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Marlins Take Series from Rockies Thanks to Offensive Outburst

The Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies remain forever linked, thanks to then-MLB commissioner Fay Vincent awarding Miami and Denver expansion franchises 30 years ago. The Marlins used this series against their expansion brethren to right what felt like a sinking ship just days prior.

Miami (27-35) limped home after a nightmare road trip to find the Rockies (25-38) waiting for them. With the season in a freefall, Miami responded with their best offensive effort in a series in more than a month. The Marlins rocked Colorado’s pitching staff for 20 runs over the three-game set and were game-saving grab from a sweep.

The Marlins did suffer another one-run loss during this series, dropping their record in those contests to an abysmal 4-13. And with 41 of Miami’s 62 games so far being decided by three runs or fewer, it was nice to have a pair of comfortable wins in there.

Marlins Offense Comes Alive vs Rockies

The Marlins suffered through a rain-soaked road trip mired in ineffective offense. During the 1-8 road trip, Miami managed just 10 hits in 75 at-bats with runners-in-scoring-position (.133). The team stranded 69 runners on base during the nine-game trek where their run differential was minus-20.

The Marlins offense finally came to live against the Rockies. Although still missing major contributors from the lineup, Miami converted many of the scoring opportunities afforded to them by Colorado’s pitching staff. In the two wins, the Marlins went a combined 9-for-23 with RISP. In the one-run loss, the team went 1-for-6 and stranded 10.

This offensive outburst comes after a 10-game, nine-loss stretch where the Marlins offense produced just 2.9 runs-per-game. Miami slipped to the bottom of the NL East standings. But against the Rockies, the Marlins scored 6.7 runs-per-game and took two-of-three.

Marte Erupts During Marlins Rockies Series

Miami welcomed Starling Marte back to the lineup on May 28th. His return afforded the Marlins a key cog in their offensive attack, one they struggled to replicate in his absence. On the road trip, Marte went 10-for-30 with a pair of homers and three RBI. Against the Rockies, he continued to produce.

Marte mashed a homer and double Thursday, part of a four-hit effort. In the series, he went 8-for-13 with four runs scored. He robbed Rockies outfielder Yonathan Daza of an extra-base hit with a leaping grab as well.

Since returning from his rib injury, Marte’s posted a .419 batting average and a 1.244 OPS over 12 games. Marlins manager Don Mattingly called him “one of the best players out there.”

Marte remains an integral part of this Marlins club and he admitted to Craig Mish that “he wants to stay with the Marlins and end his career here.”

However, Marlins general manager Kim Ng revealed Wednesday that there have been no “conversations with [Marte’s] representatives about him being here longer term.”

Resigning Marte one offseason after picking up his $12.5 million option would indicate the team sees their competitive window opening right now. Although the club sports a deep farm system with talented outfield prospects, no one has manned centerfield and provided the offensive output that Marte has.

More Offense from Marlins Rockies Series

The other notable offensive performance for the Marlins against the Rockies came from Jazz Chisholm Jr. The dynamic 23-year-old provided the highlight of the night with his three-run blast and bat flip. In the series, Chisholm went 6-for-14 with the homer, a double, four RBI and a walk. He was robbed of an infield single when MLB’s replay system didn’t overturn an incorrect call.

Chisholm now has three-straight multi-hit games, a four-game hitting streak and has reached base in nine-straight.

The Marlins also saw Adam Duvall heat up against the Rockies. Duvall connected on a pair of home runs in the series, going 4-for-13 overall with six RBI. And Corey Dickerson’s performance at the plate improved as well. He went 3-for-11 with a two-run triple and two walks.

Another notable performance came from rookie Jose Devers. The 21-year-old reached base three times on two hits and a walk and registered his fifth RBI. He improved his slash line to .250/.311/.325 with the effort.

Devers continues to push for more playing time despite his youth and inexperience. He got the start Thursday, in part, because of Isan Diaz’s ineffectiveness. Although Diaz has played well defensively at third, his offensive output remains a negative.

Diaz slashes .149/.241/.531 this season. He contributed to Miami’s league-leading ninth runner picked off, which Mattingly was not happy about, and seemingly missed a hit-and-run sign Wednesday that saw Dickerson run into a caught-stealing.

If Devers takes a more permanent role, his pairing with Chisholm might be the second coming of a Luis CastilloEdgar Renteria middle infield. Although Castillo (20) and Renteria (19) were younger, both excelled as rookies and played integral roles in the franchise’s first World Series Championship a year later.

Up Next: vs Atlanta Braves (29-31)

The Atlanta Braves enter this three-game set coming off a pair of walk-off losses to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins took three of four from Atlanta in an impressive stretch earlier this season, but much has changed since then.

The Braves enter having gone 5-5 over their last 10, including the two walk-off losses in Philly. The team has managed a .238 batting average and 4.22 ERA in that stretch. They’ve outscored opponents by one over that span.

RHP Charlie Morton (5-2, 4.21 ERA) should start opposite Sandy Alcantara (3-5, 3.30 ERA) Friday. Morton has been sharp of late, posting a 2.74 ERA over his past four starts. But he is susceptible to the big inning, having surrendered at least three runs in an inning in six of his 12 starts. The Marlins also expect to see LHP Max Fried (3-3, 4.63 ERA) and LHP Drew Smyly (2-3, 5.82 ERA) in this series.

The Marlins won’t see either Marcell Ozuna or Travis d’Arnaud in this series. Ozuna’s fractured fingers landed him on the 10-day IL before he was arrested on domestic violence charges on May 29th. d’Arnaud, meanwhile, could be out until August with torn ligaments in his left thumb.

Over their last 10, Miami posted a 3-7 record with a .260 batting average and 4.21 ERA in those games. They were outscored by five. They’ll be without Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper and Miguel Rojas, as well as Cody Poteet for this series. Braxton Garrett, who made his first start of the season against the Rockies, may get another turn in the rotation during this series.

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Marlins Salvage Win in Series vs Pirates https://swingsandmishes.com/marlins-salvage-win-in-series-vs-pirates/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marlins-salvage-win-in-series-vs-pirates https://swingsandmishes.com/marlins-salvage-win-in-series-vs-pirates/#respond Mon, 07 Jun 2021 16:27:09 +0000 http://swingsandmishes.com/?p=1473 The post Marlins Salvage Win in Series vs Pirates appeared first on Swings and Mishes.

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Marlins Salvage Win in Series vs Pirates

The Marlins and Pirates played a pivotal four-game series for Miami and, unfortunately for the Fish, the team couldn’t stop taking on water. On the sinking ship that is the 2021 season, the Marlins managed to right themselves briefly on Sunday with a 3-1 win over the Pirates, but all in all, this trip saw the team play its worst baseball of the season.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly called the road trip “a nightmare for us.” In the wake of the recent spate of injuries, Mattingly hoped the team would “tread water,” and they managed to do that on the last road trip. But after two straight rain-soaked losses in Boston, the water just kept coming. The Marlins lost two more in Buffalo, including blowing the first of three saves in four games. Saturday’s 8-7 loss to the Pirates felt very much like the Marlins had completely sunk.

And it wasn’t just the late losses that had the Marlins drowning against the Pirates. Miami also saw the flood of injuries continue with both Elieser Hernandez and Cody Poteet landing on the IL.

But Sunday, Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara and slugger Jesus Aguilar combined to help Miami salvage a win in this nightmare series.

Marlins Ace Handles Pirates

Entering this series, the Marlins knew they needed to be better at the plate. Dormant offense in Boston and Buffalo led to disappointing losses. In Pittsburgh, against a Pirates pitching staff in the bottom third of MLB in most statistics, the Marlins offense found some success. Unfortunately, the bullpen let them down.

It took a season-high eight innings from Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara to salvage a win in this series. Alcantara registered six strikeouts and kept the Pirates at bay, surrendering just one unearned run. He threw 103 pitches on the afternoon, a healthy mix of his entire repertoire, and topped out at 99.7 mph. He induced 12 groundouts, including two double plays, so his sinking fastball was working well.

This was an excellent outing for Alcantara after surrendering nine hits and four runs over six innings against the Blue Jays in Buffalo. The Marlins needed a dominant, stabilizing performance, and that’s what they got from their ace.

“He’s a guy who always talks about wanting to go nine every time out,” Mattingly said. “Obviously we’re not going to let him go to a crazy pitch count or get himself in a bad situation.”

Mattingly lauded Alcantara’s ability to “step up for the team in that scenario, to give us eight innings, only use one guy out of the ‘pen.”

Alcantara’s performance provided the maligned Marlins bullpen a brief respite ahead of Boston. Yimi Garcia entered in the ninth and recorded his 10th save of the season. Garcia managed the shutdown inning after surrendering runs in three consecutive games and blowing two consecutive save opportunities.

Marlins Bullpen Implodes vs Pirates

Garcia’s recent struggles come after a dominant stretch in May. Prior to the loss against the Phillies on May 27th, Garcia went eight straight scoreless outings, converting five save opportunities.

But it wasn’t just Garcia who struggled in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Bass surrendered three runs in the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss. Anthony Bender tried to clean up Bass’s mess, but the rookie struggled as well. After a walk and hit-batsman, Bender dropped what would’ve been the inning-ending relay to first. As a result, the Marlins gave up the lead to the Pirates and Bender blew a save for the first time in his career.

Dylan Floro couldn’t protect Miami’s lead on Thursday. He surrendered three earned runs and blew the save in the process. Floro’s been solid this season, allowing earned runs in just three of his 27 outings, but each one has resulted in a blown save and loss.

Zach Pop also struggled. Pop allowed the Pirates to score five runs in the sixth inning on Friday. After a string of nine consecutive scoreless outings, Pop has now allowed earned runs in three of his last four appearances.

Against the Pirates, Marlins relievers threw 14.2 innings. The bullpen coughed up 15 runs, 17 hits, six walks and one hit-batsman. They registered 12 strikeouts and committed a costly error. For the series, the bullpen ERA checked in at 7.60 and a 1.63 WHIP and failed to convert three save opportunities.

The bullpen’s troubles have been attributed to overuse, and although the Marlins started their series with the Pirates with a full five-man starting rotation for the first time this season, they didn’t end it that way. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. admitted Injuries to Hernandez and Poteet now have the club searching for pitching help outside the organization.

Aguilar Gets Going Against the Pirates

The Marlins’ hungry offense needed some arepa power to salvage the win on Sunday against the Pirates. Jesus Aguilar broke out of his extended slump with a pair of homers over the last two games. Aguilar registered six hits and a sacrifice fly. He drove in four runs and scored three times.

All this after a 19-game stretch where Aguilar managed just nine hits and eight RBI. With two RBI on Sunday, Aguilar leads the NL with 44 RBI and ranks fifth overall in MLB. His 12 home runs lead the team and rank 12th in the NL.

Although the Marlins were mired in an extended losing streak, Jorge Alfaro’s play during the road trip has also been a positive. During the seven games he’s appeared, Alfaro posted a .300 batting average (6-for-20) and a 1.041 OPS. He’s notched two homers, a double and four RBI over this span.

For context, Marlins catchers not named Alfaro have gone 29-for-149 (.194) with just 10 RBI over 52 games this season. Alfaro’s appeared in 20 games and has more than half that total number of hits (15) and seven RBI thus far.

Both Aguilar and Alfaro need to produce for the Marlins as the backend of the lineup consistently fails to produce. The Marlins have three regulars (Jon BertiIsan DiazAdam Duvall) hitting under .200. That figure is four if you count Sandy Leon as a regular.

Up Next: at Boston Red Sox (36-23)

The Marlins were supposed to head home after Pittsburgh, but a rain postponement in Boston meant there’s one more stop on this nightmare road trip. The Marlins lost both waterlogged games in Boston last week and hope to salvage another win today.

The Red Sox enter after securing their first sweep in Yankee Stadium in 10 years. Boston is 7-3 over their last 10 games. RHP Nick Pivetta (6-1, 3.77 ERA) gets the start for the Red Sox. In 11 career games against Miami, Pivetta sports a 2-4 record with a 5.36 ERA.

Pablo Lopez was supposed to start for Miami, but the Marlins are giving him an extra day of rest. Zach Thompson, recently called up from Triple-A, will make his MLB debut with his start. The Marlins recalled Daniel Castano and optioned Lewis Brinson to Triple-A.

Thompson signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins in December after six seasons in the Chicago White Sox system. The 27-year-old righty served as a multi-inning reliever for Jacksonville early in the season, posting a 6.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 15.0 IP. Thompson stands 6-foot-7, commands a low-90s cutter well, and also throws a four-seamer and curveball. He made seven appearances this spring for the Marlins and posted a 1.69 ERA over 5.1 IP, allowing just one run. He registered a save and struck out nine.

Recalling Castano might indicate a potential piggyback situation considering Thompson’s been exclusively a reliever since 2017. In Jacksonville, Thompson has surrendered four homers, which has inflated his ERA. He’s also picked up 21 strikeouts and allowed only two walks.

Up Next: vs Colorado Rockies (24-36)

When the Marlins return home, they’ll face off against the Colorado Rockies. Colorado’s offense ranks eighth in team batting average (.244), but away from Coors Field they sport the league’s worst average (.197). Their 4.3 Runs-per-Game and .701 OPS rank 16th in MLB. Like batting average, both figures drop to 30th on the road (2.42 and .563).

The Rockies team ERA ranks 25th (4.71) and team WHIP ranks 30th (1.41) The bullpen’s ERA sits at 29th overall (5.38) and 30th in WHIP (1.52). RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-5, 4.47 ERA), LHP Austin Gomber (4-5, 4.12 ERA) and RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3, 4.84 ERA) expect to start this series.

The Rockies are 5-5 over their last 10 with a .321 batting average and .855 OPS over the last week. Raimel Tapia has been Colorado’s best hitter this season (.280/.329/.394) while Ryan McMahon paces the team in homers (13).

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Marlins Swept By Blue Jays

Miami’s offense finally came to life, but unfortunately the Marlins (24-30) saw their closer Yimi Garcia blow his second save of the season. The Blue Jays rallied in the ninth, sending the Marlins to their fifth straight loss. Miami entered this series reeling from a recent string of injuries and defeats, which made Wednesday night particularly difficult.  

After two straight losses in Boston, and dropping two of three to the Phillies, the Marlins went to Buffalo in hopes of righting the ship. Despite injury difficulties throughout the season, the Marlins has demonstrated its trademark resiliency, but they couldn’t do enough against the Blue Jays. 

Marlins Offense Gets Going Against Blue Jays (Sort Of)

The Marlins squared off against the Blue Jays down key contributors on offense. Heading into Wednesday’s game, Miami managed just six runs in their previous five losses. 25 of their 31 hits during these recent defeats were singles. The Marlins managed a meager .211 team batting average during those losses. 

And it’s not just clutch situations where the Marlins have struggled, but also in basic baseball. Miami hitters sport a .103 average with runners-in-scoring-position (3-for-29) over this stretch and have stranded 37 runners on base. Many of those runners remained stationary as hitters struck out 50 times. Miami registered just 1.2 runs-per-game in these losses and nearly 40 percent (39.7) of all outs came via strikeout. 

Adam Duvall admitted pregame the lineup needed to work on “being harder outs” from top to bottom and Jazz Chisholm talked about not missing spots. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to do that. 

Even though the offense scored five runs Wednesday, there was plenty more to be had in the fan box that is Sahlen Field. The Marlins hit a season-high four homers, but three were solo shots. The other drove in just two. 

At one point, the offense forced South Florida native Alek Manoah from the game, but couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded, one-out situation. The Marlins went 0-for-4 with RISP Wednesday and stranded seven in the one-run loss. 

Couple those figures to the previous five losses, and Miami is now .090 with RISP, stranding 44 runners. The Marlins have been outscored by 13 runs during this stretch of six losses in seven games. 

One of the few positives could be the awakening of slumbering bats. Corey Dickerson, Chisholm, Jesus Aguilar and Starling Marte all homered. This lifted the team’s home run total to 49, third fewest in MLB. 

Another Key Stretch Looms for the Marlins after the Blue Jays

A quick look at Marlins Twitter might reveal a season in shambles. Even Marlins manager Don Mattingly called Wednesday’s night game one they “really need[ed] to get us back on track.”

While there’s certainly fear that the season is slipping away, Miami should see its coming schedule as an opportunity to right the ship. Seven of the next eight games come against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies. Combined, those two clubs sport a 41-68 record. The Marlins must win the majority of those games to get back into this race.

This skid of six losses in seven games, coupled with the New York Mets recent hot stretch, has resulted in a widening gap within the division. The Marlins stand 6.0 games behind the NL East leaders. The Wild Card gap is larger, as Miami trails by 8.0 games in that race. 

The Marlins, though, performed well during their most recent key stretch. A 10-game gauntlet against the Phillies and the Mets saw Miami go 6-4. This upcoming slate against the Pirates, one game in Boston, then home for the Rockies could very well define the summer for the Marlins. If the Marlins can go 6-2 or 5-3 through this stretch, they can carry that momentum into a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.  

Including the Braves series, 10 of Miami’s next 11 games are against teams currently below .500. That’s the softest stretch of summer until mid-September. The Marlins are 13-10 against teams below .500 so far this season, versus 11-20 against teams better than .500.  

Should the Marlins falter, the team must look to reshape the roster. Veterans could be moved via trade to make space for the up-and-coming prospects, with eyes looking to next season. 

Up Next: at Pittsburgh Pirates (20-34)

Hopefully the rain doesn’t follow the Marlins to Pittsburgh. Miami heads to PNC Park for what was supposed to be the last stop on this trip, but Sunday’s rain postponement means the Marlins need to swing through Boston on their way home. 

Pittsburgh occupies the NL Central cellar. Their light-hitting offense ranks 24th overall in batting average (.228) and 29th in OPS (.649). They’re one of the few clubs with fewer home runs than the Marlins (37). 

The Pittsburgh pitching staff ranks 26th in team ERA (4.83), 21st in WHIP (1.35) and T-21st in batting-average-against (.249). The Pirates start Tyler Anderson (3-5, 4.63 ERA) on Thursday. He’s 1-3 with a 3.96 ERA in five career starts against Miami. 

 

The Marlins could also see JT Brubaker (4-4, 3.74 ERA), Mitch Keller (3-6, 6.54 ERA) and Chase De Jong (0-0, 1.80 ERA) in this series. 

 

PNC Park ranks 23rd in MLB in homers surrendered (85). However, it ranks third in doubles (122), so extra-base hits should be had. And while this has more to do with the Pirates pitching staff rather than the ballpark, but PNC Park has seen the eighth-most runs scored (106) this season. The Pirates are 10-15 at home. 

 

Pittsburgh’s top hitters have been Adam Frazier (.335, 2 HR, 19 RBI) and Bryan Reynolds (.283, 7 HR, 24 RBI). The Pirates are 2-8 over their last 10 with a .214 batting average and 5.05 ERA. They’ve been outscored by 16 over that span.

 

Miami expects to activate Elieser Hernandez from the 60-day IL Thursday, but a corresponding 40-man roster must be made. The team will finally have a full complement of five starters, with Cody Poteet (2-1, 2.95 ERA), Trevor Rogers (6-3, 1.87 ERA) and Sandy Alcantara (2-5, 3.68 ERA) also expecting a turn in Pittsburgh. 

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Marlins Offensive Woes Continue vs Red Sox

The Miami Marlins (24-28) went to Boston reeling from a recent spate of injuries, and they leave uncertain about the state of the roster. After losing Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas during the last homestand, the Marlins saw another starter scratched from the lineup versus the Red Sox. 

Even though Miami welcomed back Jorge Alfaro and Starling Marte, the roster flux still thinned out the order. Jazz Chisholm did not play in either contest against the Red Sox. And Marlins manager Don Mattingly pulled Adam Duvallfrom the lineup Friday due to left side soreness. 

The depleted Marlins lineup couldn’t muster much of an offense against the Red Sox. Miami’s lost three in a row and four of five, averaging just 1.25 runs in those games. Pitching continues to carry the team, but if the offense doesn’t get going, the season will continue to slip away. 

Depending on the severity of Anderson’s injury, the Marlins might need to bolster this lineup with outside help, considering the injury replacements have done so little. 

Marlins Offensive Woes Continue versus Red Sox

During the two rain-soaked losses in Boston, the Marlins mustered just three runs. The team couldn’t convert in clutch situations, going 2-for-15 with runners-in-scoring-position. The losses were decided by three and two runs each, so stranding 17 runners on base hurts. 

The bottom of Miami’s order had an acutely arduous effort against the Red Sox last Saturday. The Marlins five- through nine-hole hitters went just 3-for-19 with eight strikeouts. Mattingly continues to mix and match the lineup, but injuries have limited his options. And the replacements haven’t produced.

Isan Diaz, in particular, continues to squander his opportunity. He remains mired in an extended slump, 2-for-39 (.051) with 15 strikeouts. He has five walks and one hit-by-pitch over that span. Sure, he’s had a few hits robbed by great defense, but still, his lack of production remains a major problem. 

Jon Berti took over at third base for Anderson but has provided inconsistent results. His clutch hit against the Phillies helped salvage that series split, but overall, he’s 2-for-16 with four strikeouts over the last five games. 

The Marlins also expected more from Corey Dickerson. With runners-in-scoring-position, Dickerson has gone 5-for-32 (.156), driving in just seven runners in that situation. For the season, Dickerson’s registered just 11 RBI and one home run. With big bats missing time, Dickerson’s production needs to improve, or the team will need to reconsider his role. 

Good News on the Offensive Front

In good news, though, Alfaro and Marte have provided a lift for the lineup. Alfaro connected on a two-run homer in his first road start in over a month and went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI against the Red Sox. 

Marte, meanwhile, recorded a pair of hits in his return to the lineup. He had two doubles and two RBI in the two games. 

Jose Devers also seems to have settled in. Devers is 3-for-10 with two runs scored, an RBI, HBP and walk since his return to the big club. He’s struck out only twice and posts .417 on-base percentage. In his first run with the Marlins, Devers went 2-for-12 with five strikeouts and a .154 OBP. If he continues to hit and reach base, Devers might very well squeeze Isan off the roster. 

Luis Marte should also get a look amid Isan’s struggles. The 27-year-old had his Major League debut delayed at least two more days after 10 years toiling in the Minors. 

After a slow start in Jacksonville, Marte has 10 hits in his last 30 ABs, with two homers, two doubles and eight RBI. He provides the positional versatility Miami desperately needs. He’s played at all four infield positions as well as left field for the Jumbo Shrimp this season. 

Also good news: Although Mattingly scratched Duvall for precautionary reasons, he said Duvall was “better” recently. Chisholm, meanwhile, went through a series of agility exercises and participated in batting practice in Boston. Hopefully, he’s ready to rejoin the lineup against the Blue Jays in Buffalo.

Up Next: at Toronto Blue Jays (27-25) in Buffalo, NY

Rain affected Toronto’s recent series as well. The Blue Jays split a double-header with the Cleveland Indians on Sunday after having their game Saturday postponed. The Jays recently completed a doubleheader against the New York Yankees as well. 

Toronto is 4-6 over their last 10 games. The team suffered through a six-game losing streak before winning their next two series. 

This series marks the first for the Blue Jays in Buffalo. Last season, Toronto played the majority of its home games at Sahlen Field, finishing 17-9 there. This season, the Jays were 10-11 in Dunedin, their spring training home. 

These two clubs split four games in 2020, with each team winning once at the other’s home field. 

The Blue Jays team ERA sits at 3.91 (14th) with a 1.26 WHIP (13th). Toronto’s bullpen sports a 3.56 ERA (9th) and have converted 11 of 18 save opportunities. 

The Blue Jays expect to start LHP Robbie Ray (2-2; 3.81 ERA) on Tuesday. Ray’s allowed 10 homers over 29.1 IP in May, but the Marlins have hit the third-fewest home runs as a team this season (45). Rookie RHP Alek Manoah (1-0; 0.00 ERA) should get his second career start in this series. He dominated the Yankees in his debut, throwing six shutout innings and recording seven strikeouts. He has a strong fastball-slider combo. 

Toronto leads the AL with 77 homers, trailing only MLB leaders Atlanta (80). Their .258 team batting average is third-best in MLB. Their .764 OPS is second-best. 

The Marlins counter with Sandy Alcantara (2-4; 3.46) and Pablo Lopez (1-3; 2.71). The two have allowed 12 homers over 128 IP this season. Keeping the ball in the yard will be key for these two if the Marlins are going to compete in this series. 

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Injury-Battered Marlins Split Series with Phillies https://swingsandmishes.com/injury-battered-marlins-split-home-series-with-phillies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=injury-battered-marlins-split-home-series-with-phillies https://swingsandmishes.com/injury-battered-marlins-split-home-series-with-phillies/#respond Fri, 28 May 2021 00:28:39 +0000 http://swingsandmishes.com/?p=1394 The post Injury-Battered Marlins Split Series with Phillies appeared first on Swings and Mishes.

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Injury-Battered Marlins Split Series with Phillies

The Marlins (24-26) and Philadelphia Phillies (25-26) faced off for the second time in less than a week. Both teams, though, saw their rosters thinned by injuries. The Marlins lost several key bats, as did the Phillies. Both teams battled and neither leaves this series whole.

Miami’s post-injuries offense proved largely punchless. After posting nine runs in the series opener against the Phillies, the Marlins scored just six runs over the next three games. For context, the team scored seven runs in their final three innings Monday. Take out the three-run eighth on Wednesday and the Marlins scored just three runs in 24 innings against the Phillies.

Part of the problem was a lack of production with runners-in-scoring-position. The Marlins went 4-for-15 with RISP and stranded 20 on base over the last three games. On Thursday, Miami had the bases loaded with no outs and pushed just one run across in a game they ultimately lost by one. Base-running miscues by the Marlins and great defense from the Phillies didn’t help either.

As the team embarks on its latest three-city road trip, there’s real concern with some of the recent injuries.

Injuries Take Their Toll in Marlins-Phillies Series

This series started with positive injury news for Miami. Jorge Alfaro finished his rehab stint in Jacksonville and Starling Marte headed off to start his. Elieser Hernandez continued to prepare for his return from the IL as well. But then things went sideways for the Marlins against the Phillies.

Brian Anderson left Monday’s game with left shoulder soreness and subsequently landed on the IL. Marlins general manager Kim Ng called it a left shoulder subluxation and said the team expects him to miss “several weeks.” Unfortunately, Anderson was busting out of a slump prior to the injury. He’d posted a .371 batting average and 1.006 OPS over his last 11 games.

Jazz Chisholm exited the next game due to a mild right ankle sprain. Garrett Cooper was scratched from the Wednesday’s lineup due to right oblique tightness. Jose Devers got the call for Wednesday, then Lewin Diaz joined the MLB roster for the first time this season Thursday.

Cooper’s loss came as he’s rounding into form. He was Miami’s hottest hitter over the last week, posting a .563 batting average and 1.694 OPS with a pair of clutch homers. He came through with a game-tying pinch-hit RBI single late in the game Thursday, so that’s a good sign. But he followed that by misplaying a fly ball in right field which ultimately led to the Phillies’ winning run.

Late Thursday, the Marlins saw their leader, shortstop Miguel Rojas, dislocate his finger getting picked off at first base. There’s real concern with this injury and he’s likely to miss an extended stretch.

It wasn’t just the ravaged infield either. After his recent start, Nick Neidert landed on the 10-day IL with right biceps inflammation.

Injuries to Test Marlins Depth (Again)

Miami is now missing the entire left side of its infield. During the previous rash of injuries, Marlins manager Don Mattingly called for the team to tread water, and they’ve largely done that. Marte last played April 18th, and prior to his returning, Alfaro went out on April 20th.

Since then, the Marlins have posted a 16-16 record. And during that stretch, both Anderson and Chisholm had IL stints. But now, Anderson and Rojas will miss time, so the team must continue to tread water.

Also on the 10-day IL: Lewis Brinson (finger), Jordan Holloway (groin) and Neidert.

If Chisholm, who’s listed as day-to-day with his ankle injury, can’t go in Boston, the team would be down to just three (Jon Berti, Devers, Isan Diaz) non-1B infielders.

This recent spate of injuries resulted in the newly activated Alfaro getting time in left field Thursday. It was just Alfaro’s second appearance in the outfield, the previous time coming in last season’s 29-9 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

This series also saw rookie pitcher Trevor Rogers used as a pinch hitter.

Mattingly did mention after Thursday’s game that Marte will travel with the team to Boston. Hernandez should come off the 60-day IL during this trip as well.

The worry for the Marlins is not just with the offense. Only Lewin stands as a defensive upgrade among the recent replacements. Berti has committed four errors at third, twice as many as Anderson in a fraction of the opportunities. Isan has committed two errors as well. And Cooper in right field is perhaps the biggest downgrade defensively.

What’s more, this is all coming when the Marlins have to fill the DH role for the first time this season.

Marlins Promote Luis Marte

After designating Shawn Morimando for assignment Wednesday, the 40-man roster sat at 39. According to today’s Jacksonville game preview, the Marlins filled the open spot by promoting infielder Luis Marte.

At 27-years-old, Marte sports 10 years of pro ball experience, but he’s never made it to the Majors. He maneuvered through the Texas Rangers system then spent 2018-2019 in Triple-A with the Atlanta Braves. This offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Marlins.

After a slow start in Jacksonville, Marte has 10 hits in his last 30 ABs, with two homers, two doubles and eight RBI. He provides the positional versatility Miami desperately needs. He’s played at all four infield positions as well as left field for the Jumbo Shrimp this season. Marte took part in big-league spring training, playing in 12 games and hitting .267.

What complicated matters for Miami was the availability of the most logical fill-ins. Eddy Alvarez is currently on Jacksonville’s temporary inactive list while he readies for Team USA competition and third baseman Joe Dunand is injured. Monte Harrison and Jesus Sanchez are both on Miami’s 40-man, but neither plays the infield, so that didn’t save the Marlins a move.

The Marlins will need to make room on the 40-man roster once Hernandez is activated. Who gets removed will largely depend upon the state of the active roster as the road trip progresses to Pittsburgh.  

Up Next: at Boston Red Sox (30-20)

The Marlins make their way to Boston for an interleague matchup. The Red Sox are coming off splitting a pair against the Braves and are 6-4 over their last 10 games. Boston finds itself, like the Marlins, in a tight divisional race entering the summer.

On Friday, Miami is likely to face LHP Martin Perez (2-2; 3.55 ERA). He’s been Boston’s best pitcher of late, posting a 2.22 ERA over his last five starts. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-2; 4.39 ERA) faces his former club, who he’s dominated in his last three starts (1.59 ERA). The series finale should see Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3; 5.06 ERA). The lefty has struggled in May, going 1-3 with a 6.48 ERA.

Rafael Devers, cousin of Marlins rookie Jose Devers, paces the Red Sox with 14 homers, 15 doubles and 43 RBI. J.D. Martinez has also played well, hitting .319 with 12 homers and 37 RBI. As a team, Boston leads MLB in OPS (.767) and ranks second in batting average (.260). They’re slightly better in both figures at home (.774; .269).

The Red Sox pitching staff checks in at 14th in team ERA (3.92) and 19th in WHIP (1.32). The ERA is slightly worse in Boston (4.09). The bullpen has posted a 3.59 ERA thus far and have converted 14 of 21 save opportunities.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have a 6-4 record over their last 10, a key stretch against NL East opponents the Phillies and Mets. The offense has struggled to overcome the injuries and wasted dominate outings recently from both Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. If Miami is going to keep pace, the offense needs to produce.  

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Marlins Top Injury-Riddled Mets

The Marlins (22-24) took the weekend series versus New York, winning two-of-three from the injury-riddled Mets (21-19). Miami used Garrett Cooper’s walk-off winner on Saturday, then rode Cody Poteet’s excellent outing to the victory Sunday.

Miami narrowed the gap in the NL East to 2.0 games and kept pace with the other clubs. 2.5 games separate this competitive division from top to bottom and the Marlins find themselves in the midst of an important divisional stretch. The team has won each of the last two series, this one and recently in Philadelphia, and now welcomes the Phillies to town for a four-game set.

The Mets came to Miami a team in shambles. More than 15 players littered their injury list and the lack of production in the lineup showed. If not for the Marlins inability to get one clutch hit on Friday, this series would have been a sweep.

The Marlins have positioned themselves to remain competitive entering the summer. Poteet has steadied the backend of the rotation and slumping bats are finally barreling the ball. And all of this comes as key contributors near their return from the IL.

Poteet Provides ‘Stability’ For Marlins Pitching Staff

There’s no doubt the Marlins have one of the top starter trios out there. Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers sport a combined 2.74 ERA this season, which would rank second among starting staffs. Take out Alcantara’s second inning pitch-tipping disaster in LA, and that figure drops to 2.31. The top rotational ERA in MLB currently sits at 2.64 (San Diego).

But the Marlins don’t have just three starters. Since Elieser Hernandez exited with an injury on April 3rd, Miami has pieced together the backend of the rotation with inconsistent results. That is, until the team promoted Poteet.

In three starts with the Marlins, Poteet has pitched surprisingly well. Over 17 innings, he’s allowed 10 hits, two earned runs and issued two walks. He’s struck out 13. Sunday, he stymied the Mets, going a career-high seven innings, striking out four and allowing just three hits. 65 of his 93 pitches went for strikes. He mixed in all four pitches, touched 95 on the gun and retired the final 14 batters he faced.

“I’m getting a better feel for it, being out there on a big-league mound,” said Poteet. “It’s been very special for me. I’ve been able to keep, for the most part, my emotions under control. Hopefully, I’m able to give them some stability out there.”

Stability is exactly what he’s provided. The Marlins cycled through a number of other starters trying to fill the hole before turning to Poteet.

“Cody has kind of solidified that fourth [spot] where it’s been good outing after good outing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re starting to have that confidence that he’s going to keep you in the game.”

Key Pitching Performances for Marlins against the Mets

Poteet’s seven-inning gem tied for the longest outing of the year for a Marlins starter. On six other occasions this season (two each from Alcantara, Lopez and Rogers), Miami starters slung their way into the seventh. None has gone beyond that mark, and that’s probably because the organization is being cautious with all their arms in an effort to navigate a 162-game (and hopefully more) season.

Poteet’s performance followed a similar outing from Pablo Lopez, who went seven scoreless against the Mets Saturday. Lopez lowered his ERA to 2.73 with the effort and helped save the Marlins bullpen, which pitched 12 innings Friday.

Jordan Holloway’s injury forced him from Friday’s game after just one inning and landed him on the 10-day IL. From there, Mattingly pieced together the most “bullpen day” of the season.

Adam Cimber was the last man standing, and he was forced to go two innings since Miami’s offense couldn’t muster a clutch hit. Cimber had gone two innings just once in his previous 20 appearances. Catcher Chad Wallach was hustling down to warm in the bullpen had Miami managed to tie the Mets in the 12th that night.

The 14 combined innings from their starters Saturday and Sunday lifted the Marlins pitching staff as a whole. Miami selected the contract of LHP Shawn Morimando from Jacksonville just in case. But thanks to Poteet and Lopez, the 28-year-old minor league free agent, who hasn’t pitching in MLB since 2016, wasn’t needed.

These performances provided the pitching staff the necessary rest ahead of another pivotal series. Poteet’s surprise emergence as an MLB-level pitcher buys the team time. While Hernandez stands on the verge of return and could do so during the coming road trip, Sixto Sanchez remains on a throwing program.

Marlins Bats Come Up Big vs the Mets

The Marlins offense has been nothing to brag about this season. Inconsistencies in production and availability have hurt the club. The team ranks in the bottom third of MLB in batting average (.231; 21st), on-base percentage (.296; 28th) and slugging percentage (.368; 25th). Miami’s 462 strikeouts stand as fifth-most in MLB.

What’s maddening is, when Marlins hitters put the ball in play, good things tend to happen. The team sports a .298 BABIP (batting-average-on-balls-put-in-play), ninth-best in MLB. And if they could have done that just once late on Friday, they probably sweep the series against the Mets.

Thankfully, Brian Anderson and Garrett Cooper came through clutch for the Marlins on Saturday and Sunday. Anderson seems to have fully broken out of an extended slump. Against the Mets, Anderson went 6-for-11 with a double, two walks and just three strikeouts. He scored four runs this weekend, including on Cooper’s walk-off winner Saturday. Anderson raised his slash line (.250/.311/.371) to season-high levels across the board.

Cooper, meanwhile, provided the dramatics. Against the Mets, Coop also went 6-for-11, notching a double, two homers and four RBI. He also walked twice and struck out three times. He’s riding an eight-game hitting streak.

This production buoyed the Marlins efforts against the Mets and comes at a key time for the lineup.

Jesus Aguilar has been mired in an extended slump, though he showed signs of improvement this weekend. Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Adam Duvall combined to go 3-for-28 with a walk, an RBI and eight strikeouts against the Mets. Miguel Rojas didn’t fare much better, going 2-for-13 with two RBI, a walk and three strikeouts.

Alfaro Nearing Return

Anderson and Cooper came through for the Marlins this weekend, and they’ll have more some help soon. Jorge Alfaro seems to be rounding into form during his rehab stint with Jacksonville. Since returning after soreness set him back on May 11th, Alfaro is hitting .307 (4-for-13) with two homers and five RBI. His OPS is 1.076.

Adding Alfaro should plug a gaping hole in this lineup. Sandy Leon and Wallach have provided nothing offensively of late. In the month of May, Marlins catchers have posted a .109 batting average (8-for-73) with a whopping 53 strikeouts. Against the Mets alone, they were 0-for-9 with five strikeouts.

Alfaro has played four consecutive days for Jacksonville. He’s run well and caught seven innings last time out. He can’t return fast enough at this point.

Starling Marte continues his progression as well. He took batting practice over the weekend, ran the bases and practiced in center field, too. The Marlins are yet to announce whether Marte needs a rehab assignment or if he’ll immediately rejoin the team.

Up Next: vs. Philadelphia Phillies (23-24)

The Marlins just faced Philadelphia and took two-of-three from their division rivals. Alcantara dominated the Phillies in his last outing and should get the start on Tuesday.

Miami will see Zach Eflin (2-3, 3.77) on Monday, who they beat 3-1 last week. They should also see Vince Velasquez (1-0, 3.52), who was supposed to start against the Marlins last Thursday but was a late scratch. Miami should hope to see Velasquez, considering the team has scored 23 earned runs over his last 17.1 IP versus the Fish.

The Marlins are also likely to face Aaron Nola (3-4, 3.94). Since Nola threw a complete-game shutout on April 18th, he’s 2-3 with a 5.19 ERA over six starts. The Phillies are 2-4 in that stretch. Philly also expects to start Spencer Howard (0-1, 7.36) in this series.

Over their last 10 games, the Phillies are just 3-7. The Marlins knocked Philadelphia into something of a tailspin after the last series. The Phillies lost four in a row before beating Boston Sunday. Over this span, Philly is hitting .242 with a 4.35 team ERA and were outscored by 14.

The Marlins, meanwhile, are 6-4 over their last 10. The batting average lingers at .227, but the team ERA is 3.40. Miami outscored opponents by three over this span.

With the Phillies missing key contributors in J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorious, another series win is paramount for the Marlins. Miami stands 0.5 games behind the Phillies entering this four-game set.

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Marlins Take Series in Philadelphia

The Miami Marlins (20-23) return home after a 10-game, three-city road trip which saw the squad win five of the final eight contests, including taking two-of-three in Philadelphia. Miami demonstrated its resilience and readiness to compete despite injury issues. Winning this series in Philadelphia proved the Marlins equipped to remain in the NL East hunt.

After losing two-of-three in Los Angeles, the Marlins bounced back in Philadelphia and were really one bad inning away from a three-game sweep. This comes after a stagnant offense crippled the team’s efforts early on the road trip.

Alcantara Lifts Marlins to Series Win in Philadelphia

Coming off the worst start of his five-year career, Sandy Alcantara proved his status as Miami’s ace. Alcantara ensured the Marlins would take the series against Philadelphia with a dominant outing.

The 25-year-old went 6.0 innings, allowing just two hits and three walks. He struck out nine, eight of those coming in the first four innings of work. 65 of his 100 pitches went for strikes, which is a vast improvement upon his last start. Prior to the game, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said they believed Alcantara was tipping his pitches during that disastrous second inning in LA. Alcantara worked with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., watching video and ultimately changing the grip in his glove.

As a result, Alcantara returned to his All-Star form and propelled Miami to the win over the Phillies. He relied heavily on his changeup, which he complimented with his sinker and four-seam fastball. Alcantara mixed in his slider occasionally.

Getting this win proved to be an important one for the Marlins to keep pace in the division. The team was 2-3 on the trip after Alcantara’s last start, so to finish the trip 5-5, taking this series in Philadelphia, keeps the Marlins competitive in the tight NL East.

Marlins Bats Get Going in Philadelphia

The Marlins have suffered through prolonged scoring droughts this season, but in Philadelphia, the team found an encouraging offensive groove from big bats in the lineup. Shortstop Miguel Rojas has spoken repeatedly about the team’s new “loose hoop” mantra, and it seems to have caught on with Garrett Cooper and Brian Anderson.

On May 2nd, Cooper’s batting average sunk to a season-low .177 after an 0-for-4 performance in Washington. Since, however, Cooper has improved considerably.

Over his last 14 games, Cooper has a .295 batting average with four extra-base hits and three walks. Narrow that to his last seven, it’s a .350 average and 1.108 OPS with three extra-base hits and five RBI. It should be more, too, considering the official scorer in Philly marked an error when Cooper’s seventh hit should have been an RBI double.

“I know what I can do, and I think I was a little bit frustrated early on, not getting the big hits,” said Cooper. “Just take it day by day, like I said. I bring a different dimension to this lineup, you have another guy that can hit for power, it lengthens the lineup.”

Anderson’s bat also seems to have come to life of late. After struggling throughout April and landing on the IL, Anderson’s production has steadily improved. He’s hit safely in seven games on the recent trip and sports a .313 batting average and 1.046 OPS with two doubles and a homer over the last week.

Marlins catchers, meanwhile, have struggled mightily of late. Sandy Leon and Chad Wallach are a combined 5-for-49 (.102) with 26 strikeouts over the last two weeks. This hole in the lineup may soon get filled by Jorge Alfaro, who recently resumed work with Triple-A Jacksonville.

Up Next: vs. New York Mets (20-17)

The Marlins return to loanDepot park ready to rock new threads and compete against the NL East-leading New York Mets. The team will don its beautiful City Connect uniforms and celebrate the first of their Hispanic Heritage nights this weekend. Fittingly, Miami honors Cuban Heritage on Saturday, sporting jerseys inspired by the Havana Sugar Kings, a Cuban minor league baseball team that played from 1946 to 1960.

These teams split two games during the second week of the season, including the Marlins’ 3-0 victory over Jacob deGrom on April 10 in New York. Sunday’s game was a rainout that caused some roster issues for the Marlins.

This series affords Miami another opportunity to climb higher in the NL East. New York holds a 3.0 game cushion on the Marlins.

The Matchup in Miami

The strength of the Mets has been pitching. The team ranks fifth in MLB with a 3.29 ERA. Marcus Stroman, Friday’s starter, 3-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Stroman allowed five earned runs in his last start Sunday, the most he’s allowed since joining the Mets. New York has scored nine runs total for Stroman in his past six starts.

The Mets issue this season, much like Miami, has been on offense. New York ranks last in runs-per-game (3.4) and home runs (30). Pete Alonso leads the Mets with six homers and 19 RBI, but he’s questionable with wrist soreness. Former Marlin Jonathan Villar ranks second on the team with four homers and 12 RBI. Francisco Lindor, meanwhile, has a .189 average with three homers and eight RBI.

Marlins pitchers give up only 0.88 home-runs-per-game (4th overall) and 3.85 runs-per-game (6th). The staff has posted a 3.60 ERA (7th) and held opposing batters to a .678 OPS (10th) and .231 batting average (13th). Miami’s offense checks in at 20th in batting average (.230), 24th in runs-per-game (3.8) and 27th n homers (39).

Over their last 10 games, New York is 6-4 with a .212 team batting average and 3.74 team ERA. They’ve been outscored by one run over that span. The Marlins are 5-5 with a .227 average and 4.77 ERA. Opponents outscored Miami by 12 runs over that span.

The Marlins expect to start John Curtiss (2-1, 3.15 ERA) as part of a bullpen day Friday. Pablo Lopez (1-3, 3.12 ERA) and Cody Poteet (1-0, 1.80 ERA) should take the hill Saturday and Sunday. The Mets have yet to announce their weekend starters.

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Marlins Avoid Sweep By Dodgers

The Marlins (18-22) avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers (22-18) thanks to heroics from Adam Duvall. Miami salvaged the final game of the set behind solid pitching as well as Duvall’s blast and outfield assist. After two exceedingly frustrating games against the defending World Series champs, the Marlins managed to breakthrough versus the Dodgers.

This series furthered Miami’s road trip after splitting four games with the Arizona Diamondbacks. And the Marlins managed to stay connected in the NL East, too. Losses by each of the three teams above them allowed Miami to remain just 3.0 games back of the division lead. Win the upcoming series in Philadelphia and the team will be poised for a run through the summer.

Pitching Problems for Marlins vs Dodgers

Entering this series, the Marlins knew their work would be cut out for them. The Dodgers lined up their ace Clayton Kershaw as well as defending Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer for the first two games of this set. And although Miami had their ace Sandy Alcantara going Friday, these games got away from them quickly.

LA roughed up Alcantara to tune of eight runs in just 1.1 innings of work. That outing stands as Alcantara’s worst of his career, his shortest and the most earned runs he’s ever allowed. His ERA swelled from 2.72 to 4.06 by the end of it.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Alcantara. He claimed to have the same mentality but admitted “everything changed too quick.” There was some concern with the Marlins that Alcantara might have been tipping his pitches to the Dodgers.

The Marlins offense did get to Kershaw, though. Miami touched him up for five runs over his six innings, but Kershaw registered 11 strikeouts along the way. Meanwhile, the story was very different against Bauer, who ripped through the Marlins lineup. Bauer recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed just two hits over 7.0 IP.

Miami entered this series averaging 10.3 strikeouts-per-game on the road. The Marlins fanned 33 times in Los Angeles over the three games.

Miami also got its first look at Braxton Garrett this season. The 23-year-old lefty came up to provide length in the bullpen versus the Dodgers. He went three innings, allowing three runs. Garrett made two starts for Miami in 2020, allowing six runs over 7.2 IP. There was some thought that Garrett was being held in reserve by the team as a potential trade chip later this summer.   

Duvall Provides Marlins with ‘Jolt of Energy’ vs Dodgers

Following the team’s fifth shutout loss of the season, Miami’s stagnant offense needed a jolt, and that was provided by Adam Duvall. After connecting on a three-run homer off Kershaw Friday, Duvall lifted the Marlins to their first lead against the Dodgers with his fifth inning blast Sunday.  

With the team mired in a collective slump, Duvall’s homer delivered. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said: “all of a sudden it’s a little jolt of energy.”

And it wasn’t just the homer that made a difference. In the bottom half of the fifth, Duvall helped preserve the lead for the Marlins when he threw out Dodgers OF Mookie Betts at the plate. That defensive gem added to Duvall’s league-leading Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) tally (11).

Although he’s suffered through some cold spells, Duvall has been an impactful player for the Marlins this season. Duvall’s 20 RBI lead MLB with runners-in-scoring-position-and-two-outs. His 1.630 OPS ranks fourth and he’s hitting .478 in that situation. Only Jesus Aguilar (.545, 2.051) sports better averages for Miami.  

Duvall admitted after the game he tries to keep his approach simple, even in those high-leverage situations. He said his focus is “just to get a good pitch to hit and try to barrel the crap out of it.”

Jazz Chisholm also provided another jolt with his return to the lineup against the Dodgers.

Chisholm went 2-for-5 in his return and scoring on Duvall’s home run. He also registered his eighth stolen base of the season, tying him for the NL lead in that category. Chisholm had missed 16 games while rehabbing a hamstring injury and only recently lost his place atop the NL SB leaderboard.

Up Next: at Philadelphia Phillies (21-20)

After dropping two-of-three to the Dodgers, the Marlins continue their 10-game trek to Philadelphia. The Phillies enter this series after a 4-5 road trip. They’ll be glad to be back in Citizens Bank Park where the team is 13-6 so far.

Much like the Marlins, Philadelphia is dealing with injuries up and down their roster. The Phillies saw Didi Gregorious, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto sit out Sunday. This trio stands among those listed as day-to-day. Adam Haseley and Andrew Knapp are also day-to-day, whereas Archie Bradley, Matt Joyce and Roman Quinn are all on the 10-day IL.

Miami will face Zack Wheeler (3-2, 2.85) Tuesday. Wheeler’s posted a 2.10 ERA over his last four starts and has piled up 30 strikeouts over his last 30 IP. Wheeler sports a 8-3 career record versus the Marlins with 109 strikeouts over 101.1 IP. The Marlins are also likely to face Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.86) and Vince Velasquez (1-0, 3.68) in this series.

Over the last week, Philadelphia has a .258 batting average and .750 OPS. The pitching staff has a 3.81 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The Phillies sport a much-improved bullpen from 2020. So far this season, Philly relievers has a combined 4.26 ERA with nine blown saves in 20 opportunities.

Jean Segura leads Philadelphia with a .320 batting average, while Harper leads in OPS .997. Rhys Hoskins leads with 19 extra base hits and 23 RBI.

Last season, the Marlins dominated Philadelphia, winning seven of 10 contests. This series comes at a pivotal point of the season for Miami. The Marlins stand 2.5 games behind the Phillies and 3.0 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets (18-16). Miami will face only the Phillies (seven times) and Mets (three times) over the next 10 games.

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Marlins Manage Split in Arizona https://swingsandmishes.com/marlins-manage-split-in-arizona/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marlins-manage-split-in-arizona Fri, 14 May 2021 17:26:39 +0000 http://swingsandmishes.com/?p=1363 The post Marlins Manage Split in Arizona appeared first on Swings and Mishes.

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Marlins Manage Split in Arizona

The Marlins (17-20) went to Arizona following a frustrating end to their homestand and after dropping a pair to start the series, Miami managed a four-game split with the Diamondbacks. The Marlins fought back in this series with talented pitching, timely hitting and typical road power.

In the first two losses of this series, the Marlins struggled again with runners in scoring position. As a team, Miami went 2-for-17 with RISP and stranded 11 on base. The Marlins secured Wednesday’s 3-2 win despite going 0-for-11 with RISP.

“It’s not fun,” Pablo Lopez said after the loss Tuesday. “Losing’s not fun.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly echoed that sentiment: “I think the guys are a little frustrated.”

Thursday’s game provided some relief to that frustration, as the team converted five of 11 opportunities with runners in scoring position.

To their credit, the team fought back, as Miguel Rojas said they would. The two wins come at a pivotal time for the Marlins as Miami seeks to keep pace in the competitive NL East. Every loss feels meaningful, especially as the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies start to pull away from the pack.

Poteet Impresses Marlins in Arizona

The Marlins’ revolving door at the backend of the rotation spun again in Arizona. This time, Cody Poteet entered. The 26-year-old rookie made his Major League debut in Arizona for the Marlins and impressed with a mix of power and control.

Poteet went five innings, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out six Diamondbacks. He retired 12 of 13 during one stretch, including striking out the side in the fourth inning. His velo topped out at 96.8 mph and he relied heavily on his four-seam fastball. Poteet kept hitters off balance, though, by mixing in a changeup, curveball and slider.

With the win, Poteet became the first RHP drafted by the Marlins to win his MLB debut since Ryan Tucker on June 8, 2008. He joined Anibal Sanchez and Sixto Sanchez as the only other Marlins starting pitchers to go at least five innings and not allow a walk in his MLB debut.

A fourth-round selection out of UCLA in 2015, Poteet stood among the unheralded prospects in Miami’s system. He made one start this season for Triple-A Jacksonville, surrendering one run, two walks and three hits over 5.2 IP. He struck out 10 in that outing. He’s made nearly 100 starts in the minors prior to this promotion, posting a 3.84 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 400 strikeouts over 510.2 IP.

Pitching Continues to Propel the Marlins

Trevor Rogers stamped another solid start to his resume on Thursday. Pitching in front of 25 friends and family members, including his cousin and former Marlin Cody Ross, Rogers went six innings, allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out seven. Rogers lowered his ERA to 1.84 with the effort.

Rogers solidified the three-hole in Miami’s rotation, and he’s flashed the potential as a frontline starter. His ERA ranks fifth in MLB, second among lefties. His 57 strikeouts lead the Marlins and all left-handed starters in MLB. They rank 10th overall.

The staff’s combined ERA (3.32) comes in at seventh-best in MLB. And the team’s WHIP (1.16) is eighth. The starter’s ERA (3.36) also ranks seventh, but that combined ERA is swollen thanks to uneven efforts from the fourth and fifth starters this year.

Sandy Alcantara, Lopez and Rogers, Miami’s top three starters, sport a combined ERA of 2.55 so far this season. That would lead the league by a considerable margin. Currently, the San Diego Padres (2.82) pace MLB starters in ERA, with the New York Mets (2.83) trailing right behind.

The other starters have struggled mightily for Miami. Paul Campbell (9.82 ERA), Daniel Castano (5.19), Jordan Holloway (7.36) and Nick Neidert (6.75) share a combined 6.46 ERA over nine starts. They’ve surrendered 26 earned runs in 36.2 innings pitched as starters. Holloway pitched well as a reliever, however.  

The surprise, though, has been the Marlins bullpen. Miami relievers have a combined 3.27 ERA, sixth lowest, and a 1.08 WHIP, second lowest. The Marlins ‘pen leads all MLB bullpens in K/BB at 3.60.

Marlins Patient with Pitching Injuries

Poteet’s emergence might help stem the tide as Miami awaits reinforcements from the injured list. Elieser Hernandez traveled with the Marlins to Arizona and was scheduled to pitch multiple live batting practice sessions this week. He’s likely to get at least one rehab outing prior to rejoining the rotation.

Meanwhile, Sixto Sanchez continues through his recovery program. He’s throwing at 105 feet, but the team isn’t rushing him. Marlins general manager Kim Ng joined the Bally Sports Florida broadcast on Friday to say as much.

“We’re not rushing any of these guys,” Ng said. “We want to be conservative in our approach early in the season, because obviously we’ve still got a long road ahead of us and a lot of baseball to be played.”

Aguilar Mashes for Marlins in Arizona

Jesus Aguilar stands among the early mentions for NL All-Star. If not for Ronald Acuña Jr, he’d be more a part of the MVP discussion as well. He’s been a fixture in the Marlins lineup and an integral part of the club’s culture.

Aguilar stands sixth in MLB with nine home runs (2nd in NL). His 32 RBI rank second in MLB (one behind MLB leader J.D. Martinez) and leads the NL. He’s hitting .303 with a .975 OPS (third among qualified 1B, fifth in NL and 12th in MLB).

Aguilar does most of his mashing away from loanDepot park. He leads the league in road homers (9), road RBI (23) and ranks second in road OPS (1.249). Against Arizona, Aguilar went 9-for-17 over the four-game set. He drove in seven runs, hit three homers and three doubles, walked once and struck out only twice.

Aguilar jumpstarted the Marlins offense in Arizona, much like he did on the last road trip. Although the team seems to struggle with runners in scoring position, as a whole Miami’s batting average in that situation ranks ninth in MLB (.254). That speaks to the cold spells this offense slips into. Aguilar leads the Marlins with 12 hits with RISP (.375).

At this rate, Aguilar’s a shoo-in for an All-Star berth. And he continues to provide wonderful moments like this:

Up Next: at Los Angeles Dodgers (20-17)

The second leg of the Marlins 10-game, three-city trip sees them leave Arizona for Los Angeles. Even though the defending champion Dodgers are missing some of their top talent (Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollack), LA will throw two top pitchers at Miami.

Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.62) starts opposite Alcantara on Friday. Kershaw sports a 0.99 WHIP and 46 strikeouts. Miami averages 10.32 strikeouts-per-game on the road, so there’s that. It doesn’t get any easier for the Marlins as Trevor Bauer (3-2, 2.50) and his 67 Ks take the hill Saturday. Sunday, LA’s doing a bullpen day, so the Marlins will miss Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.45), who might be the best of the bunch.

The Dodgers are 4-6 in their last 10 games. LA’s posted a .267 batting average and 4.00 ERA, while outscoring opponents by six runs over that span. Justin Turner leads the team in Slugging (.535) and extra-base hits (15). He’s hitting .307 and has seven home runs.

The Marlins, meanwhile, are 6-4 in their last 10. Miami sports a .257 batting average and 2.83 ERA, while outscoring opponents by 10 over that span.

To keep pace in the NL East, the Marlins will need to come up clutch in LA, which is no easy task. The Dodgers are 10-5 at home this season.

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Marlins Drop Series to Milwaukee, End Homestand 4-2 https://swingsandmishes.com/marlins-drop-series-end-homestand-4-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marlins-drop-series-end-homestand-4-2 Mon, 10 May 2021 16:11:25 +0000 http://swingsandmishes.com/?p=1355 The post Marlins Drop Series to Milwaukee, End Homestand 4-2 appeared first on Swings and Mishes.

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Marlins Drop Series to Milwaukee, End Homestand 4-2

The Marlins (15-18) entered this series versus Milwaukee on something of a slide. A disastrous 10-game road trip caused the team to limp home with a heavy IL and having lost seven of 10. Thanks to a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami managed to reverse that momentum.

But after taking the opener against Milwaukee, Miami couldn’t muster enough offense to close the weekend. The Marlins posted six runs Friday but managed just three runs combined in the next two games. A familiar struggle with runners in scoring position surfaced over the weened. Miami went 1-for-8 in those situations, including 0-for-7 Sunday, and stranded 11 base runners. And on top of that, the Marlins saw two runners picked off at first base yesterday.

The loss to Milwaukee added to the Marlins’ struggles in close games this season. Dropping the 2-1 decision to Milwaukee meant the Marlins’ record in one-run games worsened to 2-8. Last season, the team posted a 11-8 record in such contests.

Despite the struggles, Miami righted the ship coming off a difficult road trip. The Marlins finished the homestand 4-2 to keep pace in the tightly packed NL East.

“You don’t want to lose the last couple of the homestand, but I think we have to look at it in general: We got off that other trip [and] got our momentum back a little bit,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Sunday. “I think guys are feeling pretty good about it…We’re not a club that’s just going to fold up when we lose a couple.”

As Miami embarks on another 10-game trip, reinforcements are near. Both Jazz Chisholm Jr and Jorge Alfaro have been assigned to rehab stints with Triple-A Jacksonville. Elieser Hernandez is nearing a rehab assignment as well.

Marlins Positives vs Milwaukee: Lewis Brinson Breakout

When Starling Marte landed on the IL, questions swirled about how Mattingly might fill the void. Mattingly approached this problem by rotating different players into the position. Against Milwaukee, three different players started in center field. But Lewis Brinson’s recent performance may have earned him a longer look at this point.

On Sunday against Milwaukee, Brinson posted his best stat line of the season for the Marlins. The 27-year-old outfielder went 3-for-4, connecting on a clutch, game-tying home run in the seventh inning. It looked like just the spark the Marlins offense needed, but alas, the team couldn’t build on Brinson’s success.

“It definitely felt good,” Brinson admitted after the game. It’s certainly good to see this young man finally finding a measure of consistency and success after a few seasons of struggle.

Brinson’s batting average bottomed out this season at .091 on April 24th. Since then, he’s raised his average nearly .150 points. Over his last seven games, Brinson sports a .348 batting average with a 1.044 OPS. He’s driven in four, hit two doubles and connected on a pair of homers.

Brinson said Sunday the team “battled all the way to the end” and he’s done that all season long. Marte remains a ways away from returning to the team. He’s started to increase his rotational strength, but he’s yet to begin baseball activities.

Having consistent production from Brinson will buoy Miami’s efforts while Marte heals. Mattingly may rotate the players in center over the course of the next month, but if Brinson stays hot, he’ll take the job.

Marlins Pitching Continues to Help vs Milwaukee

Sandy Alcantara continued his strong string of starts this season. Although missing some of his normal sharpness, Alcantara still batted for seven innings. He gave up one earned run on Daniel Vogelbach’s homer in the fourth. Sandy scattered four other hits and walked two. He struck out six and ultimately lowered his ERA to 2.72 with the performance.

Trevor Rogers also provided further evidence he could be a frontline starter for years to come. On Friday, Rogers went five innings and struck out six, surrendering just one earned run. He lowered his ERA to 1.89 and leads the team with 50 strikeouts. His four wins also pace the pitching staff.

Anthony Bender maintained his momentum to start his MLB career. Bender blew away a pair of Brewers in his inning on Saturday. Bender’s started his career with three consecutive scoreless appearances. He’s given up just one hit and struck out five over 3.0 IP thus far.

Zach Pop ran his scoreless innings streak to 8.2 with his latest outing. Ever since giving up a three-run homer in Atlanta on April 15th, Pop has been fantastic. Over his scoreless span, he’s given up just four hits (though it should be three with a fielding error). He’s limited walks to two. Pop’s lowered his ERA to 5.25, his batting-average-against to .163 and his WHIP to 1.00.

The Marlins’ staff ERA ranks third overall in MLB at 3.16 and fourth in WHIP (1.14). They’ve issued the third-fewest walks (97) and allowed the third-fewest runs (116).

Miami’s offense, meanwhile, scores 4.12 runs-per-game this season (21st in MLB). But they’re better on the road (4.31) than at home (3.94). The team’s OPS (on-base-plus-slugging) stands at .669 (25th). It’s a shame the offense hasn’t produced more for this staff.

Up Next: at Arizona Diamondbacks (15-19)

The Marlins hit the road again, embarking on a 10-game, three-city trip. This pivotal road stretch includes stops in Arizona, Los Angeles (versus the Dodgers) and Philadelphia. Miami limped through its last trip with a 3-7 record. To keep pace in the NL East, the Marlins must manage something better than that.

The first stop on this trek is Arizona. Miami recently swept the Diamondbacks, then Arizona got swept by the New York Mets. The Diamondbacks seek to stabilize things at home, where they’re 6-5 this season. Although the team remains without Ketel Marte and Kole Calhoun, Miami must reckon with a solid opposing lineup. Arizona’s team on-base percentage of .315 is eighth in the league. Eduardo Escobar leads the Diamondbacks with seven homers and has 18 RBI, but his batting average is just .222.

Arizona enters having lost six straight. They’re 3-7 in their last 10, with a .243 team batting average and a 5.48 combined ERA. Over that stretch, the Diamondbacks have been outscored by 18 runs.

The Marlins, meanwhile, continue to tread water with a number of players missing. Miami has a 5-5 record over their last 10, and even though the team’s batting average is just .221, they’ve outscored opponents by 12 over that span. That’s mostly because the team’s ERA is 2.23.

In the last matchup between these two clubs, Miami outscored the Diamondbacks by 16 runs. They’ll see Luke Weaver (1-3, 6.07) again, who they scored six runs over four innings on. Madison Bumgarner (3-2, 4.91) stands to start Tuesday, while former Marlin Zac Gallen (1-1, 3.04) should go Wednesday.

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