Independence Day Fireworks: Marlins Take Citrus Series Over Rays

MIAMI, FL - JULY 04: JT Riddle #10 of the Miami Marlins hits an RBI triple in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park on July 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 04: JT Riddle #10 of the Miami Marlins hits an RBI triple in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park on July 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Fireworks came early for the Miami Marlins as shortstop J.T. Riddle had three hits, including his fifth home run the season to cap a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The victory, following a 16-inning marathon the night before, captured another series for the Marlins, who are now 36-52 on the season.

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Riddle finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle on Independence Day and backed Jose Urena, who made his first start since coming off the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder impingement. Riddle, had two RBIs and two runs scored on the afternoon to lead the offensive push by Miami.

Urena was able to throw five scoreless innings, showing no signs of any issues with his shoulder. Per Max Goodman of MLB.com, the starter allowed just three hits and two walks, striking out six on 78 pitches (46 strikes). Right-hander Drew Rucinski got the win, allowing just one hit and striking out two in two innings of relief.

Rucinski is now 4-1 on the season since having his Triple-A contract from New Orleans purchased on June 3.

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The Marlins were able to manufacture runs in the sixth inning off Rays reliever Ryan Weber. Starlin Castro got on base with a base hit to left field. Riddle then took the first pitch he saw, a sinker in centerfield. The ball hit the wall, allowing Castro to come around and score. The triple Riddle hit traveled 403 feet, Goodman wrote.

JB Shuck, who played on Wednesday for the injured Lewis Brinson, hit a slow roller to the second baseman, which allowed Riddle to score as he slid past the tag of Rays catcher Jesus Sucre.

Hitting

  • The Marlins mustered six hits on the day. They struck out a collective six times and left eight batters on base.
  • Riddle led all hitters with three hits. He now has a .258 batting average and .746 OPS for the season.
  • Starlin Castro had two hits on the day and one run. He is now hitting .292 for the season and has an OPS of .737.

Pitching

  • Jose Urena continues to prove he can be dominant on the mound. He pitched five innings, had six strikeouts and now has a 4.19 ERA.
  • Drew Rucinski pitched two innings to earn the win. He stuck out two Rays batters and lowered his ERA to 3.24.
  • Brad Ziegler pitched the ninth inning to grab his 10th save of the season.

News on Brinson

Prior to the start of the game Wednesday, the Marlins announced they had placed their centerfielder on the disabled list with inflammation of his hip. Despite playing the entire game on Tuesday, the injury had been persisting to the point the team decided to rest him as the team prepares for a series in Washington against the Nationals beginning on Thursday.

“It’s been bothering me for a little bit,” Brinson said via MLB.com. “Just tried to play through it last night and it hurt pretty bad. Just something I’ve been dealing with.”

The move could help Brinson, who has had a rocky first half at the plate. He is batting .186 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs. While the hitting issues have persisted, Brinson’s glove and defense have been an asset for the Marlins.

Scott Just Gettin’ Started in GCL

Miami’s first-round pick Connor Scott got his first taste of minor league pitching.

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Scott, the 13th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft in June, made his pro debut as a designated hitter for the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League club at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

The high school standout from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, signed his contract with the organization only hours after being drafted. He has been in Jupiter, Florida working out prior to his first action.

Frisaro wrote, “The Marlins have been easing the 18-year-old into action, partly because of the off time from his prep season. Scott also had been dealing with a mild hamstring strain, so the Marlins did not rush him.”

It is believed Scott will see time in center field.

On Deck – Lopez’s Second Act

Pablo Lopez will get the ball for the first game of the series on Thursday against the Washington Nationals. The rookie pitcher won his first outing last week, a 5-2 win over the New York Mets.

He pitched six innings in his first outing, giving up six hit and two runs while striking out five batters.

The Nationals will counter with Jeremy Hellickson, who is no stranger to the Marlins and was part of trade rumors two seasons ago. Hellickson has thrown two shutouts in his career. One of them came against Miami when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Next: Marlins Drop Marathon To Rays In Citrus Series

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