The Miami Marlins will open their season tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT, at Citizens Bank Park. Aaron Nola, who is coming off a 12-7 season with a 3.87 ERA, will throw it, likely to Jonathan Villar.
The Miami Marlins recently completed the strangest Spring Training in history, going 12-6 in February and March before taking four-and-a-half months off for the coronavirus pandemic. After returning, they split a two-game set with the Atlanta Braves to complete their preseason with a solid 13-7 record.
The Phillies were one of two teams who actually finished Spring Training with a better record than the Marlins in the Grapefruit League. Finishing with a mark of 15-6, Philadelphia completed the preseason1.5 games ahead of Miami and clinched the all-important Spring Training pennant.
The last time these two teams met in regular season action was the last game of last season. On September 29 of last year, the Marlins defeated the Phils, 4-3 despite getting outhit, 13-to-7. Sandy Alcantara got the win to improve to 6-14, completing the campaign with a 3.88 ERA. Tyler Kinley, now with the Colorado Rockies, collected the save.
Offensively in that game, the Marlins were uncharacteristically dependent on the long-ball. All four runs were scored via home run. In the second inning, Starlin Castro (now a Washington National) hit his 22nd and Isan Diaz hit his fifth, a two run shot. Martin Prado hit his final major league home run in the third inning to give him exactly 100 for his career.
Despite their solid roster, the loss dropped the Phillies to .500 for the season, while the Marlins closed it out with a 57-105 record. Miami won 10-of-19 against the Phillies to clinch their only winning mark against any National League East team. All time, the Phillies have topped the Marlins in 249-of-454 games, good for a .548 winning percentage.
I know it’s hard to forget, but we, as fans, shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that anything can happen over the course of a baseball season. “Anything” has come to mean, literally anything when applied to a season only 37 percent the size of a regulation regular season. Here we are in late-July, and everyone is tied for first place.
Last night, in an ESPN Opening Night special, the New York Yankees topped the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals by a 4-1 final in a game that lasted just barely over the minimum five innings. Gerrit Cole pitched a complete-game one-hitter, as it were, holding the Nats to one hit, a solo shot to Adam Eaton. Giancarlo Stanton went deep off Matt Scherzer with a two run homer.
In the late game, Enrique Hernández led the Los Angeles Dodgers offensive assault with four hits and five RBI, including a two-run, eighth inning homer. The Dodgers downed the San Francisco Giants by an 8-1 final count.
In today’s “Eastern League” games, the New York Mets will host the Atlanta Braves at 4:10, the Toronto Blue Jays host the Tampa Bay Rays at 6:40, and the Boston Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles at 7:30.
The Miami Marlins will hand the ball to Sandy Alcantara to make his first Opening Day start. He’ll face off against Aaron Nola. Although Nola went 12-7 to Alcantara’s 6-14 figure in 2019, what’s overlooked is that they finished with nearly identical ERA’s, 3.87 to 3.88 respectively.
Going by rotochamp.com‘s projection, the Marlins will take the field looking a lot like they did on Tuesday night:
Using the same source, the Phillies will field the following lineup:
1 LF Andrew McCutchen
2 RF Bryce Harper
3 C J.T. Realmuto
4 DH Jay Bruce
5 1B Rhys Hoskins
6 SS Didi Gregorius
7 3B Jean Segura
8 2B Scott Kingery
9 CF Adam Haseley
Rotochamp projects the Marlins to finish last in the National League East at 26-34, while projecting the Phillies to finish three games ahead of them in fourth place at 29-31. Fangraphs gives the Miami Marlins a 9.3 percent chance to finish in the playoffs and have the Phillies with a 49.4 percent chance. Only the Baltimore Orioles (1.5 percent) and the Seattle Mariners (5.6 percent) have a lower shot than does Miami.
Dickerson and Aguilar will be the 591st and 592nd players to make a regular season appearance for the Miami Marlins. Some relievers may make a debut later in the game as well.
Jose Ureña, Rojas, and Adam Conley will each play in a sixth season for the Miami Marlins this year, becoming the 25th, 26th, and 27th such players to play with the team that long.
Rojas will appear in his 559th game, passing Gary Sheffield into the Marlins all-time top 20.
With three plate appearances, Brian Anderson will pass Alfredo Amezaga into 41st on the all-time leaderboard with 1288.
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Anderson’s next homer will give him 32 with the team, passing Mark Kotsay into 32nd all-time. Rojas is in 46th all-time with 19, and Alfaro is tied for 47th with 18.
Rojas’ next RBI will put him alone in 32nd on the leaderboard, passing Kurt Abbott and Wes Helms with 157.
BA’s next walk will give him 117, tying him with Chuck Carr in 30th.
Surprisingly, four of the five starters in the Miami Marlins rotation rank in the top 50 all-time in starts. Ureña is in 13th with 93, Caleb Smith is in 33rd with 44, Alcantara is 38th with 38, and Pablo Lopez has 31, good for 47th.
Alcantara needs five strikeouts to tie Juan Carlos Oviedo in 46th all-time with 186.
Check back here later throughout the day for more on the Miami Marlins opening day activity.