The Miami Marlins made fans, and perhaps more importantly, one of their top prospects very happy on Thursday night. The team posted a video of Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp manager Daren Brown relaying the news to Max Meyer that he’d received the call to pitch at the MLB level with the Marlins.
Meyer recently worked his way back from a ulnar nerve irritation injury before getting this well-desvered call. He will reportedly make the start for the Marlins on Saturday at home versus the Philadelphia Phillies, a team Miami’s chasing the in the Wild Card race.
Marlins (Finally) Call Up Max Meyer
The Marlins find themselves three games back of the final NL Wild Card spot after splitting a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. Miami (43-45) continues to deal with injuries and ineffectiveness among their pitchers outside of Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, which only added to many Marlins fans clamoring for Meyer’s call. The timing here coincides with a pivotal three-game series with the Phillies before the All-Star break.
Max Meyer finally getting the call from the Marlins puts one of baseball’s top pitching prospects on display. MLB Pipeline lists Meyer as Miami’s No. 2 prospect, behind only 19-year-old phenom Eury Perez. He’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 21 prospect overall.
With Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer dominated competition for stretches of the season. His first six starts the season, prior to the issues surrounding his injury, saw Meyer post a 1.72 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched. He allowed just six earned runs over those six starts, registering 39 strikeouts along the way. Meyer handled Atlanta Braves slugger Ronald Acuña Jr. during that stretch.
It’s clear that the ulnar nerve irritation, which eventually landed him on the IL, affected his next two starts. Meyer adjusted his approach and mechanics to deal with the discomfort, ultimately to disappointing results. But after a month to heal and recuperate, Meyer found his form once again with Jacksonville.
During his rehab stint in Jupiter, Meyer told MLB.com: “I’ll get my shot, and I’ll be up there for a long time.”
In the four starts before this Marlins promotion, Max Meyer looked ready. He went 18.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and just four earned runs (1.96 ERA). Opponents managed a meager .119 batting average against in those starts.
Meyer’s Path to the Majors
The Marlins selected Max Meyer with the third overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Minnesota. He was the first pitcher off the draft board and started his time in Miami’s system with Double-A Pensacola in 2021. (There was no minor league season in 2020.)
With the Blue Wahoos, Meyer earned the Double-A South Most Outstanding Pitcher award. He did so following a season where he registered a 2.41 ERA and 113 strikeouts over 101 innings.
In 2022, Meyer made 12 starts for Triple-A Jacksonville, posting a 3.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 65 strikeouts over 58 innings. He averaged 10.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, registering a 28.4 percent strikeout rate along the way. He induced ground balls at a 50 percent rate this season, and kept his walk rate to just 8.3 percent.
In his 35 minor league starts, Meyer pitched to a 2.77 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, recording 199 strikeouts in those games.
Meyer sports a repertoire of three pitches, including a dominant, wipe-out slider many scouts called the single best pitch in the 2020 draft. His fastball velocity sits in the mid-to-upper-90s and has touched triple digits. This third pitch is a changeup, which the organization wanted to see him develop ahead of his promotion.
There’s been some talk of Meyer ultimately being a bullpen arm, but the Marlins maintain they view him as a rotation piece.
“I see Max as a starting pitcher,” Marlins amateur scouting director DJ Svihlik said on Wednesday. “We knew when we selected Max, there was that reliever-starter conversation. Any starter of that caliber with that kind of two-pitch combination can go into the back of a bullpen.”
Svihlik did note: “I see Max as a playoff starter.”
A spot on Miami’s 40-man roster opened recently when the Baltimore Orioles claimed reliever Louis Head off waivers. The Marlins need to add Meyer to the 40-man prior to his scheduled start on Saturday.
The Miami Marlins (39-41) had their six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Angels (38-45) came to play for a cross-league series.
Miami split the two game series, winning Game 1 by a score of 2-1 and losing Game 2 by a score of 5-2.
The stars were showcased during those two games as a couple of perennial all-stars, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, came to town to play against the fish.
The seats at LoanDepot Park were filled up which was a surprise for a midweek series. But also, how could you not watch these once in a lifetime players in person? There were many Japanese fans that showed out to the park to not only watch Ohtani, but also because the Marlins were celebrating Japanese Heritage Night during Tuesday’s game.
Although the Marlins didn’t get the series sweep, it was still a very entertaining couple of games to watch from both sides.
Here are five takeaways from the series.
Sandy paints another masterpiece
Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara had another one of his lights out performances.
Alcantara took the mound in the first game of the two-game series and he knew that this wasn’t going to be particularly easy.
Although Alcantara was facing an Angels offense that suffered the most strikeouts per game in the MLB at 9.66, he still had to get through Trout and Ohtani.
Of course for Alcantara, that was not a problem.
Alcantara ended up having arguably his best outing of his career where he pitched through eight innings, gave up just two hits, and struck out 10. Out of those 10 strikeouts, two were to Trout. Ohtani didn’t have a hit as well against Alcantara.
If you’re fooling those two talents even during the third time through the order, then that’s when you know there’s something special.
Alcanatra continues to make his case for the National League Cy Young Award and he is pretty much the favorite at this point in time if he keeps putting up these incredible numbers.
Garrett Cooper is slowly becoming one of baseball’s best hitters
Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper is the definition of consistent.
Game after game, Cooper has been big for Miami when they needed that big hit or a ball in play.
And the numbers show that he’s been getting better and better as the season progresses. Cooper’s batting average has increased to an incredible .311 which ranks as the 12th-highest in baseball. His on-base percentage of .377 puts him ninth in the National League.
Although Cooper didn’t have a great two games, only producing one hit, he did come up clutch when the Marlins needed him.
In the bottom of the third inning during Game 1, Cooper hit a 3-2 pitch just over the left field wall for a home run that gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
During the first inning of Game 2, Cooper hit a sacrifice fly that also gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
It just goes to show that when the Marlins need him, Cooper produces the big hit.
Marlins shutdown Trout
Miami didn’t let Trout get hot during his short stay in Miami.
The three-time MVP was just 1-for-7 and struck out four times during the two-game series.
It’s definitely odd to see a player of that caliber struggle that much over those couple of games. It’s like he couldn’t see the ball well at LoanDepot Park, but he did say the same exact thing in Houston during their last series where he struggled to hit the ball as well.
Maybe it has nothing to do with Miami’s pitchers and has more to do with himself. Miami’s lucky that they got scheduled to play the Angels during a time where Trout is cold because if he was playing like his usual self, I don’t see how the Marlins split the series.
I’m not discrediting the Marlins pitching staff by any means, but seeing a player like Trout have those struggles at the plate makes you wonder how much of a factor is his mental approach as opposed to the pitcher he’s going up against.
There’s no answers when facing Ohtani
The Marlins offense looked clueless against Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani. I mean CLUELESS.
The only time the batters really got to Ohtani was in the first inning where they racked up a couple of hits and ended the inning with a 1-0 lead.
At that point, many were probably thinking that the offense had a plan against Ohtani and maybe they could get him out of the game before six innings.
Well, the opposite of that ended up happening.
Ohtani pitched seven innings and struck out 10 batters while allowing just two hits and no earned runs. During that span, Ohtani managed to retire 15 straight Marlins hitters.
I mean, Ohtani’s tough for a hitter to figure out. He’s got five pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, cutter, and splitter.
The splitter is his strikeout pitch and is arguably one of the best in baseball. Hitters are batting just .115 against that pitch and it doesn’t help that Ohtani also throws a 100 mph fastball. Having those two combined, along with the curveball and slider, makes it tough for any hitter to have success against this generational talent.
“He never seems to get rattled”, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about Ohtani. “Pretty impressive tonight seeing him for the first time.”
The winning streak comes to an end
Miami’s winning streak has sadly come to a close.
Their six-game winning streak started back when they won against St. Louis, the Washington Nationals for four games, and the Angels during the first game of this series.
Although their winning streak came to an end, there’s still a ton of positive things that came out of it.
First, Miami has gained some serious ground in the race for that final Wild Card spot. The Marlins are now just three games back of that spot which is crazy because last week, all people were thinking was to trade our players and start fresh for the next season.
Will the Marlins actually become buyers at the trade deadline? It’s something that Marlins fans aren’t very used to seeing.
After the winning streak came to an end, Miami is just two games back of .500. A record they haven’t seen since April.
But, if the Marlins want to make it to the postseason, they’ll have to start beating teams that are above .500. Because that’s where the real test is at. And they definitely can’t afford losing a series against a poor team.
Miami’s up for a big test as they head to New York against the Mets (51-31) for a four-game series from Thursday through Sunday.
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https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/CAP_2510-1-scaled.jpg17582560Aidan Gallardohttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgAidan Gallardo2022-07-07 17:07:562022-07-07 17:07:565 Takeaways from the Marlins Series Split vs. Angels
The Miami Marlins completed a minor trade with the San Francisco Giants on their off day. The team acquired 25-year-old utility player Luke Williams in exchange for Double-A second baseman Hayden Cantrelle.
This comes as the Marlins travel to Atlanta ahead of a pivotal three-game set with the Braves. Miami finds itself mired in an extended rough patch and remains in danger of falling too far behind in the Wild Card race if these struggles continue.
Marlins Make Minor Trade
The Marlins completed a minor trade deal on Thursday, picking up another super-utility player for the roster. The 25-year-old Williams comes to Miami with a .245/.308/.318 slash line over 120 career plate appearances with the Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. Williams hit .250, with a .583 OPS, over eight games with San Francisco before being designated-for-assignment to create room on their 40-man roster.
Williams becomes just the next in a long line of recent acquisitions and call-ups with positional versatility. With the Phillies in 2021, Williams played seven different positions (everything but pitcher and catcher). The Giants had him man third base and left field this season.
Williams seems cut from a similar cloth as Jon Berti, a light-hitting super-utility player known for his speed. He has just six career extra-base hits, but sports solid plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. Williams holds a 20.2 percent strikeout rate for his minor league career, and a 22.5 percent rate at the MLB level.
Perhaps most interestingly, Williams comes to the Marlins with all three minor league options intact. The Giants DFA’d him without using an option, which added to his trade value.
The Marlins sent 23-year-old minor league second baseman Hayden Cantrelle to San Francisco to complete this trade. Cantrelle came to the Marlins via trade two months ago, as part of the Alex Jackson deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he started well for Double-A Pensacola, hitting three homers in his first six games, Cantrelle logged just a .185 batting average with the Blue Wahoos this season and a 36.4 percent strikeout rate.
This move reads like an organizational depth play, especially considering the recent spate of injuries in the middle infield. Williams will start with Triple-A Jacksonville and could be called up the next time there’s an MLB fill-in need.
Marlins Recent Struggles
The Marlins absorbed a two-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, dropping yet another one-run game. Their rally fell short, 5-4, saddling the Fish with their league-high 14th one-run loss. Miami’s played in more one-run contests (20) than any other team in MLB.
Over their last 20 games, the Marlins sport a 6-14 record, tied for the worst mark in the league. Miami’s dropped five of their last six series and seem rudderless at the plate of late.
The Marlins have really struggled in Late and Close situations (defined as a game in the seventh inning or later, and the batting team is either leading by one run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck). In that situation, Miami’s hitting a league-worst .182 and has posted a league-worst .491 OPS.
Their metrics with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP) rank only slightly higher. For the season, the Marlins rank 25th hitting with RISP (.223). Their .659 OPS in that spot ranks 24th. With RISP and two outs, Miami’s hitting .205 (22nd). The team strands 3.6 runners in scoring position per game, the third-highest mark in MLB and highest in the NL.
The Marlins averaged just three runs per game over their last six, where they went 1-5 (with four one-run losses).
Marlins Roster Shuffle Following Minor Trade
Following the Marlins minor trade for Luke Williams, the team’s 40-man roster page got something of a refresh. 42 players occupy the page, but two of those, Joe Dunand and Erik Gonzalez, likely received their call-up via MLB’s COVID roster exemption. To create space for Williams on the 40-man, the Marlins transferred RHP Paul Campbell from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
Miami activated both Richard Bleier and Joey Wendle from the 10-day IL today and optioned Dunand, Gonzalez, and catcher Payton Henry to Triple-A. The Marlins selected the contract of Willians Astudillo from Jacksonville when Anthony Bender landed on the IL this week. Astudillo is another player with positional versatility and MLB experience. He also has experience at catcher.
The Marlins enter a stretch of 10 games in 10 days, which each contest coming against teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Luke-Williams.jpg13652048David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-05-26 19:45:002022-05-26 19:45:00Marlins Make Minor Trade Amid Struggles
The Miami Marlins saw their seven-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, but the team still took two-of-three from the Seattle Mariners to win their third-straight series. Miami’s recent run of success included stellar starting pitching and timely hitting, but those elements were notably absent in Sunday’s 7-3 loss.
The Marlins find themselves in second place in the NL East with a 12-9 record. They’ve gone 8-2 against division opponents and 10-8 against all National League opponents thus far. Over their last 10 games overall, Miami’s 8-2, with a .243 team batting average and a 2.93 team ERA. The Marlins have outscored opponents by 10 runs over that span.
Luzardo Impressive in Marlins Win Over Mariners
Entering the season, the frontend of Miami’s starting rotation looked very much like the team’s top strength. And while there are some questions regarding who should be part of the backend of this rotation, Jesus Luzardo continued to make his case in the Marlins series win over the Mariners.
Luzardo tossed a season-high six innings in Miami’s 3-1 victory on Saturday. The 24-year-old lefty lowered his ERA to 3.10 after allowing just two hits and one earned run. He struck out five in the process, surrendering two walks.
— 7 straight victories for the first time since 2016 — Jesús Luzardo’s 34.1% K rate is 6th-best among #MLB starters with at least 20 IP — Only blown save so far this season came on Opening Day pic.twitter.com/Yu4bShVe8G
Luzardo’s strikeout rate now sits at 34.1 percent for the season, putting him squarely in MLB’s top-10 for that metric. Credit for the improved strikeout rate goes in large part to increased velocity from Luzardo. Baseball Savant notes a 1.8 MPH increase in his fastball velocity, which checks in as the seventh-highest gain year-to-year among pitchers.
The biggest key for Luzardo has been locating his pitches and working ahead of hitters in order to get to his breaking ball, which he’s thrown 44.2 percent of the time. He’s registered 20 of his 28 strikeouts on his curveball so far this season.
Soler Starting to Find Success
One of the Miami’s top free agent additions, Jorge Soler, started to find more consistent success during the Marlins series win over the Mariners. The 30-year-old slugger crushed a Matt Brash four-seam fastball an estimated 468 feet on Friday (MLB’s third-longest home run of the season). The hit rocketed off Soler’s bat at 117.6 mph.
On Sunday, Soler had his first multi-hit game since April 22nd, and just his third of the season. His RBI single in the seventh inning beat the Mariners’ shift, then he followed that with his second homer of the series in the ninth. Over his past 10 games, Soler is 9-for-39 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.
Soler found success for the Marlins connecting on fastball offerings from Mariners pitchers, but he continues to struggle with offspeed pitches. Soler’s hitting just .100 on offspeed stuff. But there’s some bad luck mixed in to those results, because when he makes contact, his expected batting average in those spots is .337.
Marlins’ Garcia Remains Unlucky vs Mariners
Miami’s other major offseason addition, Avisail Garcia, continues to struggle at the plate, but some of those struggles can be attributed to bad luck as well.
On Sunday, Garcia’s liner with two runners on rocketed to right field with an exit velocity of 99.6. Off the bat, it had an expected batting average of .470, but was caught to end the inning. Something similar happened to Garcia in Washington, when a pair of batted balls failed to find the grass. Garcia had a flyout that 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 in that game. Earlier in that same contest, Garcia had a flyout with a 101.4 exit velocity and a .610 expected batting average.
Garica’s average exit velocity sits at 91.3 mph, which would be a career-high for him. That figure puts him in the 80th percentile among MLB hitters, and his 12.2 barrel percentage is nearly double the MLB average at this point.
Although his 1.4 walk-rate stands in the bottom one percent of the league, his .271 batting-average-on-balls-in-play (BABIP) shows additional bad luck, considering his actual batting average sits at .194.
Marlins Still Middling with RISP
Although the Marlins lost to the Mariners 7-3 on Sunday, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. Miami stranded 12 runners on base in the loss, and managed to go just 2-for-9 with runners-in-scoring-position. The Marlins were better in that metric in their two wins over the Mariners, going 5-for-10 on Friday and 2-for-7 on Saturday.
Still, the 24 stranded runners continues a worrying trend for the Fish. Although Miami ranks fifth in team on-base percentage in the NL (.325), following Sunday’s loss, the Marlins now check in with the fourth-most stranded runners so far this season (163) and second-most in the NL.
With runners-in-scoring-position, the Marlins rank 22nd in batting average (.223) and 20th in OPS (.696). Miami’s top average in that spot belongs to Joey Wendle (.462, 6-for-13), while Jesus Sanchez (9) and Jazz Chisholm Jr. (9) have driven in the most runs.
Alcantara Struggles for Marlins vs Mariners
The Marlins had their staff ace taking the mound with a chance to secure the team’s second consecutive sweep. But with the loss, Miami saw their season-long winning streak end at seven. They remain the only franchise in MLB history without a 10-game winning streak to its credit.
Sandy Alcantara took the mound for the Marlins on Sunday, starting opposite the Mariners’ ace Logan Gilbert. But instead of a pitcher’s duel, Alcantara struggled through his worst outing of the season. The 26-year-old righty surrendered a season-high five earned runs, which matched his total for the month of April.
Alcantara gave up two home runs and walked four batters. It was the third time this year he’s walked at least three. Last season, he walked 2.2 batters per nine innings. This season, that figure’s nearly doubled (4.1). Although he’s surrendered three homers already this season, he’s still at 0.9 HR/9, which is equal to his rate over the last two seasons.
Alcantara’s struggles with command have pushed his walk-rate to 11.3 percent, his highest such rate since 2018 (his second year). Last season, Alcantara’s walk-rate finished at a career-low 6.0 percent. The lack of command has also resulted in fewer strikeouts and a lower strike percentage (62.0). His pitches-per-inning (15.3) and pitches-per-plate-appearance (3.83) are both up as well.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FRol2X5UUAAfn6c-scaled.jpeg17062560David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-05-02 13:07:312022-05-02 13:33:445 Takeaways from Marlins Series Win v Mariners
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.
Marlins starting pitchers have allowed one total run over 20.0 innings in the last three games (0.45 ERA): Sandy Alcantara – 8.0 IP, 0 R vs. STL Pablo Lopez – 7.0 IP, 0 R vs. STL Trevor Rogers – 5.0 IP, 1 R at ATL
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.
HUGE hit by Jesus Sanchez cold off the bench here in the 7th right after Miggy was hit in the face by a pitch. Now 3-1 after 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.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/USATSI_18163952_168398071_lowres-scaled.jpg18402560David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-04-28 18:42:452022-04-28 19:43:295 Takeaways from the Marlins Sweep in D.C.
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.
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
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Marlins-series-Braves.jpg7201280David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-04-25 14:32:252022-04-25 20:19:34Marlins Take First Road Series from Braves
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).
Pablo López has faced Albert Pujols 3 times in his career — all tonight.
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.
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:
Phil Cuzzi tries to rush Jazz Chisholm Jr. into the box.
Jazz looks at him and gives him the “chill, dude” hands.
Yadier Molina tries to get his pitcher to quick pitch, but he doesn’t.
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.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/USATSI_18129364_168398071_lowres.jpg12871947David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-04-22 12:47:392022-04-22 12:48:055 Takeaways from Marlins First Home Stand
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.
OF Ronald Acuña Jr. will begin a major league rehabilitation assignment tonight with Triple-A @GoStripers in Jacksonville against the Jumbo Shrimp.
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.
Ronald Acuña Jr. looking like his old self in his rehab stint 🚀
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.
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.
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Meyer-v-Acuna.jpeg9221639David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-04-20 10:45:542022-04-20 11:18:34Meyer, Marlins Prospects Face Acuña in All-Star’s Rehab Start
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
https://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/Marlins-series-Phillies.jpg7201280David Fernandezhttps://www.fivereasonssports.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveReasonsWebsiteLogo.svgDavid Fernandez2022-04-18 18:32:272022-04-19 10:54:00Marlins Take First Home Series from Phillies
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.