Two-hundred-ninety-nine days since their last regular season game, the Miami Marlins finally got another shot at the Philadelphia Phillies.
Last year, the Miami Marlins were 10-9 against Philadelphia, their only winning record against a National League East opponent. It seems they continued that trend with a nice combination of pitching and hitting.
Although Austin Nola is widely regarded as a better top-line starter than Sandy Alcantara, their ERA from one season ago (3.88-to-3.87) were virtually identical. Alcantara more than held his own against the Phillies ace, striking out seven and surrendering only three hits and a pair of walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Neither team could muster as much as a baserunner until the third inning, when Francisco Cervelli got a one-out single off Nola. Miguel Rojas singled Cervelli to third, and Jonathan Villar followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Miami Marlins on the board. Rojas then stole second, but was stranded there after a Jesus Aguilar strikeout.
The Phillies got that first run back in the fifth, when Didi Gregorius hit his first round-tripper of the season. In the sixth inning, the Marlins got to Nola to put Miami on top for keeps.
Rojas opened with a walk, and Aguilar drove him home with his first homer of the season to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead. Corey Dickerson followed with a double and Harold Ramirez drew a five-pitch walk. After the Phillies brought out Ramon Rosso to relieve Nola, a wild pitch moved Dickerson and Ramirez up 90 feet. Brian Anderson struck out, and Garrett Cooper drove two runs home with a double.
In the bottom of the seventh, Gregorius scored on an error by Jonathan Villar, but that’s all the Phillies could muster.
In addition to Alcantara’s solid start, Brad Boxberger shut down a potential rally in the seventh despite Villar’s error. Yimi García gave up a hit and a walk in a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Kintzler earned his first save, allowing one hit in the ninth.
The Miami Marlins outhit the Phillies, nine-to-five overall, led by Dickerson and Rojas with two hits apiece. Isan Diaz struck out three times in going 0-for-4 for the game.
In a very early example of how each game is more important with fewer games on the schedule, the Miami Marlins playoff odds increased from 9.3 percent to 12.1 percent with their Opening Day victory.
Fangraphs Heroes and Zeroes
Using the WPA metric as applied by Fangraphs, the biggest heroes of the game were Alcantara (.210), Gregorius (.201), Aguilar (.189), Rojas (.133), and Dickerson (.118). The players with the biggest negative impact on the game were Andrew McCutchen (-.147), Nola (-.141), Rosso (-.120), Jean Segura (-.111), J.T. Realmuto (-.109), and Anderson (-.100)
Odds and Ends
Villar, Aguilar, Dickerson, Cervelli, Boxberger, García, and Kintzler all made their first Miami Marlins appearances, bringing the franchise total to 597 players all-time.
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Rojas passed Gary Sheffield into number 20 on the Marlins all-time leaderboard with his 559th appearance.
Alcantara’s seven strikeouts moved him past Juan Carlos Oviedo into 46th on the leaderboard, with 188. He’s now just four away from passing Chuck Smith, Brad Hand, Burke Badenhop, and Charlie Hough into 42nd.
Tomorrow afternoon at 4:05PM EDT, they’ll do it again. Caleb Smith will face off against Zack Wheeler as the Marlins try to win their first series of 2020 early. Thanks for reading.