The Miami Marlins (34-45) started a six-game road trip with a stop in Philadelphia, but the three-game set against the Phillies (37-41) was cut short due to rain. The Marlins took the second game thanks to a resounding offensive effort. That result comes after Joe Panik joined the lineup and became just the seventh Marlin in team history to homer in his first at-bat with the club.
INF Joe Panik is the 7th player in Marlins history to homer in his first at-bat with the club. He joins:
Neil Walker – 3/29/19
Jeremy Hermida – 8/31/05
Paul Lo Duca – 7/31/04
Hee-Seop Choi – 4/6/04
Moises Alou – 4/1/97
Terry Pendleton – 4/25/95
Mitch Lyden – 6/16/93
— Marlins Communications (@MarlinsComms) July 1, 2021
The Marlins made waves earlier this week with the trade that sent Corey Dickerson and Adam Cimber to the Toronto Blue Jays for Panik and minor league reliever Andrew McInvale. The move stabilized Miami’s infield and provided a veteran bat for manager Don Mattingly to deploy.
Panik Pays Immediate Dividends for Marlins versus Phillies
Panik’s arrival came with a thunderous crack of the bat. In his first at-bat with the Marlins, Panik took Phillies starter Aaron Nola deep, sending a breaking ball over the right field wall. Panik missed the first game of the series as he traveled to join the team, but Mattingly immediately slotted the veteran infielder in the lineup and had him man third base.
“It was good to get right out there, kind of running on fumes right now, just running on adrenaline, but it was a good night,” said Panik after the game.
— jeremy taché (@jeremytache) June 30, 2021
It wasn’t just the homer that delighted Marlins fans. Panik, hitting seventh in the lineup, went 2-for-4, with two RBI, including the go-ahead run in the decisive fifth inning. All in all, Panik reached base three times in his Marlins debut and played a clean third base against the Phillies.
The fifth proved to be a pivot point in the game and, hopefully, for the season. The Marlins scored six runs in the frame, all coming with two outs. Miami recorded six consecutive hits, five singles and a double, to chase Nola from the game. Entering this game against the Marlins, the Phillies starter sported a 2.15 ERA over his previous nine start against Miami. It was the second time in Nola’s career that the Marlins tagged him for seven earned runs in a start, the first time coming in August of 2017.
The addition of Panik to the lineup provides another veteran bat to the team. Over his eight-year MLB career, Panik holds a 9.9 strikeout percentage. This season, that figure stands at 11.4 percent. For context, Jon Bertiand Isan Diaz, who’ve been the team’s primary third basemen in the wake of Brian Anderson’s injury, have 19.7 and 29.1 percentages respectively this season.
Marlins Pounce on Phillies Bullpen
Last season, the Marlins, like many other clubs, preyed on the Phillies bullpen. Although Philadelphia tried to address this issue, including adding former Marlins closer Brandon Kintzler, this season seems to have a similar start to it.
This season, the Phillies bullpen finds itself once again among MLB’s bottom third in ERA (4.65). Although the Marlins primarily touched up Phillies starter Aaron Nola in during their 11-6 win, the team did post four runs over the final 4.1 innings of that contest.
The previous night, Phillies starter Vince Velasquez stifled the Marlins. Although Miami had historically done well against him (19 earned runs over four starts prior to this season), Velasquez dominated the Marlins once again. In his previous start, he kept Miami scoreless through six innings. This time, he allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings.
But the Marlins lineup went to work on the vulnerable Phillies bullpen after that. The team worked several solid at-bats and eventually scored on a wild pitch. From there, Adam Duvall cut the deficit to one with his two-run blast in the ninth. The Marlins can only hope this means Duvall’s heating up once again.
All told, the Marlins scored 14 runs over this two-game set versus the Phillies, including seven against Philadelphia’s bullpen. They allowed 10 runs to split the series. The series finale was postponed due to rain and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on July 16, Miami’s first day out of the All-Star break.
Up Next: at Atlanta Braves (39-41)
The Marlins move on from their truncated set against the Phillies to a three-game tilt against Atlanta. The Braves enter this series having handled the division-leading New York Mets. The Marlins can sympathize with New York, considering the 20-2 trouncing felt similar to the 29-9 beatdown the Braves put on Miami last season.
The Braves continue to hover around .500 this season. Atlanta’s record over their last 10 games is 6-4. Over their last 20, 10-10. Their last 30? 15-15. Their home-road splits are near even too, considering the Braves 22-21 at Truist and 17-20 away.
The Marlins sport a solid record against NL East opponents. Following their series split with the Nationals last week, and this split with the Phillies, the Marlins are 15-13 in divisional matchups. They’ve played well against the Braves, winning five of seven in 2021 thus far.
Over their last 10, the Braves are hitting .244, with a 2.86 team ERA, and have outscored opponents by 18. That figure is tilted by the 18-run win over the Mets, a game that single-handedly flipped Atlanta’s run differential to plus-15.
The Marlins enter this series with a 4-6 mark over their last 10, with a batting average of .226 over that span, and a team ERA of 3.17.
Atlanta remains without Marcell Ozuna and Travis d’Arnaud for this series, and could be without Ronald Acuña Jr, who’s day-to-day after being scratched Thursday with back tightness.
The Braves will likely start LHP Drew Smyly (5-3, 4.79 ERA), LHP Kyle Muller (1-1, 2.70 ERA) and RHP Charlie Morton (7-3, 3.74 ERA) this series. Miami will counter with Pablo Lopez (4-4, 2.87 ERA) Friday, who looks to reverse recent struggles against Atlanta. Lopez has allowed 19 earned runs over his last five starts (19.2 IP) versus the Braves.