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Marlins Sweep

5 Takeaways from the Marlins Sweep in D.C.

The Miami Marlins ended their seven-day, six-game road trip with a three-game sweep of their NL East rivals, the Washington Nationals, in D.C. Miami used dominant starting pitching and timely hitting to win the series.

It’s clear the Marlins have elite starting pitching at this point, with potentially more on the way in the minors. What’s also clear is that the offense needs more consistent production, especially from the five regulars hitting below .205. But with this three-game sweep, the Marlins showed themselves to be a good team, taking care of business on the road against an inferior opponent.

Miami comes home 10-8, having won five in a row, their longest win streak since 2020. A win on Friday at home against the Seattle Mariners would push the Marlins to three games over .500 for the first time since August 29, 2016.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Marlins sweep in Washington.

Starting Pitching Carries the Marlins During Sweep of the Nats

The Marlins saw the top three pitchers of their rotation get a turn in this three-game series in Washington. The result? Two earned runs allowed over 18 innings pitched. On the road trip, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López, and Trevor Rodgers combined to toss 38 innings, allowing three runs total. That’s an 0.71 ERA.


Alcantara limited the Nationals to one run on six hits and three walks over six innings, although he was helped on Tuesday by a pair of outfield assists. Alcantara’s surrendered just five earned runs through his first four starts of the season. He struck out five Nationals, to run his season total up to 20 over 25.1 innings pitched. His 1.78 ERA for the season sits just outside the MLB top-10.

MLB’s leader in that category is López, who tossed another gem this week. But more on him in a moment.

Rodgers helped the Marlins secure the sweep in D.C. thanks to his best outing of the season. Rodgers went a season-long 6.0 innings in what was his fourth start. He surrendered two hits in the effort, both in the first inning, and only allowed two base runners after that. He helped keep this Nationals offense under wraps, lowering his ERA to 5.09 in the process.

Pablo López Leveling Up

Pablo López’s start to this season has been one of the most impressive things in baseball through the first month. Lopez shut down the Nationals, navigating a third consecutive start without surrendering a run.

The right-hander allowed just three hits over his six innings of work, with six strikeouts to just one walk. Miami picked up a 2-1 victory and López was credited with his third win in a row, matching a career high. He’s has now tossed 18.1 consecutive scoreless innings, which is the longest stretch of his career without allowing a run.


“I feel real good,” López said after the game on Wednesday. “I feel really happy with where I am feeling on the mound with the rhythm, the tempo, the way I’m breaking my hands the same time with my legs.”

López continued: “I just feel like I’m in a good spot on the mound.”

In addition to leading the league in ERA (0.39), López leads in WAR for pitchers (1.5) and ranks second in WHIP (0.729). Lopez is the 12th pitcher (13th occurrence, Roger Clemens did it twice) in MLB history to allow one run or less in his first four starts of the season while pitching at least 20.0 innings. His 0.39 ERA is the lowest in club history through the first four starts of the season, bettering Dontrelle Willis’ 0.71 mark to start 2004.

‘Mix and Match’ Bullpen Saves Marlins Sweep

It wasn’t just the Marlins starting pitching that propelled the team to the sweep in Washington. Miami’s bullpen shut the door in each of the three games, registering with key outs in high leverage situations. And with Dylan Floro still on the IL, Marlins manager used the “mix and match” approach throughout the series.

The fact that their starters each pitched six innings in these games allowed Mattingly to approach the final third of these games based on matchups. With the starters covering all but nine innings in the series, relievers came out of the bullpen in different combinations to maximize matchups in those high leverage situations to much success.

Marlins relievers allowed three runs (two earned) during this sweep in Washington. Anthony Bender missed the series win against the Atlanta Braves due to hip soreness, but registered his third and fourth saves of the season in the first two games versus the Nationals.


Bender pitched a clean ninth on Tuesday, then registered a four-out save on Wednesday. That 1.1 inning effort was his longest outing of the season. Perhaps the most impressive part was Bender’s ability to keep the Nationals off the board in a high leverage, one-run situation, although Yadiel Hernandez seemed to just miss a grand slam of him.

On Thursday, Cole Sulser picked up his first save with the Marlins. Sulser closed the sweep of the Nationals with a 1.1 inning outing of his own that included keeping Washington’s tying run at third with a strikeout of Josh Bell in the eighth.

On the road trip, Miami’s bullpen went 5-for-5 in save opportunities, with four different relievers (Bender, Sulser, Louis Head, and Tanner Scott) registering a save.

Sanchez Delivers with Key Pinch Hit

The Marlins find themselves in a stretch of 16 games over 16 days, so naturally, Mattingly will work off days into the schedule for many of his regulars. Playing a day game after a night game, and with a lefty starter on the mound, Mattingly opted with a right-handed heavy lineup for the series closer.

But in a key spot in the seventh inning, with the game tied at one, Mattingly tapped Jesus Sanchez to pinch hit for Bryan De La Cruz with Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas on base. Down 0-1 in the count, Sanchez reach down and shot RHP Victor Arano’s 83.5 MPH slider through the right side of the infield, getting the Marlins the lead. Rojas advanced to third and would score what amounted to the game-winning run on a wild pitch.


That hit snapped an 0-for-14 stretch for Sanchez that included seven strikeouts. It was Sanchez’s lone RBI on the trip, one in which he went 3-for-22 overall, lowering his batting average from .356 to .284. Although he struck out in the ninth, it was good to see Sanchez deliver in a clutch spot with a base hit.

Marlins Struggle with RISP (and Bad Luck) During Sweep

Although the Marlins completed the series sweep on Thursday, they did so in large part thanks to their pitching. Miami pitchers limited the Nationals to five runs over the three games. Marlins hitters, meanwhile, did just enough.

Miami’s offense put up 10 runs, half coming in the series opener. The Marlins went 4-for-24 with runners-in-scoring-position. Sanchez came through with the big hit on Thursday, with Joey Wendle’s three-run homer on Tuesday being the difference in that one.

For the season, the Marlins remain in the bottom third of MLB in this metric, hitting just .203 when runners are in scoring position. Miami’s 31-for-153 in that spot. While the team’s 192 plate appearances with RISP ranks eighth so far, Marlins hitters still need more consistency in the clutch. Miami’s even worse (.178) with RISP and two outs.

While some of this is bad execution, some of it is also just plain bad luck.

Jorge Soler went 0-for-4 on Thursday, but he had the two highest exit velocities of the game. Soler rocketed a grounder to third at 106.3 MPH with runners on the corners, but Nationals third baseman Maikel Franco snagged the ball and registered the force out. Later in the game, Soler smashed a pitch 110.9 MPH to left but Nats outfielder Yadiel Hernandez made an excellent sliding catch. The expected batting averages for those Soler strikes were .650 (for the 106.3 grounder) and .870 (for the 110.9 liner).

Avisail Garcia’s flyout in the sixth sported an exit velocity of 98.6 and an expected batting average of .630. Had it dropped, it would have scored Garrett Cooper from second. Garcia has a similar situation unfold in the second inning, with a flyout to right that had a 101.4 exit velocity and a .610 expected batting average.

Marlins series Braves

Marlins Take First Road Series from Braves

The Miami Marlins showed some moxie over the weekend with their 2-1 series victory over the defending world champion Atlanta Braves. Although the Marlins absorbed their second shut-out loss of the season in the series opener, Miami rallied to secure a pair of wins and pass the Braves in the NL East standings.

The Marlins weren’t the only team from Miami to have success in Atlanta this weekend, as the Heat took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Hawks in their playoff matchup. Even Inter Miami notched a win versus Atlanta FC.

But for the Marlins, this series win over the Braves remains important, and could be a launching pad for the club this season.

Marlins Bats Get Going in Series vs Braves

The Marlins’ offense has been up-and-down this season, to say the least. Miami’s offense struggled to consistently produce save for one game against the Cardinals prior to this trip to Atlanta. But after a shutout to start, the Marlins bats got going in this series against the Braves.

Following a series in which the team went 2-for-21 with runners-in-scoring-position, stranding 21 on base, the Marlins came through in clutch spots against Atlanta. After an 0-for-4 with RISP on Friday, Miami hitters went a respectable 9-for-33 (.272) with runners-in-scoring-position. The Marlins scored 14 runs over the final two games in the series versus the Braves.

In the back-and-forth contest on Saturday, the Marlins got clutch hits throughout the evening. Avisail Garcia came through with pair of RBI early, while Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jorge Soler helped the Marlins grab the lead in the sixth. Garrett Cooper’s pinch-hit two-run single gave the Marlins the lead for good, and Jesus Aguilar added an insurance run with a sac fly.

Chisholm was particularly good on Saturday, connecting on a lead-off home run and recording a career-high four hits on the night. He drove in three runs, scored three runs, and nabbed two stolen bases.

On Sunday, Garcia got the Marlins on the board once again, this time with an RBI double. Cooper came through with an RBI single after that. Jacob Stallings contributed with a sac fly in the sixth before Cooper drove in another run in the seventh. Joey Wendle’s seventh inning double capped the scoring for the Marlins in this series against the Braves.

Scoring nine runs then five runs in two games stands as Miami’s best run production in consecutive contests this season. And they could’ve done more, considering 33 runners were left stranded by Marlins hitters in this series versus the Braves. Miami now ranks 23rd with RISP this season (.209).

Veteran Marlins Bats Finding Their Stroke in Series vs Braves

The Marlins sunk some money into their lineup this offseason. But after some early season struggles, it seems like Miami’s veteran bats are starting to find their stroke.

Soler received his World Series ring this weekend, and celebrated with his most productive stretch of play since the Fall Classic. Soler registered hits for the Marlins in each of the three games in this series against the Braves. He reached base eight times, scoring two runs and driving in one.

Garcia also got going, notching three RBI, three hits, and one run scored in the series. He picked up his first stolen base of the season. Aguilar also picked up three hits over the weekend, driving in one and getting his batting average up over .205 for the first time this season.

Cooper entered this series 1-for-his-last-11 with just two RBI on the season. But after an 0-for-3 Friday, Cooper came through with one of the biggest hits of the season with his bases loaded, pinch-hit, two-RBI single on Saturday.

Cooper maintained that momentum Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a double and two more RBI. That lifted his batting average to .272 with an on-base percentage of .396. Cooper hit .328 with RISP last season.

Closer-By-Committee Taking Effect

At the end of Spring Training, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the team would use a closer-by-committee approach early on. Presumptive closer Dylan Floro landed on the 10-day IL to start the season with a rotator cuff injury, so Miami planned to mix and match at the backend of the bullpen.

That said, Anthony Bender proved to be the closer in all but name through the season’s first few weeks. But Bender’s results left something to be desired. While he registered a pair of saves early on, the 27-year-old second-year reliever surrendered the tying or winning run(s) in three of his five outings.

Bender didn’t pitch for the Marlins in this series against the Braves, though, because of hip soreness. He sports an 8.31 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP over his first 4.1 innings of work this season.

On Saturday, Mattingly turned to recently acquired Tanner Scott in a crucial save situation. Scott registered the second save of his MLB career with an 11-pitch outing that finished with a strikeout of Austin Riley. Scott’s stuff plays like that of a traditional closer, but on Sunday, he didn’t have his best. He surrendered a season-high three earned runs, recording just one out.

Mattingly then turned to Louis Head, another new member of the Marlins bullpen, to close out the game. Head surrendered a double to Marcell Ozuna before striking out Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario for his first career save.

Marlins relievers tossed 11.1 innings in this series, allowing five earned runs and striking out 14 Braves hitters. Miami’s bullpen now ranks 16th in ERA (3.33).

Reinforcements should be on their way soon, too, with Floro beginning his rehab stint in Jupiter this week. Floro threw 23 pitches in his first outing and could be back with the team by the next homestand.

Marlins Afloat Following Tough Start to Schedule

13 of the Marlins first 15 games this season came against teams that finished above .500 in 2021. Three of their first five series came against teams that made the postseason a year ago (San Francisco, St Louis, and Atlanta). So far, Miami’s played the third-toughest schedule among NL teams and the seventh-toughest schedule overall.

The Marlins were able to tread water during that tough stretch, going 7-8 with a plus-1 run differential. They’re now second in the NL East and start a three-game road series against a Washington Nationals (6-12) team that’s lost five in a row.

The Marlins grabbing a 2-1 series win over the Braves helped them climb in the NL East standings, but Miami needs to maintain this level of play against their division rivals. The Marlins took five of the first seven matchups versus Atlanta last season, but the Braves dominated the rest of the way. Miami finished 8-11 against Atlanta in 2021.

The Marlins have lost the season series to the Braves for seven straight years. The last time Miami won the season series versus the Braves was 2014. The Marlins have won more than lost against Atlanta only five times in the franchise’s 29 years.

If Miami’s going to make a push for the postseason in 2022, the team needs to capitalize against losing teams like the Nationals. Of the Marlins next 16 games, nine come against losing clubs. Miami also has a home series against the Seattle Mariners and a road series against the San Diego Padres in that stretch, both winnable sets.

Here’s More on the Marlins Series Win Over the Braves

Marlins home stand

5 Takeaways from Marlins First Home Stand

The Miami Marlins completed their first home stand of the 2022 season. While the Fish looked great through the first series of the home stand, winning 3-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami’s offense languished against the St Louis Cardinals. But a lineup change and the long-ball helped the Marlins salvage their first home stand.

The Marlins closed their first two series at loanDepot park with a 4-3 record. Although the first two games of the series versus the Cardinals were frustrating, Miami managed to grab the final game of the series with a 5-0 win on Thursday.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Marlins first home stand of the season.

Starting Pitching Dominates Marlins First Home Stands

The strength of this Marlins team remains the starting rotation, and that was on full display during this seven-game home stand. In the series win over the Phillies, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Elieser Hernandez combined to throw 17.2 innings in the series, allowing just three earned runs in the process (1.53 ERA). Against the Cardinals, Alcantara and Lopez took their games to another level.

Alcantara tossed eight shutout innings in the 2-0 loss on Wednesday. He allowed four hits, with six strikeouts and one walk. Alcantara needed 27 pitches to get out of the first inning, but limited St Louis to just three hits the rest of the way. He faced no more than four batters in any frame after the first, and never needed more than 12 pitches to get out of an inning.

Alcantara lowered his career ERA versus his former team to 0.99, surrendering just three earned runs over 27.1 innings pitched. He’s struck out 29 Cardinals over those four starts, but has yet to register a win.

Lopez, meanwhile, celebrated his recent nuptials with another impressive performance to start the year. The 26-year-old right tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and lowered his season ERA to 0.52, now the lowest mark in MLB. Lopez allowed just three hits over seven innings, and did not see a runner reach scoring position.

Lopez’s performance extended a 15-inning scoreless streak for Marlins starting pitchers during the home stand. His changeup was particularly effective on Thursday, with five of his nine Ks coming on that pitch. Lopez has a 50 percent swing-and-miss rate with his changeup early on this season.

His 0.52 ERA through three starts is the third-best three-start ERA in franchise history, trailing only Josh Beckett (0.45 ERA in 2005) and Dontrelle Willis (0.00 ERA in 2004).


The Sanchize? Jesus Sanchez Impresses During Marlins Home Stand

Jesus Sanchez took over as the Marlins centerfielder this season, though there were some questions regarding his long-term potential at the position. But with his torrid start to the season, Sanchez has quieted the critics.

Sanchez played in six of the seven games for the Marlins in this home stand, sitting out only once when Philadelphia started a left-handed pitcher. During those six games, Sanchez hit .440 with a 1.241 OPS. He recorded a Marlins team-high 11 hits during the home stand.

Overall, Sanchez leads the Fish in batting average (.356), on-base percentage (.396), total hits (16), and runs scored (nine). His three home runs and two triples are tied with Jazz Chisholm Jr for the team lead. His nine RBI trail only Chisholm (12) for the team lead in that category. He’s also second in Slugging Percentage (.667) and On-Base-Plus-Slugging (1.063).

Sanchez continues to improve at the plate, producing at an impressive rate, and he’s looked solid defensively in centerfield. Although he made a questionable base-running decision on Wednesday, he showed immediate improvement in that regard the very next day.

To help the Marlins get the win on Thursday, Sanchez went 2-for-3, scoring three runs. He scored Miami’s first run on a fielder’s choice in the second, scored on a passed ball in the fourth, then put the game out of reach with a solo homer in the sixth.


Chisholm Makes a Case to Play Every Day

The idea that Jazz Chisholm Jr is a platoon player remains one of the more maddening elements early on, and one the Marlins need to dismiss altogether. Chisholm has sat against lefties, and languished at the bottom of the lineup, for long enough. In his first start of the season as a leadoff hitter, Chisholm helped the Marlins avoid a three-game sweep to end the home stand.

A Miami Herald report noted Chisholm’s sitting and lineup placement was not punishment for off- on on-field antics. But rather, a reflection that Marlins manager Don Mattingly felt other, more experienced hitters in the Marlins lineup warranted more at-bats. But at this point, Chisholm is one of the few hitters producing for Miami.

Chisholm leads the team in RBI (12) and is tied for the lead in homers (3) and triples (2). He doesn’t technically have enough at-bats yet to qualify for the lead in the average statistics and percentages. That said, Chisholm’s .774 Slugging and 1.107 OPS are tops on the team.

He and Sanchez make up an exciting, young nucleus for this Miami lineup, and one that needs to play every day at this point. While his splits against lefties lag in terms of on-base percentage, he can only improve with additional reps.

The team remains cautious with Chisholm, though, especially after a dramatic drop-off in production during the second half last season. Chisholm registered an OPS below .700 after posting a .969 OPS through the first month of 2021. His offensive metrics dropped across the board after the All-Star break, so load management seems to be part of the team’s thinking early on.

But it’s hard to keep a player with his ceiling off the field, especially when he can do this:


Producing with RISP still a Concern Following Marlins First Home Stand

The Marlins struggled with runners-in-scoring-position during their 1-4 road trip to start the year. Miami managed just an .069 batting average with RISP (2-for-29) through those first five games. However, during their first home series this season, Marlins bats woke up with runners at second or third.

Against the Phillies, Miami hit .333 with runners-in-scoring-position (14-for-42) in that situation. But against the Cardinals, the offense struggled once again. The Marlins scored just one run through the first two games of this final series of the home stand, going 0-for-11 with RISP. Miami stranded 16 runners on base in those two losses.

On Thursday, the Marlins offense finally broke through with five runs. But the team still stranded five runners and only went 2-for-10 with runners-in-scoring-position.

Through 12 games, Miami’s .196 batting averaged ranks 24th in MLB. Their .641 OPS in that spot ranks 19th. No surprise, Chisholm and Sanchez are among the team leaders in this metric. Chisholm’s seven RBI with RISP lead the team (3-for-7), while Sanchez trails with six. Sanchez has the most hits in that situation (6-for-16), and Joey Wendle has the best batting average (.500, 4-for-8, four RBI).

Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper, and Avisail Garcia are a combined 0-for-20 with RISP (10 strikeouts). Jesus Aguilar, Jorge Soler, and Miguel Rojas each have one hit in that situation, but remain a combined 3-for-19 (six RBI).

Bender Remains a Backend Bullpen Question

Mattingly intimated during Spring Training that the team would take a closer-by-committee approach early in the season. That’s hasn’t been the case thus far, with Anthony Bender playing the role of closer through the first few weeks of the season. He’s been the Miami’s only reliever to get a turn in a save situation.

But while Bender’s registered a pair of saves early on, following his appearance on Wednesday, the 27-year-old second-year reliever has now surrendered the tying or winning run(s) in three of his five outings.

With the game on the line on Wednesday, Bender served up the game-winning home run to St Louis’ Nolan Arenado. He threw a 98-mph sinker that caught too much of the plate and Arenado was able to turn on it. Bender’s failing, and the utter lack of offense, spoiled starter Sandy Alcantara’s gem.

Bender now sports an 8.31 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP over his first 4.1 innings of work this season. He’s lost two games, but is 2-for-3 in save opportunities. He’s given up five hits, including two home runs, in late-and-close situations.

Should Mattingly search for another late-game option, Cole Sulser may get a look. Sulser’s given up only one run over his first 4.2 innings of work with the Marlins. He has 13 career saves and has surrendered just three hits and a walk in late-and-close situations so far this season.

The Marlins presumptive closer entering the 2022 season was Dylan Floro, but the reliever landed on the IL thanks to a rotator cuff injury. Floro threw a 16-pitch simulated game last Sunday and was set to report to Jupiter for another simulated game this week.

Meyer v Acuña

Meyer, Marlins Prospects Face Acuña in All-Star’s Rehab Start

Many eyes of the baseball world turned to Jacksonville on Tuesday night, a rarity considering the city’s Triple-A designation. But what drew the interest of many baseball fans, those of the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and beyond, was not the Jumbo Shrimp, or the Ray Charles bobblehead giveaway, but the return of Ronald Acuña Jr. to the field. Making his first rehab start, Acuña would face one of the Marlins top prospects, Max Meyer.

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Peterson threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a rousing ovation in the shadow of his new stadium, TIAA Bank Field. Ticket requests jumped into the thousands for this game following Atlanta’s announcement that Acuña would begin his rehab stint with their Triple-A club, the Gwinnett Stripers. The announced attendance at 121 Financial Ballpark checked in at 5,153, nearly 1,500 more than the Athletics drew to their game in Oakland last night.


Coming off an ACL tear last July, Acuña’s moved through the recovery process quickly and looks to rejoin the Braves lineup less than a year after going down. Acuña looked loose during batting practice, launching four opposite field home runs in a row with relative ease. He wore a light knee brace during pregame workouts but moved fluidly, joking with teammates and staff during BP.

The Jumbo Shrimp players also looked loose during pregame, some relishing the idea that an MLB star was in their midst. Jacksonville returned home following a six-game road trip in Durham, where the team took four games, including the last three in a row.

Outfielder JJ Bleday, the Marlins No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, called Acuña “a good player to have for the game of baseball,” noting the two-time All-Star’s “swag.”

Acuña’s Return Sparks Intrigue vs Top Prospect Meyer

Acuña was tasked with facing one of Miami’s top prospects in pitcher Max Meyer in his first rehab start. Gwinnett manager Matt Tuiasosopo penciled Acuña at the top of the order and he played in right field.

In the first inning, Meyer went up-and-in with a 95 MPH fastball, drawing oohs from the crowd. Meyer worked ahead of Acuña 1-2 in that at-bat, ultimately getting the Braves star to fly-out to center.

Acuña next hit to leadoff the third inning. Meyer fell behind 3-0, just missing low in the zone. He managed a whiff before serving up a high fastball that Acuña crushed to right-center field. The ball struck a raised portion of the wall, missing a homer by less than 10 feet.


When Acuña came up for his final at-bat in the fifth, Meyer attacked him in the zone. Acuña fouled off a well-placed fastball that rode over the inner third of the plate. Meyer followed that 0-1 pitch with a changeup that Acuña topped over to third base.

Atlanta’s All-Star ended his first rehab start there, exiting in the sixth during a double switch. All told, Acuña moved well throughout the night, handling right field with practiced ease and running the base-paths without any sign of struggle.

“I didn’t know if I would come back and be the same. Now I’m healthy again,” he told The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz after the game. “Actually, I feel I’m better than I was.”

Meyer Solid in Outing vs Acuña, Stripers

Max Meyer entered this ballyhooed matchup with Ronald Acuña Jr. following a perfect 5.0 inning outing in Durham. Meyer left that game against the Bulls after just 53 pitches because of a calf cramp.

Tuesday night was more of a struggle for the Marlins’ No. 3 prospect, though. While he went a season-high 5.2 innings, Meyer clearly didn’t have his best stuff. His command lacked the precision of his last start in Durham, as he issued two walks and regularly fell behind in the count to hitters.

Despite that, Meyer still recorded seven strikeouts, with most of those coming thanks to his nasty slider. The 23-year-old righty threw 85 pitches, getting 16 whiffs along the way. 47 of his 85 pitches went for strikes.

Other than the elevated fastball that Acuña tattooed to right-center, Meyer did a good job of keep the ball down in the zone. Catcher Nick Fortes handled a number of pitches in the dirt that many Stripers chased. Meyer induced six groundouts, including a double play ball in the fourth inning.

Before surrendering a pair of baserunners in the first inning, Meyer had gone 6.1 consecutive innings without allowing a batter to reach. He pitched into a few jams, but navigated those well and did not allow Gwinnett to score. Only one runner reached third base against him on Tuesday. Meyer’s now thrown 11.1 scoreless innings in a row. Nexus Teen Academy provides the best teenage therapy for all problems faced
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Bleday, Other Marlins Prospects Quiet on Tuesday

All of the attention on Tuesday night rightly pointed toward the Acuña-Meyer matchup. Outside of those two, there was little else of note from this ballgame. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted on Twitter last night, this game lasted just one hour and 54 minutes.

The Marlins’ watchful eye saw a Jumbo Shrimp starting lineup featuring Bleday, Lewin Diaz, Fortes, Peyton Burdick, and Brian Miller, among others. Those players combined for three of Jacksonville’s five hits on the night, with Fortes coming through with the key single in the sixth inning.

Bleday went hitless, but extended his on-base streak to six games thanks to a hit-by-pitch. Bleday scored from second on Fortes’ two-out knock. Bleday’s now scored in five of the last six games despite having only four hits over that span. He’s hitting .146 (6-for-41) early on, but has a solid .327 on-base percentage.

Bleday acknowledged his struggles before the game, saying “I’ve been getting away from my approach sometimes and not trusting it.”

Discipline remains the key to Bleday’s approach. He sports a .375 batting average, with a .722 on-base percentage, when getting ahead in the count.

The 24-year-old outfielder remains confident, despite the struggles to start.

“It’s early in the year, and I’ve been here before,” Bleday said. “I just have to keep swinging it and trust the approach, trust getting something in the zone.”

Diaz went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. His average sits at .289 with a .844 OPS, 10 RBI and two homers. Burdick ended 0-for-3, but just missed his fourth homer of the season with a deep flyout in the sixth. Fortes finished 2-for-3 and drove in the game-winning runs with his two-out, two-run single in the sixth.

Marlins series Phillies

Marlins Take First Home Series from Phillies

The Miami Marlins opened their 2022 home schedule with yet another series win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Miami took the home opener with 31,184 fans in attendance last Thursday. That crowd proved to be the largest to attend a game at loanDepot park since Opening Day in 2018, when 32,151 fans watched the Marlins play the Cubs.

The Marlins saw an average of 17,015 fans attend the series against the Phillies, which is nearly 10,000 more than their average attendance last season and 7,000 more than their attendance in 2019, the last season without attendance restrictions. Those encouraging numbers came despite the team’s slow offensive start on the road.

Marlins Offense Finds Its Spark in Series vs Phillies

The new-look Marlins offense scored five on Opening Day in what was a one-run loss to the San Francisco Giants. But Miami wouldn’t get over that figure again until the team’s first home stand over the weekend. The Marlins ultimately took the four-game series against the Phillies, 3-1.

The Marlins offense came to life against their NL East division rivals, outscoring the Phillies 25-17 for the series. Miami put up four runs in a rally during the home opener, sparked by a Garrett Cooper home run. The Marlins then followed that with an impressive 7-1 victory on Friday night, and capped the series with an 11-3 win over the Phillies on Easter Sunday.

Miami’s offense scored 6.3 runs per game for the series versus the Phillies, a figure that ties them for the second-best runs-per-game average at home early in the season. Conversely, the Marlins scored just 2.8 runs-per-game during their first road trip (25th in MLB). For the season, Miami now averages 4.3 runs-per-game (14th in MLB).

The Marlins lineup pounced on Philly’s pitching staff, recording 16 extra-base hits in the series versus the Phillies. Miami managed just nine extra-base hits during their five-game road trip to start the season.

After a 2-for-29 start with runners-in-scoring-position (.069 batting average), the Marlins broke out in the series against the Phillies, going 14-for-42 (.333) in that situation.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesus Sanchez proved the biggest lifts for Miami’s offense. The two combined to record 10 hits (in 24 at-bats), with four triples, two doubles, and 10 RBI between them.

It was also nice to see Miami’s main free agent additions, Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler, find some success at home. The two combined for four extra-base hits, including two no-doubt home runs, in the series. Neither registered an extra-base hit on the road trip.

Starting Pitching Dominates

The strength of this Marlins team remains the starting rotation. That strength was on full display for the Marlins in this series against the Phillies. Three of Miami’s four starters registered a win in their game, with only Trevor Rodgers taking a loss.

Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Elieser Hernandez combined to toss 17.2 innings in the series, allowing just three earned runs in the process (1.53 ERA). Lopez held Philadelphia scoreless over 5.1 innings on Friday. Hernandez was particularly impressive on Sunday, out-dueling Phillies ace Zach Wheeler to help the Marlins win the series. Hernandez went six innings, striking out five, allowing just one earned run.

Rodgers, meanwhile, struggled in his start against Philadelphia. The 24-year-old lefty couldn’t make it out of the second inning on Saturday night, surrendering seven runs in the process. Rodgers labored through the first, needing 40 pitches to complete the frame. He wasn’t helped by a botched run-down play where Jon Berti collided with Cooper, allowing Philadelphia to score and extend the inning.

Rodgers struggled with his command, and Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. implied after the game Rodgers may have been tipping his pitches. His changeup has been particularly ineffective this season. Following a season in which his changeup sported a 33.7 percent whiff rate, Rodgers has not induced a swing-and-miss with his changeup so far in 2022.

Rodgers’ shortest outings prior to this 1.2 inning stint came in 2020, when as a rookie Rodgers went 3.0 innings in three different starts. His shortest outing in 2021 was a 3.2 inning turn against the New York Mets at home in late July.

Bullpen Also Impressive

Miami’s bullpen continued its solid string of work during this Marlins series victory over the Phillies. Marlins relievers accounted for 16.2 innings and allowing just five earned runs in those frames (2.78 ERA). Miami’s bullpen notched 16 strikeouts of Phillies hitters, issuing four walks and hitting two batters.

Anthony Bender recorded his second save of the season, nailing down the win during the home opener. Anthony Bass, Steven Overt, and Cole Sulser all registered holds during the series.

Marlins Must Maintain Offensive Attack

The Marlins first home stand of the season closes this week following a three-game series with the St Louis Cardinals. The Marlins scored 25 runs in the series with the Phillies, but Miami struggled to score against the Cardinals last season.

St Louis swept the season series from the Marlins, 6-0, including two shut outs. The Cardinals pitching staff held the Fish to six total runs in those games.

The Marlins offensive metrics are up following the series versus the Phillies. Miami’s up to 11th in OPS (.717.), 13th in batting average (.239), and 19th in Runs Scored (39). The Marlins jumped from 30th to 20th hitting with runners-in-scoring-position with their solid series against the Phillies. They’re hitting .225 for the season in that metric.

Here’s More on the Marlins Series Win Over the Phillies

Marlins Prospects Report: Opening Week

Although a prolonged offseason lockout threatened the start of the season, the 2022 baseball schedule started last week. The Miami Marlins enter the season with postseason aspirations following offseason improvements, and the club’s minor league affiliates stand stocked with talented prospects.

The Marlins’ farm system checked in sixth-best in baseball according to MLB.com’s preseason rankings. Bleacher Report is higher on Miami’s minor league clubs, ranking them third-best in baseball. ESPN, meanwhile, has them fourth.

“The Marlins farm system has improved over the years and they have learned that you have to develop from within to be competitive year after year,” said Stoffer Cochran of Prospects1500.com. “They are turning heads with pitching development and have a wealth of middle infielders that will be fun to watch over the coming years.”

With Miami’s top-30 prospects per MLB Pipeline spread throughout the system, the Marlins look to their farm system as a legitimate strength, both for developmental purposes and for organizational depth. The team remains unlikely to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade headlined by their top prospects unless the return holds a transformational star.

The Marlins feel they have stars in their system, especially among their top-10. Miami’s one of just three teams with six players among MLB’s top-100: Kahlil Watson (No. 25), Edward Cabrera (No. 34), Max Meyer (No. 35), Eury Perez (No. 41), Sixto Sánchez (No. 58), and JJ Bleday (No. 69). Perhaps most exciting about that, three of those six stand on the cusp of joining the big club, though two of them are working their way back from injury.

Marlins Prospects in Jacksonville Impress

The Marlins got their season started in San Francisco, while their Triple-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, started their 2022 slate at home, versus the Worcester Red Sox. The Fish got a good look at some of their top prospects against talented competition during the first week of the minor league season.

The Marlins prospect seemingly closest to the Majors made the start for Jacksonville during opening week. The 23-year-old 6-foot, 190-lb righty impressed with his work this spring, including pitching four perfect frames with five strikeouts in his lone Grapefruit League outing.

Meyer finished his first start with five strikeouts, allowing two runs on two hits, with a hit batsman and a walk. He consistently hit the upper 90s with his fastball and settled around 92 with his slider. Meyer threw 69 pitches, 43 for strikes, including 16 swing-and-misses.

Meyer posted a more impressive performance in his second start of the season. On the road against the Durham Bulls, the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliate and team that won the championship last season, Meyer sported no-hit stuff. He pitched five perfect frames before leaving in the sixth with a calf cramp.

Meyer struck out three of the first four batters he faced and struck out the side in the fourth. He k’d eight overall, inducing 12 whiffs along the way. Durham didn’t have a radar gun in use yesterday, but Meyer located his fastball well. His changeup and slider were very effective, too.

For the season, Meyer now has 13 strikeouts in 9.0 innings pitched, having allowed just two hits, two runs, a walk, and a hits batsman. He’s not on Miami’s 40-man roster, so a move will have to be made prior to the Marlins calling up this top prospect.

Marlins Outfield Prospects Coming Along in Triple-A

The Marlins other top prospects in Jacksonville, JJ Bleday and Peyton Burdick, had slower starts to their seasons but they’ve played well of late. Bleday’s just 3-for-23 so far this season, but he had his best game of the season yesterday in Durham. Bleday went 1-for-4 with a 2-RBI single, a walk and a run scored. Bleday would’ve notched his first home run of the season in the ninth, if not for an amazing catch by Bulls’ centerfielder Cal Stevenson robbing Bleday of a 3-run bomb.

Burdick also played well yesterday, connecting on his second homer of the season, a no-doubter in the first inning. Burdick is 7-for-26 with a pair of homers and four RBI so far this season. He has four walks, but nine strikeouts. Following a 0-for-5, 4-K performance last week, Burdick’s gone 3-for-8 with a homer, two RBI, a walk and only one strikeout.

Both Bleday and Burdick stand among the Marlins top-10 prospects and both have seen time in centerfield this season. Bleday’s made three starts in center, while Burdick’s made one. Both players have looked comfortable, especially Bleday, who’s reps have come in the spacious centerfield at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville.

Other Marlins 40-man Prospects in Jacksonville

Seven of the Marlins top-30 prospects remain on the Triple-A roster early on. Lewin Diaz has been one of Jacksonville’s most consistent hitters early this season, going 9-for-28 so far, with a homer, double, and a team-leading seven RBI. His K-rate early on is a manageable 22.5 percent.

The Jumbo Shrimp pitching staff features four active hurlers currently on Miami’s 40-man roster. Of those, Braxton Garrett is off to the best start. He went 4.0 innings in his season debut last week, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out three, including two of the top Boston Red Sox prospects, Triston Casas and Jeter Downs. He’s scheduled to pitch for Jacksonville on Wednesday.

Jordan Holloway’s first start went well, other than the third inning. He pitched four, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. Holloway ran into trouble against the Worcester Red Sox in the third, when after securing two outs, he walked a batter, allowed a single, walked another, then surrendered a grand slam.

Zach Pop has seen the most action with the Jumbo Shrimp of those on the 40-man. He’s made three appearances, tossing 4.2 innings total. Pop’s allowed seven hits, though, with three walks, allowing inherited runners to score twice. Batters are hitting .368 off him early on.

The worst of the bunch so far has been Paul Campbell. He’s pitched in two games, with one start, and over eight total innings so far, Campbell’s allowed 10 earned runs, with nine hits, five walks and a hits batsman. He’s surrendered two homers, though he does have nine strikeouts.

Jacksonville’s gone with a 6-man rotation early on, keeping close tabs on the development and stress on these young arms.

Double-A with a Surprise

Miami’s Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, sports seven of the Marlins’ top-30 prospects, including one from the top-5. Soon-to-be 19-year-old Eury Perez made the leap to Double-A this year and continues his rocket ascent among prospect rankings.

Perez toss 4.1 innings in his season debut last week, allowing three hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. Four of the first eight outs he registered came via the K and he didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. He ran into trouble in the fifth following a hits batsman and a single. His replacement, Will Stewart, allowed both of those inherited runners to score, giving Perez three earned runs on the night.

The only Blue Wahoo on Miami’s 40-man roster is 24-year-old outfielder Jerar Encarnacion, who’s getting work at first base defensively this season. Encarnacion’s off to a slow start at the plate, hitting just .111 with a .158 on-base percentage. He has 10 strikeouts over 18 at-bats and zero RBI.

The big surprise among Marlins prospects in Pensacola has been the play of Paul McIntosh. The 24-year-old catcher started the season 8-for-12 with two homers, a double, triple, and four RBI. He has two walks as well and leads the Southern League with a 1.417 OPS.

Some of the other notable names in Pensacola include Hayden Cantrelle, Griffin Conine, and Victor Victor Mesa. None have impressed as of yet, and Conine’s off to a particularly slow start. He’s 3-for-20 with a homer but nine strikeouts and no walks through four games.

Single-A Sees a Star

Miami has two Single-A affiliates, High-A Beliot Sky Carp and Low-A Jupiter Hammerheads. Six of the Marlins top-30 prospects started the season in High-A, with left-handed pitcher Dax Fulton being the highest-rated (No. 9). Fulton tossed 3.2 innings in his first start, allowing six runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out four.

The Marlins top hitting prospects in Wisconsin include Victor Mesa Jr. (No. 14), Cody Morissette (No. 16), and Nasim Nunez (No. 18). These players are a combined 5-for-44 to start with just one RBI and 21 strike outs between them.

But in Low-A Jupiter, as star has been born. Atop the Marlins prospects list stands shortstop Kahlil Watson. He’s 5-for-15 with two homers, two doubles, five RBI and five runs scored to start 2022. He sports a 1.242 OPS early on and figures to fly through Miami’s system.

Jose Salas, the No. 8 prospect for the Fish, has started 3-for-15 with a double, a homer, and RBI and two walks early on.

The surprise here among Marlins prospects has been 20-year-old starting pitcher Sandro Bargallo, who tossed five scoreless innings in his season debut, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out eight.

Here’s More on the Marlins Top Prospects

Marlins in San Francisco

5 Takeaways from Marlins Opening Series in San Francisco

The Miami Marlins opened the 2022 season in San Francisco, and found themselves in a tightly contested three-game series to start. Each of the three contests against the Giants finished with one-run margins, but Miami dropped two of the three. San Francisco sported the best record in baseball last season, and looks very much like a championship contender, so it’s heartening for Marlins fans to see Miami compete on the road with a team of that caliber.

That said, the Marlins still lost their opening series in San Francisco. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said early Sunday that the team moved past moral victories, but there were still positive developments for the team in the losses. Here are five takeaways.

Bullpen Bounce Back for Marlins in San Francisco

Much was made of Miami’s delayed addressing of its reliever corps this offseason. Although the Marlins bullpen sported a 3.81 ERA, seventh-lowest in MLB, and a 1.26 WHIP, eighth-lowest, last season, there still seemed to be a glaring need for a high-leverage reliever. But late in spring training Miami bolstered the bullpen in a trade with Baltimore.

The Marlins bullpen failed with its first attempt at a save in San Francisco, though. On Opening Day, key relievers surrendered runs, including Anthony Bender serving up a game-tying homer in the ninth to the first batter he faced as a closer this season. Richard Bleier and Anthony Bass also struggled in their first turns.

But the Marlins bullpen bounced back in the final two games of the series in San Francisco. Miami relievers pitched seven innings over those last two contests and did not surrender a run. The bullpen combined to allow just three base runners (two hits, one walk) with 10 strikeouts over those seven frames.

Marlins left-handed reliever Steven Okert, who spent his first three MLB seasons in San Francisco, struck out four of the six batters he faced, each with a slider. Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser, the players Miami acquired from the Orioles, also looked good in their Marlins debuts in San Francisco. The two relievers combined to pitch 2.2 innings in the series, striking out three and giving up one hit and one walk.

But perhaps the most important bounce backs came from Bender, Bleier, and Bass. Bender nailed down the save, and Bleier struck out the side in the eighth inning on Saturday. Bass tossed 1.1 innings on Sunday without allowing a baserunner.

Miami’s presumptive closer, Dylan Floro, started 2022 on the IL, but traveled with the team and tossed a 25-pitch bullpen session this weekend.

Surprisingly Solid Defense

The Marlins sought to upgrade their lineup this offseason, seemingly at the expense of their defensive makeup. Miami opted not to carry a natural centerfielder on its roster, choosing instead to bring in the best possible bats and having the defense sort itself out.

Although Avisail Garica and Jorge Soler were brought in to be among the big bats in the lineup, both players provided impressive plays on defense for the Marlins in San Francisco. Garcia cannoned a relay throw into the infield in the 10th inning on Opening Day that caught the Giants’ placed runner flatfooted. On Sunday, Soler robbed a homer from San Francisco first baseman Darin Ruf.

But the defensive highlight of the weekend for the Marlins in San Francisco came from Jazz Chisholm Jr.

Jacob Stallings demonstrated his defensive value on Opening Day by picking off a runner at second and throwing out a would-be base-stealer. Stallings also called great games for both Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. Jesus Sanchez looked comfortable in the spacious center field in Oracle Park.

That said, outfield shifts seemed to afford San Francisco too many scoring opportunities this weekend. On two different occasions, including during the game-winning hit on Opening Day, the outfield shift opened pathways for the Giants to turn singles into extra-base hits and score runs.

Soler Breaks Out on Sunday

Not much was expected of Jorge Soler as a defender, so his homerun-robbing grab provided an added bonus to the day. Entering the 2022 season, Soler sported a minus-5 defensive runs saved as a left fielder in his career. But he saved a run for the Marlins in San Francisco on Sunday with this catch:

The Marlins brought Soler to Miami for the added pop to the lineup. Soler once led the American League in home runs. He earned a World Series MVP with the Atlanta Braves last year thanks to clutch postseason hitting. But Soler’s Marlins tenure started quietly.

Soler went hitless with four strikeouts in his first seven at-bats for the Marlins in San Francisco. But he worked a pair of walks on Saturday in his final two plate appearances and followed that with three hits and a walk on Sunday. Soler reached base in six straight plate appearances, which is exactly what the club is looking from a leadoff hitter.

Pablo Impresses in His First Turn

Pablo Lopez made his first start of the season for the Marlins in San Francisco. The 26-year-old righty entered his fifth season in MLB after injury issues limited the end of his 2021 season. But in his first start, Lopez limited San Francisco to one run, surrendering three hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out six, and retired 12 straight Giants at one point on Saturday.

This was an impressive outing for Lopez following the struggles he had this spring. Over three Spring Training starts, Lopez allowed nine earned runs over eight innings pitched. He surrendered 12 hits, five walks, and two homers, while striking out 11. What concerned the most about these outings wasn’t the ineffectiveness, but the dramatic drop in fastball velocity following his injury.

But on Saturday, all looked right for Lopez. He velocity ticked back up to its normal range, and his changeup garnered several whiffs. Over the five innings, Lopez induced 15 swing-and-misses, with a 39 percent CSW rate on his 79 pitches. CSW, or called plus swinging strike percentage, is a predictive and descriptive measure of a pitcher’s true skill. League average sits around 29 percent, and anything above 35 percent is considered elite.

Marlins Struggle with RISP in San Francisco

The Marlins front office opted to focus on the lineup this offseason, seeking to add bats to last year’s flounder offense. But the early returns for the Marlins in San Francisco showed a disappointing trend continuing for the Fish.

Last season, the Marlins ranked 24th in MLB, hitting just .239 with runners in scoring position. Through the three-game set against the Giants, Miami managed just two hits in 22 tries with runners in scoring position. That .091 average checks in at 29th in baseball, trailing just the Baltimore Orioles (.083).

During the 3-2 loss on Sunday, the Marlins put the leadoff runner on base in six different innings. Miami registered 11 hits on Sunday, but plated just two runs.

The middle of Miami’s order struggled in particular. Jesus Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, and Garcia combined to go 6-for-37, with nine strikeouts and only one RBI (which came on a hit-by-pitch).

“Offensively, I think this is not really an indication of what we’re going to be,” Mattingly said after the game on Sunday.  “I think we’re going to be a dangerous club as the summer goes on.”

For the series, the Marlins stranded 22 runners on base. Considering Miami’s two losses each came by just one run, that’s something that must improve going forward. Last season, the Marlins sported a 21-29 record in one-run contests.

The Marlins look to build on these positives during their quick two-game trip to Los Angeles. They face the Angels on Monday and Tuesday.

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Marlins Opening Day

Marlins Opening Day: 5 Reasons to Watch

The Miami Marlins begin their 2022 season schedule in San Francisco on Friday afternoon. Following a disappointing 67-95 season, Miami upgraded its lineup, locked in their top starter long term, and added to their bullpen. Although other teams in the division improved as well, the Marlins Opening Day lineup will be the team’s best in recent years.

Although if you’re reading this, you’re likely going to watch anyway, here are five reasons to watch the Marlins on Opening Day.

1. Offseason Improvements

The Marlins spent this offseason, as principal owner Bruce Sherman promised. Miami shelled out $165 million over various contracts, including avoiding arbitration, extensions, and free agent signings. According to Spotrac, only 10 teams spent more than the Marlins this offseason.

These additions, as well as the development of the young talent already in the organization, has many excited. Including Ochocinco:


The Marlins brought in established veterans via free agency and trade, most notably, World Series MVP Jorge Soler. Following his impressive postseason run last season, Soler signed a three-year, $36 million deal in Miami, making him the first Cuban-born player on the active roster since Odrisamer Despaigne in 2018 and 10th all-time.

Miami also brought in Jacob Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. He’ll be the Marlins Opening Day catcher and is poised to help propel these pitchers to the next level. A Gold Glove winner last year, Stallings racked up 42 Defensive Runs Saved over the last three seasons, including 21 DRS in 2021. Marlins starters will benefit from his framing and game-calling abilities.

2. Versatile Roster

The Marlins sought to upgrade up and down the roster, especially considering only four players played more than 100 games last season. And one of those was Magneuris Sierra. Injuries submarined Miami’s efforts throughout 2021. So, adding depth and versatility to the Marlins Opening Day roster was a must.


The Marlins Opening Day roster this season stands out as the deepest the club’s had under in the Sherman era. With all due respect to the 2016 team, this could be the deepest roster top-to-bottom with Don Mattingly as manager.

Miami added versatile utility player Joey Wendle to take over at third base. Wendle can also play at second and shortstop, allowing Mattingly to rest some of his most important players regularly. That’s particularly valuable considering the condensed nature of Spring Training this season.


Avisail Garica provides another proven bat to the lineup who can play multiple positions in the outfield. Brian Anderson moves from Gold Glove-caliber third baseman to potent utility player. Anderson worked in the outfield this spring and could see some spots starts out there. Jon Berti remains on the roster as a super utility option off the bench with blazing speed.

Additions to the bullpen also give Mattingly options in high-leverage situations. Anthony Bender will get the first turn as closer this season since Dylan Floro landed on the 10-day IL to start the season, but there are other relievers who can step in as well. Floro traveled with the team to San Francisco. He’s expected to throw bullpen sessions under the watchful eye of pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

The taxi squad for this trip includes utility player Willans Astudillo and right-handed pitcher Tommy Eveld, who by all reports was a backfield star at Marlins camp this spring.

3. Marlins Opening Day Lineup

Miami needed to upgrade their lineup in order to conceivably contend in 2022. Marlins general manager Kim Ng said multiple times this offseason that the team sought to add bats, taking an offense-first approach. The result? The Marlins projected Opening Day lineup will be the team’s best, most potent collection of hitters since the 2017 season.


Miami languished near the bottom in most offensive metrics last season. The Marlins ranked 29th in RBI (594), Runs (623), Slugging Percentage (.372), and OPS (.670). Miami finished 28th in Home Runs (158) and 27th in Doubles (226).

What’s more, the Marlins managed the second-highest strikeout-rate (26.2 percent) and ranked 24th hitting with Runners-In-Scoring-Position (.239 batting average). The team ranked 16th with RISP and two outs (.224).

The four bats Miami added this offseason look to be significant offensive improvements. Garcia hit .413 with RISP and two outs. Wendle’s managed a .262 average over his career with RISP. Stallings has a .260 batting average with RISP, and Soler sports a career .250 batting average in that situation.

These additions lengthen a lineup that too often featured too many subpar producers last season.

Miguel Rojas led the team in games played (132) and plate appearances (539). Only two other players (Jesus Aguilar, 510, Jazz Chisholm, 507) had more than 500. The next five players on that list now play for other clubs: Adam Duvall (339), Jorge Alfaro (311), Lewis Brinson (290), Isan Diaz (278), and Starling Marte (275).

4. Alcantara Starts Cy Young Case on Opening Day

Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara stands to make his third consecutive Opening Day start. He joins Josh Beckett (03-05) and Josh Johnson (10-12) as the only other players in franchise history to do so. Alcantara enters this one 1-0 on Opening Day, combining for 12.2 innings pitched, with just five hits and one earned run while striking out 14 batters over those two games.

Last season, Alcantara surpassed the 200-innings pitched plateau for the first time in his career. He’s the first Marlins pitcher to do so since Mark Buerhle did it in 2012. He was one of three pitchers in MLB to post over 200 innings pitched and over 200 strikeouts. Alcantara became just the fifth pitcher in franchise history to hit those numbers, joining Al Leiter (1996), Kevin Brown (1997), Ryan Dempster (2000), and A.J. Burnett (2002).

Alcantara made a team-leading and career-high 33 starts in 2021, finishing with a 9-15 record. His 3.19 ERA ranked 15th in MLB last season. Take out the 18 earned runs he surrendered in two starts (5/14 at Dodger Stadium and 8/6 at Coors Field), and Alcantara would have finished with a 2.47 ERA. That figure would’ve tied for the third-best in baseball.

The improved lineup should help Alcantara in one very specific metric: run-support. Last season, Alcantara received 3.09 runs-per-game from his offense. That was the lowest figure of any pitcher with at least 30 starts last season. It was the second-lowest among pitchers making at least 20 starts.

Alcantara has a career record of 17-10 when receiving three or more runs in support of his starts. Unfortunately, he’s received two or fewer runs in 35 of his 78 career starts.

5. Playoffs Within Reach

Marlins fans should be excited on Opening Day because this team is built to make a run at the 2022 playoffs. With an improved lineup, bolstered bullpen, and excellent starting pitching, this team features all the necessary components to make the postseason.

It helps that MLB expanded the playoffs to feature 12 teams (six from each league) instead of the 10 of years past. That leaves three Wild Card spots to fill, and, given relative health, Miami’s built to compete for one of those.

Should the Marlins make the playoffs, their starting pitching should provide the team with an advantage in a shortened three-game series. Miami upset the Chicago Cubs thanks, in part, to solid starting pitching in the 2020 Wild Card round. With a rotation that features Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Rodgers on the front end, the Marlins will be a tough out in any three-game series.

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Here’s More on the Marlins Opening Day Roster:


Marlins prospects Jacksonville

Marlins Prospects on Display in Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Opener

The Miami Marlins saw three of their top-10 prospects take the field for their Triple-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, on Tuesday night. Max Meyer (No. 3 prospect) toed the rubber, while JJ Bleday (No. 6) and Peyton Burdick (No. 10) roamed the outfield. Bleday, it should be noted, got the start in center field, a position of question for the big club.

The Jumbo Shrimp dropped their opener 6-5 to the Worcester Red Sox, in front of 5,907 fans at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville. Despite the loss, the Marlins should come away happy with what they saw, especially from Meyer. Bleday and Burdick both struggled at the plate but played well defensively.

Meyer Looks Good in His First Start of 2022

Meyer enters the 2022 season as MLB Pipeline’s No. 35 prospect overall. The 23-year-old righty impressed with his work this spring, including pitching four perfect frames with five strikeouts in his lone Grapefruit League outing.

Meyer headlines the Marlins prospects in Jacksonville this season and started the 2022 campaign with a solid effort. He retired the first six batters he faced before running into a bit of trouble in the third inning. He surrendered a single to WooSox catcher Conner Wong, who stole second following Meyer’s strikeout of Ryan Fitzgerald. Wong took third on a ground out, then scored on a wild pitch.

Jumbo Shrimp catcher Alex Jackson, who spent time with the Marlins following the trade deadline last season, couldn’t handle Meyer’s slider in the dirt and it skipped past him, allowing Wong to score.

In the fourth inning, Meyer pitched himself into and out of a jam, surrendering just one earned run in the process. He started the frame with a strikeout of Jeter Downs, then hit Triston Casas in the foot on an 0-2 count. Meyer walked the next batter, then surrendered an RBI single to Franchy Cordero, who seemed to be sitting on Meyer’s slider in a 2-1 count.

With runners at the corners and one out, Meyer nearly threw the ball away twice on pick-off attempts, but Lewin Diaz handled the throws. Meyer finished the inning with a strikeout of Christian Stewart and a ground out of Wong.

Meyer finished his first start with five strikeouts, allowing two runs on two hits, with a hit-batsman and a walk. He consistently hit the upper 90s with his fastball and settled around 92 with his slider. Meyer threw 69 pitches, 43 for strikes, including 16 swing-and-misses.

Meyer Handles Red Sox’s Top Prospects

The Marlins lineup in Jacksonville featured three of their top prospects, and the Red Sox countered with the same. The Worcester lineup sported 1B Triston Casas (No. 2 for BOS, No. 16 overall), OF Jarren Duran (BOS No. 4, MLB No. 85), and SS Jeter Downs (BOS No. 6).

The WooSox lineup went Duran-Downs-Casas to start, and Meyer handled each with relative ease. He worked a clean first inning, getting Duran to ground out, striking out Downs after falling behind 3-1 in the count, and inducing a Casas fly out.


Meyer retired Duran and Downs in their second at-bats as well, but hit Casas in his second AB. Meyer was ahead of Casas 0-2 in the count and tried what looked like a changeup which struck Casas in the foot. While both his fastball and slider are Major League-ready, Meyer continues to work on that changeup.

Boston’s top three prospects went 0-5 with six whiffs, two strikeouts, and an HBP against Meyer, who could get another turn against Worcester on Sunday. Meyer made two starts for Jacksonville late last season, posting a 0.90 ERA with 17 strikeouts over 10 innings pitched.

Other Marlins Prospects in Jacksonville Quiet in Opener

The two other top-10 Marlins prospects in Jacksonville, Bleday and Burdick, didn’t fare as well. Burdick hit second in the order and Bleday fifth, with the pair finishing 0-5 combined. They did reach base three times, though, with Burdick scoring on Lewin Diaz’s third-inning double.

Bleday opened his 2022 season with a hit-by-pitch, a riding fastball that came up-and-in. He took the hit on his upper back and seemed fine afterward. In his second at-bat, Bleday flew out to center on a 2-2 count after fouling off a pair of pitches. In the sixth, he popped out to the second baseman on the first pitch following Lorenzo Quintana’s two-run home run. He walked in his final AB of the night.

Bleday started in centerfield, and looked comfortable out there. Jacksonville’s 121 Financial Ballpark sports a 420-foot depth in center, making it the deepest ballpark in the International League by a considerable margin. For reference, loanDepot Park is 400 to center and 386 to left-center.

Bryan De La Cruz seemed slated to start in center for Jacksonville following his option to Triple-A in late March. But De La Cruz was not with the Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, despite being on their roster. With reports that Roman Quinn was not expected to make the team, De La Cruz could start the year as Miami’s fourth outfielder, considering he’s already on the 40-man roster.

Burdick struggled most of the Marlins’ top prospects in Jacksonville. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat, walked, then struck out twice more, including with the tying run on second base and two outs in the seventh inning.

Other Notable Names

The other notable Marlins prospects in Jacksonville included Isan Diaz and Lewin Diaz. Isan started at second base over Bryson Brigman (who entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth). Isan played well defensively, but struck out in all four plate appearances, including twice looking at a called strike three.

Lewin, meanwhile, finished 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a run scored. He was credited for a hit in the sixth on a pop-up that dropped between Worcester’s pitcher and catcher. Lewin played solid defense at first, including handling a pair of errant pick-off throws from Meyer.

The Jumbo Shrimp received a jolt in their lineup from a pair of minor league journeymen, Charles LeBlanc and Lorenzo Quintana. LeBlanc homered and doubled in his Jacksonville debut. The 25-year-old was claimed by the Marlins off waivers from the Texas Rangers organization and started at third base Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Quintana split time between Jacksonville and Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, Sugar Land, last season. Quintana impressed this spring with the Marlins, hitting .333 with a homer, three doubles, and five RBI over eight Grapefruit League games.

Quintana went 1-4 on Tuesday night, with his sixth-inning homer cutting the Jumbo Shrimp deficit to 6-5.


Jacksonville sends left-handed pitcher Braxton Garrett (the Marlins’ No. 21 prospect) to the mound on Wednesday.

Edward Cabrera Not Among the Marlins Prospects in Jacksonville

Right-hander Edward Cabrera ranks as the No. 34 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline and seems ready to contribute to this current Marlins roster, especially following his impressive showing in his lone Grapefruit League start this spring. That said, the Marlins optioned the 23-year-old to Jacksonville in late March.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly wanted Cabrera to continue refining his two-seam fastball, as well as work on locating his breaking balls. A visa issue delayed Cabrera’s start to Spring Training, which likely contributed to his option.

“He’s a guy you could say, ‘You can put him out there and he’s going to be competitive, and it’s going to look OK,’ but there’s development left for him,” Mattingly said late last month.

But on Tuesday, Cabrera was not among the pitchers listed on Jacksonville’s roster, nor was he among the Jumbo Shrimp players introduced on Opening Night.

Elieser Hernandez got hit with a comebacker and exited the team’s last Spring Training game, leading to speculation he may land on the injured list. While reports suggest Hernandez dodged serious injury, the 26-year-old was diagnosed with a forearm contusion.

Cabrera stands among six pitchers on Miami’s 40-man roster currently listed in the minors. He wasn’t among the Marlins prospects in Jacksonville on Tuesday, and Garrett is slated to start tonight for the Jumbo Shrimp. Paul Campbell pitched (poorly) yesterday. Jordan Holloway is on the 40-man and the Jax roster. The others are relievers Tommy Nance and Zach Pop.

There’s a chance Cabrera’s been sent to extended spring training, or he could get a start in the lower minors in an effort to build up his arm. Or maybe he’s getting Hernandez’s spot in the rotation. If Cabrera gets a rotation spot, Hernandez could eventually end up in the Marlins’ rebuilt bullpen.



Marlins Trade

Marlins Trade for Bullpen Help From Baltimore

While the Marlins fanbase clamored for a specific trade, the team did make a deal—just not the one some Fish fans hoped for. On Sunday, the Miami Marlins completed a trade with the Baltimore Orioles to bolster their bullpen, bringing in two relievers with MLB experience. The deal nets Miami LHP Tanner Scott and RHP Cole Sulser for a pair of prospects, a draft pick, and a player-to-be-named-later.

The Marlins continued to tinker with the roster ahead of Opening Day, and used this deal to address a potential weakness in their pitching staff. Miami’s front office remains unwilling to mortgage the future in a potential blockbuster trade, pivoting, instead, to smaller deals in an effort to keep the team competitive this season.

The Return for the Marlins in this Trade

Tanner Scott brings heat to the Marlins bullpen in this trade. His 4-seam fastball averaged 96.8 MPH, and he sat in the 98th percentile in Spin and Whiff percentage in 2021. Scott also sports a sinker and slider combination, with the slider being his strikeout pitch. With the Orioles, Scott posted a 29.4 percent strikeout rate over parts of five seasons.

What’s worrisome about the 27-year-old left-hander is his lack of command. Scott’s control issues led to inconsistencies throughout his career and a terrible 13.6 percent walk rate. In 2021, he threw 10 wild pitches and hit six batters, which contributed to his 5.17 ERA.

Cole Sulser, meanwhile, has less MLB experience (three seasons) despite being older (32). Injuries delayed Sulser’s early development, but following a solid 2021, he was expected to be Baltimore’s closer in 2022. Last season, Sulser posted a 2.70 ERA over 63.1 innings pitched, with an 8.9 percent walk rate and a solid 28.4 percent strikeout rate.

Sulser sports a four-pitch mix with a low-90s fastball, complemented by a changeup, curveball, and slider. He finished 2021 in the 86th percentile in xERA, 85th percentile in xBA, and 83rd percentile in Chase Rate. Sulser tied for the Orioles lead with eight saves (11 opportunities) in 2021.

The Cost for the Fish

This Marlins trade reads as a win-now move. Miami shipped off four assets not part of the Major League team in order to bolster the big club. The team didn’t surrender any of its prized prospects, instead, parting with players Baseball America ranked No. 29 and No. 34 in their system. The draft pick Miami flipped to the Orioles amounts to a third-round selection, and who knows the future value of the infamous player-to-be-named-later.

Outfielder Kevin Guerrero ranked higher among the two prospects headed to Baltimore in this Marlins trade. Guerrero was part of Miami’s 2020-21 international signing class and played with the Marlins’ Dominican Summer League team. At 17-year-old, Guerrero’s still several years away from the big leagues, and his future depends largely upon the development of his 6’3” frame.

Velez, meanwhile, is closer to MLB action but hasn’t pitched higher than Double-A so far. There’s an outside chance he sees a spot-start here or there for the Orioles this summer, but the 25-year-old wasn’t going to contribute to the Marlins any time soon. Undrafted out of Florida State, Velez sports great control and a solid changeup and was slated to start 2022 with Double-A Pensacola.

To fit Scott and Sulser on the 40-man roster, the Marlins designated Nick Neidert for assignment. The team also placed Sean Guenther on the 60-day IL. Miami optioned Neidert to Jacksonville last week and announced he’ll transition to a relief role.

Marlins Trade Upgrades Bullpen

This Marlins trade should indicate the dual nature of the team’s approach to the 2022 season. Miami added offense this offseason to boost a flagging lineup. They remained engaged on multiple fronts to improve further via free agency or trade. The front office clearly sees this group on the cusp of playoff contention but stood steadfast on what they felt were unreasonable demands from other clubs in trade talks.

All this shows the team wants to win this season, but not at the expense of an extended window of contention.

The deal with Baltimore immediately bolsters the bullpen, the Marlins’ glaring weakness entering 2022. In acquiring Scott and Sulser, Miami added a pair of potentially high-leverage arms with low-cost and MLB experience.

Both should immediately see better results pitching at home, considering they’re leaving one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in Camden Yards. They also have plenty of experience dealing with stacked lineups coming from the AL East. The pitcher-friendly confines of loanDepot park should accentuate some of their better attributes, as both relievers tend to keep the ball in the park.

Scott likely becomes a situational lefty out of the ‘pen. He’s particularly adept at inducing ground balls (52.9 percent in 2021), which plays the strength of Miami’s defense. As long as he keeps his walks down, he should be a suitable middle reliever with high-leverage upside.

Sulser’s experience closing games should provide Marlins manager Don Mattingly with another option early this season with Dylan Floro potentially starting on the IL. For his career, he has a 3.18 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, 13 saves, and seven holds. Sulser should become a regular part of the backend rotation for this bullpen and is particularly effective against lefties.

Building the Bullpen

For the Marlins, this trade adds a pair of experienced arms to the bullpen. They join right-handers Anthony Bender, Anthony Bass, Louis Head, and Zach Pop, along with lefties Richard Bleier and Steven Okert.

If the Marlins opt to keep 10 relievers to start the season, that means non-roster invitees Shawn Armstrong and Grant Dayton are in the mix. Potential long relievers include Daniel Castano, Paul Campbell, and Cody Poteet.

While unlikely at this point, adding a free agent reliever could further bolster the bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal is among the names drawing interest around the league. However, the former closer didn’t pitch at all in 2021.