Smoke and Mirrors? Miami Marlins Win Sixth Straight
The Marlins continued their improbable run to restart their season with their sixth straight win on Friday night.
The Miami Marlins win streak includes an eight-day hiatus as the team dealt with widespread COVID-19 infection. Correspondingly, the bullpen, the bench, the rotation, and even part of the lineup is made up of guys that nobody expected to see in a Marlins uniform this season.
On a soggy night in mostly deserted Citi Field (game attendance: zero), the Miami Marlins got out to an early lead and never trailed to the New York Mets, a team expected to qualify for the playoffs.
Through their first two series, the Miami Marlins defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in two games out of three before their imprisonment at a Philadelphia hotel. It wasn’t really surprising, as the Marlins had the Phillies number last season, with a 9-8 record that counted as their only winning clip against any National League East team.
The Baltimore Orioles, famously, were even worse than the 57-105 Miami Marlins in 2019, and the good guys took all four in Camden Yards. The New York Mets, however, were supposed to bring the Marlins back to earth. Not today they didn’t.
The Miami Marlins scored all of their runs in the second inning. Jesus Aguilar grounded out to lead things off, but Brian Anderson drew a five-pitch walk to get on first. He moved to second on Matt Joyce’s single in the next at bat. Francisco Cervelli parked one in the right field stands to give the Marlins their lead, his second round-tripper of the season.
After that, Logan Forsythe flew out, but Magneuris Sierra drew a four-pitch walk. Sierra jetted home on a Jonathan Villar double for Miami’s last run of the game.
In the bottom of the frame, Dominic Smith got one back for the Mets with his second homer of the season off Marlins starter Humberto Mejia. Yes, Mejia. The prospect who hadn’t appeared above single-A level through his career until tonight’s contest. For his part, Mejia struck out six in only 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and two walks.
The Marlins used a total of six pitchers to get through the game, including three of them in a troubling eighth inning. James Hoyt gave up a leadoff double to Amed Rosario, and was relieved by Richard Bleier. Bleier walked Brian Dozier before Alvarez turned in a great defensive snag of a line drive above his head. Pete Alonso singled to load the bases.
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Michael Conforto was safe and Rosario scored on a Brian Anderson defensive throwing error, then Nick Vincent was called in to preserve the by-then precarious two-run Marlins advantage. Vincent surrendered a single to J.D. Davis, then induced a Smith fly out and a Wilson Ramos ground out to get out of the mess with the Marlins still winning by one run. Vincent remained on the hill for the ninth, and collected three outs without incident.
For a little perspective, none of the Miami Marlins six pitchers in the game had ever appeared in a game for the franchise before this season. In fact, only Anderson, Lewis Brinson, and Sierra had appeared for the club at all prior to 2020.
In this contest, Aguilar improved his average to .259 with a pair of doubles. Matt Joyce added a pair of hits in four at bats after starting the campaign 0-for-5. Stephen Tarpley pitched two perfect frames, collecting a pair of strikeouts as the Marlins totaled 11 for the game.
These Marlins have surprised us so far. How long can they keep it up? FanGraphs continues to insist not very much longer, but they’ve said that after every game so far. With a 7-1 record and a one game lead in the NL East, they’re still projected to win only 27 games. That is, they’re going to go 20-32 the rest of the way. The Miami Marlins may have something to say about that. Thanks for reading.