much, but you just have to play.”

Marlins Players to Know: Magneuris Sierra

One of the decisions the Marlins must decide in the next few days is what to do with Magneuris Sierra. The big hitch in this question is the fact that Sierra is out of minor-league options. Should the team elect not to put Sierra on the Opening Day roster, he would have to pass through waivers before being reassigned within the organization.

Sierra’s best weapon is his speed. The 24-year-old should serve as Miami’s top pinch-running option this season after he stole 36 bases in 50 attempts in 2019. Working in his favor in the 60-game season are the expanded rosters and the new extra-innings rule.

“We think there is a role for a guy who can steal a bag on this club right now,” Mattingly said. “You’ll see teams in pennant races going down the stretch [looking for speed].”

For the 2020 season, MLB has implemented a new rule for extra innings: each half-inning will start with a runner on second base.

“That creates a different role, not just for him, but a few other guys as well,” Mattingly said of for Sierra, who can also be used as a defensive replacement.

Sierra, a left-handed hitter, also showed strides at the plate in limited action with the Marlins in 2019. He hit .350 over 40 at-bats. He has eight stolen bases (in 15 attempts) over his 91 MLB career games.

Marlins 2020 roster

5 Predictions for the Miami Marlins 2020 Roster

Miami named Sandy Alcantara the Opening Day starter earlier this week, answering one of the big questions for the Marlins 2020 roster.

Alcantara’s final 11 starts of the 2019 season, coupled with an impressive spring/summer, has propelled the 24-year-old to the front of the rotation. Spots 2-4 will likely feature Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez and Jose Urena in some order.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly has mentioned the 30-man roster will be pitcher-heavy. He’s considering carrying as many as 17 hurlers to Philadelphia to open the season. That leaves 13 slots for position players on the 30-man set.

The Marlins won’t fully cut down their roster until after the two exhibition games in Atlanta next week. With that in mind, here are five predictions for the Marlins 2020 roster come July 24th.

Miami Marlins 2020 Roster – Fifth Starter Prediction

For the fifth starter, there’s a four-man race. Jordan Yamamoto, Elieser Hernandez and Robert Dugger all have Major League experience, whereas Nick Neidert would be making his MLB debut if he’s it.

The prediction for Opening Day is Yamamoto. Yams tossed back-to-back seven-inning shutouts to open his MLB career. In 2019, he made 15 starts and threw 78.2 innings, posting a 4.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 82 strikeouts. He’ll need to improve upon his 4.1 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9 rates, but his track record in the minors indicates he will.

For the others, Hernandez and Dugger can both transition to the bullpen. Neidert probably won’t break camp with the club, but he could be the first pitcher called up should the rotation suffer injuries.

Bullpen Prediction

If Yamamoto takes the 5-spot, Hernandez and Dugger likely land in the bullpen as long relievers. Mattingly has mentioned the possibility of a piggyback with the fifth starter, and both of those pitchers could fill that role.

The Marlins turned over much of their terrible bullpen from 2019. Free agent additions Brandon Kintzler and Yimi Garcia should be backend staples, with Kintzler taking the closer role. Non-roster invitee Brad Boxberger stands as another veteran option with closing experience.

Adam Conley, Sterling Sharp, Ryne Stanek and Drew Steckenrider also seem like locks.

Predicting the final three arms for the ‘pen: Jeff Brigham (if he’s fully healthy), rookie Alex Vesia and Nick Vincent.

Brigham didn’t pitch in the spring thanks to a right bicep injury, but he sports maybe the best slider on the staff. Vesia has impressed and consistently thrown strikes. Mattingly called Vincent an “experienced, strike-throwing veteran,” which is key.

Should Brigham’s injury linger, look for Aaron Northcraft (or Josh Smith) to take his spot. If Mattingly wants a third left-handed reliever, he may swap Vincent for Stephen Tarpley, who Miami acquired via trade from the Yankees in January.

Dark horse options include prospects Jordan Holloway and Jorge Guzman. Both are starters, but they’ve impressed during camp and could be bullpen arms if need be.

Outfield Prediction

The unfortunate reality is that the Marlins are missing two outfielders who, in spring, figured to play significant roles. Matt Joyce and Lewis Brinson would have competed for right and center field respectively. Pulling those two from the competition simplified Mattingly’s decision making.

The prediction for the starting outfield on Opening Day is: Corey Dickerson in left, Jonathan Villar in center and Harold Ramirez in right. Monte Harrison will make the team and rotate between center and right. Garrett Cooper will see time in right and as DH.

While Ramirez is aided by Joyce’s absence, Mattingly called him “the most impressive overall” of the right field candidates. “He’s a guy people don’t give as much credit to. He’s been working hard in the outfield to get better.”

Magneuris Sierra, who is out of minor league options, should also make the team. His versatility, speed and defensive acumen carve out a role for him early, though he could be replaced once Joyce returns. He could also be among the cuts when the team pares down from 30 players to 28 and 26.

“Mags is a guy that we continue to see develop,” Mattingly said. He envisions Sierra as someone who can “[s]teal a bag, [be a] defensive replacement, you’ve got the 10th inning-type thing. There’re some scenarios in this type of setting. That creates a different role.”

Mattingly did say recently that both Joyce and Brinson will have a chance to play this year and that both players are optimistic and upbeat. Their delay makes the first few weeks of the season important for both Sierra and Harrison if they want to stick with the club.

Prospect Jesus Sanchez could find a role on the big club as well, if Mattingly wants a left-handed bat with pop off the bench.

Infield Prediction

The Marlins 2020 roster along the infield has been fairly set since the offseason. Holdovers from 2019 include Jorge Alfaro, Isan Diaz and Miguel Rojas. Offseason addition Jesus Aguilar remains the odds-on favorite for first base. And Brian Anderson seems poised to retake his regular role at third.

Cooper will spell Aguilar at first from time to time, and super utility Jon Berti can plug the other holes. Villar will likely spend some time cycling through middle infield spots in addition to centerfield.

For Diaz, the start to the season is particularly important. Mattingly has called Diaz “the guy” and “the second baseman of the future” but the presence of Villar should keep pressure on him to produce. His minor league track record indicates he’ll hit.

New bench coach James Rowson said he’s been impressed by Diaz. “I love the swing. He does a lot of things that work well.”

Should Aguilar struggle out the gate, first base prospect Lewin Diaz might get an early call-up. He’s a powerful, sweet-swinging lefty who’ll be a mainstay in the lineup for years to come.

Local product Eddy Alvarez, a switch-hitting utilityman, could find a role should injuries pile up.

Miami Marlins 2020 Roster – Rotating Positions

The final prediction for the Marlins 2020 roster is that there will be rotating positions. With this group, there’s fluid nature to the lineup. GM Mike Hill has assembled a group of players who can play multiple positions, and this versatility affords Mattingly the flexibility to shuffle players based on matchup and who’s hot.

Lineup fixtures like Villar, Cooper, Rojas, Ramirez and Anderson can bounce around the diamond and outfield. The addition of the designated hitter to the NL gives Mattingly another bat, and multiple players can fill that role as well.

Even the construction of the bench should feature players who can be deployed across a number of spots. Berti can play all over. Sierra can man each outfield position. Same for Harrison.

The ability for the roster to rotate positions means Mattingly can optimize the lineup card almost every day.

Lehigh pitcher Matt Svanson shutting out the SFCBL

There is clearly a big difference between what Lehigh saw out of Matt Svanson and what the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League is seeing.

At Lehigh, Svanson has a 6.51 ERA in 25 total appearances, 10 of which were starts. This spring, he started all four games but recorded a 7.77 ERA.

In five starts with the West Boca Snappers, Svanson has an ERA of 0.00 and his last two starts saw him strike out eight batters. Svanson’s arsenal features a sinker, slider and changeup mix. His sinker is  his first pitch which is aimed for ground ball outs and his slider is his strikeout pitch. 

Much of his performance has been credited to his head coach and former Miami Marlins minor league pitcher, Riley MacEachern.

“Riley’s been awesome,” Svanson said. “Because he’s a former pro player, he is so well with mechanics and be able to communicate with me. We have a pretty good relationship for the most part. Whenever I have an issue on the mound, he’s able to self-correct me.”

MacEachern was drafted in the 33rd round by the Marlins out of Stony Brook in 2015 and spent thre as a reliever going as far as Single-A Greensboro.

According to MacEachern, it didn’t take much to unlock Svanson’s potential.

“He had it the whole time,” MacEachern said, “just needed to get him to gain that confidence.”

Svanson was originally slated to pitch in the Cape Cod League but it got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So instead he was recruited by MacEachern to pitch for the Snappers and now they are on top of the South Division with a five game lead.

Svanson is not alone in the SFCBL. There are two other Lehigh pitchers and first baseman Charlie Von Werne are also with him in the league. Luke Rettig has a 1.89 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 19 innings over five games with the Palm Beach Diamond Ducks and Mason Black has 25 strikeouts in 18 innings and an ERA of 1.00 in five starts.

“We push each other all the time, Svanson said. “We want to be No. 1 going into next year and it’s a battle every time. Obviously what matters to us is we win three games each weekend but but right here want to go and see each other absolutely dominate.”

The season runs through July 30 followed by the playoffs. As it currently stands, it looks like there could be a matchup between Rettig and Svanson for the title.

Marlins roster

5 Marlins Roster Questions

Fans learned the answer to one of the big questions for the Marlins roster in 2020 yesterday. Manager Don Mattingly revealed on the Marlins YouTube show ‘The Line Drive’ that Sandy Alcantara will be the Opening Day starter for Miami.

This decision was not unexpected, particularly considering Alcantara’s stretch to end 2019. The first-time all-star pitched lights out over his final 11 starts of the campaign. Over 74.1 innings pitched, Alcantara posted a 2.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 62 strikeouts. He hit seven innings in seven of his last 11 starts, including one shutout.

With that question answered, the focus now shifts to others. Here’s a look at five questions Mattingly still needs to answer regarding the Marlins roster.

Marlins Roster – Who will be the fifth starter?

While the front end the rotation seems set, the fifth starter on the Marlins roster is a spot still up for grabs. Vying for that spot are: Jordan YamamotoElieser HernandezRobert Dugger and Nick Neidert.

Last Sunday, Yamamoto and Hernandez faced off as the starters. According to reports, both pitchers had moments and struggles. Yams played well defensively and struck out two. Hernandez gave up a homer but struck out five over his five innings.

Dugger threw on Monday, finishing four innings with two strikeouts and two hits.

Neidert also threw Monday. Over four innings, he surrendered three hits and registered three strikeouts. Lots of weak contact, according to reports. Mattingly said Neidert, who impressed in the Arizona Fall League, is in a “position to stay.”

“There’s a good chance you could see both of those guys here, either early or at some point during this year,” Mattingly said of both Neidert and Dugger.

Yamamoto and Hernandez seem like the frontrunners for the spot. Dugger could land in the bullpen. Neidert might not break camp with the club, but he’s probably the next pitcher in line for promotion.

Who will be the centerfielder?

Heading into spring, Monte Harrison stood out among the options for centerfield. He competed with Lewis Brinson and Magneuris Sierra, among others, for the spot. Harrison built on successes last year at the Triple-A level and parlayed that into an impressive spring/summer.

“Monte looks good,” Mattingly said. “He’s swung the bat good here. Plays with energy, plays fast. He’s aggressive.” Mattingly called Harrison a “mega-talented kid.” The 24-year-old profiles as a potential 30-30 guy for the Marlins.

The other significant option is Jonathan Villar, who started in center on Monday for the sim game. According to Mattingly, Villar could bounce “back and forth between centerfield, second base, shortstop and DH.”

Villar said he’s “here for the team” and the possibility of playing multiple positions is one he’s ready for. “You have to prepare mentally and physically every day. I’m prepared for whatever comes.”

Villar admitted some discomfort working in centerfield, saying judging line drives has been particularly difficult early on. However, his spot atop the lineup is all but assured.

Other options include Sierra and Harold Ramirez. For Sierra, he’s out of minor league options. If he doesn’t make the team, he’ll need to go through waivers to remain with the team. His speed would be valuable for Mattingly off the bench.

Who will man first base?

One of the major issues for the Marlins in 2019 was a lack of power. The team was last in homers and runs scored. Miami made that a focus of their offseason acquisitions, adding Villar, Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Matt Joyce. Among that group, Aguilar sports the most power, having hit 35 home runs during his 2018 All-Star campaign.

Mattingly has said “we like the way he looks” and he’s put Aguilar at first for the most recent scrimmages. Aguilar’s fine defensively, but he’ll need to regain his 2018 form, after struggling in 2019, in order to remain the regular first baseman.

Garrett Cooper manned first for the Marlins 73 times in 2019. During the offseason, Mattingly expressed doubt concerning Cooper’s ability to be an everyday player. Cooper has struggled with injuries during his time with the Marlins, but he does possess All-Star and 30-homer potential.

Cooper will be on this roster, and he’s likely going to be a regular fixture in the lineup. He can play first, right or DH. That versatility makes him a valuable plug-and-play option for Mattingly this season.

The dark horse candidate for the Marlins roster this year is Lewin Diaz. The 23-year-old prospect holds tantalizing power potential. Mattingly compared Diaz to former MLB All-Star Carlos Delgado, and the manager has indicated there’s a good chance Diaz could be with the club at some point this season. His left-handed power could be an integral part of this lineup.

Who will fill out the bullpen?

Last season, the Marlins featured one of the worst bullpens in MLB. Miami relievers posted the fifth-worst ERA (4.97), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.11) and save percentage (55.1). Their WHIP (1.45) was seventh worst. Relievers blew 22 save opportunities and surrendered a .235 batting-average-against and .343 on-base percentage.

The Marlins turned over a considerable part of this bullpen. And while Brandon Kintzler seemed locked in at closer, there are question marks throughout the rest of the ‘pen.

The other locks are probably Yimi Garcia, Ryne Stanek and Drew Steckenrider. At least one of the pitchers who don’t make the cut as fifth starter will likely slide over as a long reliever. Sterling Sharp also seems like a lock considering his Rule-5 acquisition.

Beyond that, players like Brad Boxberger, Jeff Brigham, Adam Conley, Aaron Northcraft, Josh A. Smith, Stephen Tarpley, Alex Vesia and Nick Vincent, among others, are all vying for spots.

Who are the wildcards on the Marlins roster?

One of the most interesting parts of the Marlins roster construction remains the versatility. Multiple players could slot into various positions. Most notably, Villar has been seen during summer camp working along three different positions (CF, 2B and SS), and he has experience at a fourth (3B).

Another wildcard is Vesia, the lefty rookie who sported a 41 scoreless inning streak through spring. Vesia posted a 1.62 ERA with 138 strikeouts over 100 innings while advancing to Double-A.

“Everywhere he went he had success.” Mattingly said Vesia “pitched with confidence” and “has some moxie about him,” noting “He’s on the attack; he’s not afraid; he’s a strike thrower.”

Vesia’s emergence could endanger lefty veteran Conley’s spot in the bullpen. A similar emergence from Steckenrider could make Kintzler expendable at the trading deadline should the Marlins be out of the race.

Harrison also stands a wildcard for the Marlins roster because if he can take center or right field, that will transform what the roster looks like. Joyce’s absence thus far makes Harrison’s spot with the club all the more important. Joyce, who could also be a DH, would’ve competed with Cooper and Ramirez for an everyday role in right.

Finally, former Olympian and local product Eddy Alvarez is also a Marlins roster wildcard. He’s another player with positional versatility, and he’s a switch hitter. At the Triple-A level in 2019, Alvarez hit .323 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI over 66 games.

“I like the kid,” Mattingly said of Alvarez. “I think he’s got a chance to help us depending on what happens during this this camp.”