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Marlins vs Rays Takeaways

Miami Marlins baseball is back! On Opening Weekend, the Fish found themselves slated against the defending AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays. Although the Marlins dropped 2 of the 3 games at home, there is a lot to be excited about in Miami going forward in 2021. Here are my main takeaways from the first weekend of Marlins baseball:

 

Marlins Pitching

With high amounts of well-deserved hype surrounding the Marlins young pitching staff, they somehow exceeded expectations. Let’s take a look at the 3 starters who got the ball this weekend and the revamped bullpen.

Sandy Alcantara

Sandy proved his ace status this weekend, pitching 6 strong innings giving up just 2 hits and no runs. He dominated an extremely potent Rays lineup on Opening Day, leaving the game tied up 0-0 going into the 7th. He looked to be in midseason form, as he generated 7 strikeouts during his outing and 15 strikes swinging. It’s a shame such a masterpiece had to go down as a no-decision, but his counterpart Tyler Glasnow pitched just as well. If Sandy continues to pitch on this level, the Marlins will be in great shape going forwards

Pablo Lopez

Pablo Lopez is not a flashy pitcher, but he gets the job done continuously. Much like Sandy, Pablo shut down the Rays over his 5 innings of work, allowing 0 runs on 2 hits with 4 strikeouts. I would have liked to have seen him work for another inning or two, but with the Marlins held scoreless through 14 innings at the time, the pinch hitter seemed almost necessary. If Pablo can pitch past the 5th inning consistently this season, he will show his continued development as a number 2 man on a playoff team in the future. 

Elieser Hernandez

Hernandez allowed 2 runs in his 2.1 innings on a 2-run bomb off the bat of Mike Zunino. A simple cross up between Wallach and Hernandez allowed this to happen the pitch before, so his actual pitching isn’t too worrisome. What is worrisome is that he left the game early due to bicep inflammation. It is unclear how long he will be out due to this injury, but hopefully he can get back to his normal form soon.

Bullpen

Oh boy. The “revamped” Miami bullpen is the sole reason this team is not 2-1. In their combined 10.2 innings of work, they have allowed 11 runs, including the 4-run blown save by Anthony Bass in game 2. Look, these numbers aren’t great, but it is not too alarming. It takes time for a bullpen to become a cohesive unit, especially when most of the guys are in new situations. On a positive note, after poor performances in their first outings, Yimi Garcia and Anthony Bass bounced back in their next games. As they settle in, this bullpen will get more and more stable as time progresses.

 

Marlins Hitting

In what seemed to be a flashback to the early Miami days, the Marlins were shutout for the first 14 innings of the 2021 season. Their offensive struggles seemed to carry right on over from 2020. In the 6th inning of Friday’s ballgame they finally woke up. So much so, that the Marlins actually outscored the Rays 16-14 through the 3-game series. Starling Marte, Jazz Chisholm, and Garrett Cooper led the way. 

Marte

After going 0-4 with 4 (!!!) strikeouts on Opening Day, Starling Marte showed why he is the main bat in this lineup. In games 2 and 3 he went 7-10 striking out 0 times. A full season of Starling Marte means a full season of games like these. He has been this player his entire career and will be the backbone of this offensive force going forwards.

Chisholm

The blue-haired phenom. The face of a young Marlins team. Jazz Chisholm may be 2 for 10 to start the season, but his impact is much greater than what is visible on the stat sheet. He brings energy to a lineup that was previously lacking. He fits in with the small ball mentality Mattingly continues to utilize (evident through his magical trip around the bases on Saturday night). As he continues to get more at-bats and become more and more comfortable as an every day MLB player, the sky’s the limit.

Cooper

After all of the controversy regarding how Cooper would fit in the lineup going into this season, he made his name known on Saturday. A very poor performance Friday night in which he left 5 runners on-base going 0-4 with a K started his season on a bad note; however, on Saturday we saw the real Garrett Cooper: 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs and a solo homer. The decision at first base may get tougher and tougher if he continues to produce like this. 

 

Outlook for Marlins

 

Regardless of the result, the Marlins look better than expected. The lineup looks strong, the starting pitching is as advertised, and the bullpen is developing. They went head-to-head with one of the best teams in baseball and completed all 3 games.

 

Now, the Marlins look forward to a 3-game set against the Cardinals. The Fish start Trevor Rogers, Sandy Alcantara, and Pablo Lopez versus the Cardinals’ Ponce de Leon, John Gant, and Jack Flaherty. With an extremely tough schedule lined up at home versus Saint Louis, and away against the Mets and Braves, this will prove to be the first test of many. The “Bottom Feeders” will be ready.

 

Follow me on twitter @chasechrisjr for more Miami Marlins coverage.

Marlins Trade for John Curtiss

The Marlins made another impressive move the other day, going out and trading for John Curtiss. Curtiss, who helped lead the Rays to an AL Championship this past season, had a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA last season. Although he stumbled in the postseason, the Marlins have added another quality arm to their bullpen. With Detwiler, Cimber, Bass, Floro, and now Curtiss added to the mix, the bullpen looks strong headed into the 2021 season (at least stronger than it was last year). 

Curtiss Makes Marlins ‘Pen Even More Stable

Curtiss provides even more stability to the Marlins bullpen and could be a key piece in a well-balanced bullpen. In his 2/17 press conference Don Mattingly expressed how reliant the Marlins will be on pitching this season, maybe even more so than last year. Now, with an elite starting rotation and a solid bullpen to back it up, this season and its future are looking much brighter in Miami.

Marlins Bullpen Depth Looks Good

Miami’s bullpen is now the strongest it has been in a long time. The depth they have is unprecedented for the Marlins and when combined with Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo on most nights, could be the deciding factor in high caliber games versus the strong NL East. The Marlins have solidified themselves as a top 20 team at this point, but their in-division competition may make it look otherwise. 

Overall Takeaway

It looks like Miami is pushing to compete this season. Regardless of the outcome, they have made extremely solid moves in an attempt to win. For a young Marlins team, the goal is to perform better this year than last; however, that may just mean the bats start working and the pitching is good, not necessarily a playoff berth. That is all Miami can ask for, and now, all that is left is to see how it pans out.

Tough Loss for the Marlins

Yesterday, the Marlins played the Rays in their series finale. Trevor Rogers took the hill for the Marlins against Tyler Glasnow of the Rays. After a series of missed opportunities for the Marlins, the Rays ended up walking it off with a 5-4 win in the 10th. The Marlins competed but lacked the extra fire to steal a win when they could have. 

What more can the pitching do?

 

Trevor Rogers is a 22-year-old kid who pitched 6 innings of 3 run baseball against arguably the best team in the American League. Brad Boxberger and Yimi Garcia combined for 3 scoreless innings. Allowing 3 runs over 9 innings shouldn’t be a guaranteed loss for any team, but for this Marlins squad every night it looks more and more like it’s the case. The pitching shows up and puts the Marlins in a position where they can win, but the hitting falls short. 

What is going on with the hitting?

 

Starling Marte hit a 2-run bomb in the first, but past that, the bats were quiet. The dichotomy between this team earlier in this season and now is evident. Lately, the Marlins have struggled to play small ball, resulting in lost opportunities and lost games. Before the 10th inning last night, the Marlins had a runner on 2nd base with nobody out in the 8th and 9th innings. In both cases, the Marlins failed to even move the runner over to third. I’m guessing Don Mattingly will not be happy with that sequence of events. 

Tough losses can have silver linings

 

Jazz Chisolm finally got on the board with his first MLB hit! Congratulations to him as he navigates his first few weeks in the bigs. He looks like an extremely talented young player who has fun on the field and loves what he is doing. Jazz Chisholm and Brian Anderson made two of the team’s best defensive plays back-to-back yesterday, which was good to see.

What’s next?

 

The Marlins need to pick up the pace if they are going to make a run for the playoffs. They can start doing so today against the Braves, where Jose Urena makes his season debut against the Braves’ Ian Anderson.

Marlins Finally Beat Rays

The Marlins and Rays faced off in game 2 of a 3 game series at Tampa Bay. Coming into last night’s game, the Rays were 4-0 against the Marlins on the season. With their ace Blake Snell on the mound, they looked to up it to 5. Sandy Alcantara and a slowly-waking up Marlins’ lineup had something to say about it. The Marlins won 7-3, improving to 17-17, while the Rays dropped to 27-13 on the year.

Sandy is back!

Since coming off his stint on the IL from COVID-19, Sandy Alcantara has had two starts: both against the Rays. The starts have been “A Tale of Two Cities”- esque. In his first start back a little under a week ago, he allowed 5 earned runs in 4 innings pitched while only striking out 2 in a 7-12 Rays win. Last night, Sandy allowed 1 earned run on 6 innings pitched while striking out 8. Without a doubt, Sandy getting back to ace-level will play a major factor for the Marlins the rest of the season. The bullpen looked fine allowing 2 earned over 3 innings of combined work. Luckily for them, this was the first game in a while where the hitting wasn’t totally dependent on them.

Are the bats FINALLY waking up?

I know one 7 run game shouldn’t be enough to ask this question, but that now marks two games in a row scoring 4 or more runs against one of the best teams in the league. Scoring 4 or more tomorrow would tie our longest streak of the season scoring that many runs. Corey Dickerson keeps having stellar at-bats, hitting a 2-run home run to propel the Marlins’ bats forwards. Matt Joyce came up with a clutch with a 2-out 2-RBI single to break it open.

Looking Ahead for the Marlins

The Marlins take on the Rays in the series finale today at 1:10 PM. Trevor Rogers (1-0, 2.00 ERA) takes the mound versus Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.24 ERA). It should be a good display of young pitching. Every game remains important for the Marlins as more and more time passes.

Marlins Lose Close Battle with Rays

The Marlins started another series with the first-place Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. Pablo Lopez took the mound for the Fish to start the series versus Josh Fleming of the Rays. The Rays ended up taking a 5-4 victory over the Marlins, upping their season record to 4-0 on the Marlins. The Fish now sit at 16-17, and the Rays up their record 27-12. 

Pitching

Pablo Lopez faltered after a solid start to the season, allowing 5 earned runs in 4 innings pitched capped off with a bases-clearing double off of the bat of Michael Perez. The bullpen remained strong and didn’t allow a single run over their combined 4 innings of work. The hitting couldn’t overcome the 5 runs scored by the Rays, which is a trend I’ve touched upon a lot for this team. The offense is so reliant on the defense that any misstep on the latter’s end leads to a loss.

Hitting

Granted, the offense almost pulled it off. Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar hit solo home runs early on off of Fleming, and Jon Berti came up with a clutch 2-run double. The Marlins left 12 on base and struggled to put anything else on the board. The hitting needs to step up their game if the marlins want to sneak into the playoffs in the Wild Card spot. 

A Look at the NL East

Looking at the NL East, the Atlanta Braves are running away with the division. A 9-1 run by the Phillies has propelled them into a commanding 2nd place position. This means the Marlins are on pace for a Wild Card berth. Although this is obviously a reach, the Marlins are 2/2 on World Series wins, both of which they entered the playoffs as a Wild Card. 

A Look Ahead

Looking ahead, the Marlins play tonight versus the Rays. Sandy Alcantara will take the mound for the Marlins and Blake Snell will pitch for the Rays. Sandy looks to erase his sub-par start last week versus the Rays.

Se perdió el romanticismo en las Grandes Ligas

Se acabó el romanticismo en el beisbol de Grandes Ligas.

Yonny Chirinos estaba lanzando no hit no run en su última salida con los Rays de Tampa tras cinco entradas de labor.

Leandro Soto, de Cinco Razones Podcast, se encontraba presente en el Tropicana Field, la última parada de su viaje por el fin de semana de Memorial Day, disfrutando de la victoria parcial del equipo de casa.

Los Rays ganaban cuatro a cero en la parte alta del sexto episodio, cuando Leandro, de carácter volátil, se dio cuenta que era el relevista Oliver Drake quien vendría a lanzar.

“Me levanté y me fui,” dijo Leandro sobre ese momento.

Para Leandro y para muchos fans que estuvieron en el estadio ese día, era incomprensible que el manager Kevin Cash sacara al lanzador abridor cuando apenas tenía 69 lanzamientos, y no había permitido ni un imparable.

Cada vez es mas difícil enamorar a los fanáticos jóvenes en los Estados Unidos. Y momentos así, no ayudan a convencer a aquellos indiferentes.

Drake permitió un imparable del primer bateador que enfrentó, y así, se acabó la magia que enmarca la posibilidad de ver un no-hitter en vivo.

Cambios en el beisbol moderno y menos romanticismo

El beisbol está atravesando un momento en el que muchas de sus bases están tambaleando en búsqueda de atraer a nuevas audiencias.

Los equipos, por su parte, siguen buscando maneras de maximizar sus inversiones y convertirlas en victorias, aunque esto no sea lo más atractivo para los fanáticos.

¿Se está perdiendo el romanticismo en el beisbol como dice Leandro? ¿Hay manera de hacer que los fanáticos vayan a los estadios, ganar, y que las nuevas audiencias se enganchen con el deporte?

Anoche, los Marlins hicieron algo similar, al retirar a Trevor Richards con una amplia ventaja, luego de siete innins de labor, con 92 pitcheos. Hace 30 años un lanzador abridor en esa circunstancia probablemente pedía seguir en el encuentro a ver si lograba completar los nueve episodios.

Eso ya no se valora tanto.

O mejor dicho, se prefiere cuidar los brazos de los lanzadores.

Ese es el romanticismo que se ha perdido, en cierta forma.

 

Ese fue el tema de discusión en el capítulo 36 de Cinco Razones Podcast, con Ricardo Montes de Oca, Alejandro Villegas, quien redacta este texto, y Leandro Soto, aún molesto por lo vivido en Tampa, que además incluyó ver el shift de cuatro outfielders en vivo:

 

Leandro Soto se ha dedicado a acosar a todos los managers contrarios que han visitado el Marlins Park para preguntarles lo mismo: porqué y cómo utilizan las formaciones defensivas. A eso, él le ha llamado #TheShiftChronicles… 

Tropicana Field lights out in Yankees-Rays series finale

Tropicana Field wanted to celebrate Mothers Day before Sunday’s game between Yankees and Rays.

Lights in the stadium went dark while Rays reliever Austin Pruitt was warming up to face the Yankees in the top of the ninth inning in the third game of the weekend series in St. Petersburg.

These are some of the videos of what happened while the lights were out. Enjoy: