The Miami Marlins have played on March 31 six times through their 27-season major league history, winning half of them.
Eventual four-season Miami Marlins backup catcher Jeff Mathis is born in Marianna, FL. After getting taken in the first round by the Anaheim Angels in 2001, he eventually made his major league debut with them in 2005.
From 2013 through 2016, Mathis played in 210 games for the Marlins, hitting .195/.251/.292 with 11 homers and 68 RBI. He also threw out base stealers at better than the league-average in all four years.
To date, no Marlins team has fared worse than the 54-108 record cobbled together by the 1998 Florida club. It didn’t start out that way, though. Opening day would see the Marlins erupt for 14 hits against Kevin Tapani and the Cubs. Tapani would relinquish nine runs in his two inning start. Craig Counsell led the way with three hits.
Cliff Floyd, Edgar Renteria, Ryan Jackson, Gary Sheffield, & Mark Kotsay each collected a pair of hits. Sheffield and Charles Johnson each went deep. Livan Hernandez (1-0, 8.44) earned the victory despite surrendering five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, on seven hits and four walks.
Mouton would appear in 21 games for the 2001 Marlins, and go one-for-17 from the plate, with one run scored, one RBI, and seven strikeouts.
Opening Day 2003 would see the Marlins host the Phillies and 37,137 at Pro Player Stadium. A sloppy game from beginning to end, the large crowd would witness five errors and 11 pitchers in total.
Josh Beckett took the loss, surrendering seven runs (but only two earned) in 2 2/3 innings on five hits and four walks. Juan Pierre and Mike Lowell each collected two hits, and Ivan Rodriguez went deep. Nothing on display in this, the first game of the Marlins second championship season, would seem to indicate the heights to which the 2003 Florida Marlins would ascend.
Released Brian Banks. Banks had played in 112 games for the Marlins over the past two seasons, hitting .249/.348/.395 with five homers and 27 RBI.
Optioned Joe Dillon & Josh Willingham to Triple-A. Returned Luke Hagerty (rule 5) to Cubs. Of course, Willingham eventually wound up hitting 63 homers for the Marlins over parts of five seasons, with a slash line of .266/.361/.472, along with 219 RBI.
Placed Mike Megrew on 15-day DL. Assigned Tom Wilson to minor league camp.
With 38,308 in the house at Dolphin Stadium, the Marlins dropped their opening day matchup with the Mets, 7-2 in 2008. Marlins starter Mark Hendrickson (0-1, 10.80) proved the guilty party, surrendering six earned runs in five innings, on seven hits and three walks.
No Marlins player finished with multiple hits. Josh Willingham hit a two-run shot to account for all of Miami’s offensive production in the game.
Assigned Alejandro De Aza, John Koronka, and Michael Ryan to minor league camp. Optioned Gaby Sanchez & Burke Badenhop to Triple-A. Sanchez would eventually finish fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year race in 2010, and represent the Florida Marlins in the 2011 All Star game.
Released Jameson Smith & Nathan Simon. Assigned Michael Synan to Marlins.
Assigned Gabriel Castellanos to minors. Released Brandon Cunniff & Zachary Robertson.
Purchased Austin Kearns from Triple-A. Assigned Kyle Kaminska, Rand Smith, and Tony Caldwell to Marlins.
Placed Alfredo Silverio, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Joe Mahoney, Jose Ceda, Logan Morrison, and Nathan Eovaldi on either the 15- or 60-day DL. Called up Alex Sanabia from Triple-A. Purchased contracts of Austin Kearns, Casey Kotchman, Chad Qualls, Chris Valaika, John Maine, Jose Fernandez, & Kevin Slowey. Designated Evan Reed, Gorkys Hernandez, Scott Maine, & Zack Cox for assignment.
The callup of Jose Fernandez was panned as a waste of service time for a player who was sure to be a powerhouse for years to come. We couldn’t then know that he’d be leaving us so early. In hindsight, it gave us an extra season of JDF16. That season, he was 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA, a major league-leading 5.8 H/9, and 187 whiffs in 172 2/3 innings. The 9.7 K/9 rate resultant of that workload would rank as Fernandez’ career-worst.
Angel Morales assigned to minors. Reed Johnson began serving suspension from the season prior.
With 37,116 in attendance at Marlins Park, Jose Fernandez (1-0, 1.50) struck out nine Rockies in six innings, allowing only a solo homer to dent the scoreboard. He allowed five hits and zero walks.
Offensively, the Marlins torched a trio of Rockies pitchers for 10 runs on 14 hits. Marcell Ozuna homered and led the Marlins with three hits, along with Adeiny Hechavarria. Giancarlo Stanton, Casey McGehee, and Christian Yelich each collected a pair of hits.
Assigned Cole Gillespie, Jordan Valdespin, & Tyler Colvin to minor league camp. Assigned Omar Artsen, Yefri Perez, & Zack Cox to Marlins. Released Nick Masset & Reid Brignac.
Released Austen Smith
Assigned Ben Meyer & Marcus Crescentini to Marlins. Lost Jake Esch to Padres via waivers.
Signed Logan Boyd to a minor league deal. Released Kenny Koplove & Taylor Ard.
Odrisamer Despaigne kept the Marlins close in a five-inning no-decision start, striking out six but also giving up five runs. Brad Ziegler (0-1, 13.50) was the eventual guilty party, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Marlins placed Garrett Cooper on 10-day IL with strained left calf. Released Luke Jarvis, Recalled Peter O’Brien from New Orleans Baby Cakes. Jarvis was the Miami Marlins 25th round choice in 2018, but had hit just .217 for the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in 2017.
More from Marlins History
- Miami Marlins One-Year Wonder 1B
- Miami Marlins players & the 2023 Hall of Fame
- Former Miami Marlins star is retiring
- Gary Sheffield or Mark Buehrle, will either Marlin make the Hall of Fame?
- Why don’t we see more dynasties? Part 3
It was a solid first start of the campaign for the Miami Marlins eventual All Star representative, Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 0.00). The six-foot-four right-hander struck out six over eight shutout innings, allowing only four hits and zero walks.
Like Colorado, Miami could only muster five hits in the game, but they put them where they counted. Jorge Alfaro‘s two-run single in the fourth would be the eventual game winner, but JT Riddle‘s seventh inning solo shot would provide the Fish with a little insurance.
Thanks for reading, and happy quarantine!