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Marlins Lackluster Offense Leads to Sweep in Washington

by | May 3, 2021 | Baseball, Daily Coverage

Miami (11-16) suffered its second sweep of the season, this one at the hands of the Washington Nationals (12-12). The Marlins lackluster offense failed to support solid efforts from the pitching staff. Injuries decimated Miami’s lineup during this 10-game road trip and the Marlins limp home after going 3-7 away from loanDepot park.

Despite struggling to find any offensive consistency, the Marlins stayed in most games throughout this trip. Aside from Paul Campbell’s performance Saturday, Miami’s starters pitched well. In addition, the bullpen continued to provide reliable relief for the most part. Although the Marlins were swept in Washington, one could argue this series changed on just two pitches.

The Marlins offense scored a total of four runs, but the series was not a total loss. Miami got an extended look at some of its young prospects who continue to fill the holes in this injury-riddled lineup. The pitchers looked pretty good, too.

Marlins Offense Ineffective

The Marlins struggles to plate runners in scoring position continued in Washington. Miami went 2-for-16 with RISP and left 18 runners stranded on base. These struggles shouldn’t surprise, however, considering the lineups Miami put out there.

The Marlins managed just one two-out RBI against in Washington. This season, Miami sports 47 two-out RBI, which was seventh-most in MLB entering Sunday. 44.3 percent of the team’s runs have scored with two outs in 2021. This continues the 2020 trend when Miami scored 122 of its 263 runs (46.4 percent) with two outs, the highest such percentage in MLB according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

These struggles remain particularly frustrating considering most of Miami’s games are close ones. Of the Marlins’ 16 losses, 12 have been by two runs or less. Miami stands at 2-7 in one-run games this season, after posting a 11-8 record in one-run games last season.

The Marlins offense saw little production from the veteran bats beyond Jesus Aguilar. The entire team needs some #ArepaPowerAdam Duvall and Garrett Cooper combined to go 8-for-66 on the trip, with just two extra-base hits. They struck out 26 times between them.  

“Obviously the offense is still kind of not really catching a groove, and we don’t seem to be able to sustain anything,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Saturday. “We have a couple of days where we swing the bats good, and then it seems like we get off track. Again, I think we’re capable, we’ve just got to get more consistent.”

Reinforcements for the Marlins offense should be on the way soon. Mattingly remains optimistic Brian Anderson will return from his IL stint Tuesday, and Jazz Chisholm Jr could return by the weekend. Miguel Rojas, however, sat out Sunday’s game due to hamstring and hip tightness.

Young Prospects Need to Help Marlins Offense

This spate of injuries provides some of Miami’s young talent the opportunity to learn at the Major League level. While this isn’t ideal for the team’s competitive window right now, this affords the Marlins valuable information for future roster decisions.

Jose Devers received the first opportunity in the wake of Anderson’s injury. Devers, who had never played above High-A prior to this recent stint, flashed an MLB ready glove but largely looked overmatch at the plate. He struck out three times in his debut. Devers picked up his first career hit on Sunday. Overall, however, he’s just 1-for-9 with an infield single, an RBI and four strikeouts in 10 plate appearances.

Isan Diaz made his 2021 debut in Milwaukee and started all three games in Washington. Miami’s 2019 Minor League Player-of-the-Year has struggled at the Major League level and disappointed this Spring, but his most recent run shows signs of improvement. He homered off Max Scherzer Sunday and sports a .375 On-Base percentage through four games. Diaz is only 2-for-11 but he’s cut down on strikeouts (two) and has managed three RBI for the Marlins offense. His defense has been solid as well.

Monte Harrison, meanwhile, joined the team in Washington. Mattingly mentioned Harrison would primarily serve, like Devers, as a backup, but he did get the start on Sunday. In three games so far, Harrison is 1-for-5 with one strikeout and a single.

Young Pitching Prospering

Jordan Holloway continues to impress out of the bullpen. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched two scoreless innings in Washington. Over his 7.0 IP, he’s allowed two hits and one walk, with seven strikeouts and a 0.43 WHIP. Holloway progressed through Miami’s system as a starter and he may get a look there in the coming days.

Zach Pop has bounced back from his early struggles. He’s gone four straight appearances without surrendering a run. In those 5.2 IP, he’s tallied nine strikeouts with just one walk and lowered his ERA to 7.00. Pop should have been charged with an error Sunday. He mistakenly lobbed a toss to first which resulted in loaded bases for the Nationals rather than an inning-ending groundout.

Trevor Rogers also continued to impress despite taking the loss Sunday. He made one bad pitch to Ryan Zimmerman, though he wasn’t as sharp throughout. The key for Rogers remains his command. If he can limit walks, he’s a frontline starter. In his three wins, he allowed three walks over 19.0 IP. During his other three outings (two losses and a ND), he combined for 10 walks in 14.0 IP. Rogers should probably be the NL Rookie of the Month after his impressive April.

Paul Campbell, meanwhile, struggled in his latest outing. And he might not be long for this roster if his inefficiencies continue. Over 11.1 IP, Campbell has allowed 19 hits, six walks and two hit batsmen. He sports a 2.21 WHIP, which would be the highest figure in MLB by far if he had enough innings to qualify. The Marlins can’t send Campbell down, considering his Rule-5 designation. Removal from the active roster means he gets returned to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Up Next: vs Arizona Diamondbacks (15-13)

The Diamondbacks come to Miami for the first time in nearly two years. Arizona arrives riding something of a hot streak, as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games including 3-of-4 versus the Colorado Rockies (10-18).

The Marlins took the season series in 2019, 4-3. Interestingly, the last two wins Miami has over the Diamondbacks are credited to Caleb Smith, who now pitches for Arizona. Smith is not scheduled to pitch against Miami during this three-game set.

Miami expects to see RHP Luke Weaver (1-2, 4.91) and LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-2, 5.58). Don’t let Bumgarner’s numbers fool you, he’s been spectacular of late. His last time out, MadBum tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves. Weaver, meanwhile, hasn’t been great. He allowed three runs in 4.0 IP to the Rockies in his last start and is 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA over his last three starts. The Diamondback have yet to announce a starter for Tuesday’s game.  

Like the Marlins, injuries have plagued Arizona. All-Star Ketel Marte suffered a strained right hamstring on April 7th and has been out since. The Diamondbacks are also without OF Kole Calhoun, OF Tim Locastro, RHP Joakim Soria and 1B Christian Walker.

The Diamondbacks potent offense enters scoring 5.36 runs-per-game (second-most in MLB). The team ranks fifth in OPS (.750). SS Josh Rojas leads the way for the D-Backs these days. Rojas has three homers in his last four games and has gone 14-for-37 (.378) over his last 12.

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