Miami, Florida – My oh my. Miguel Rojas returned with a bang Friday night, helping Miami snap a five-game losing streak via a home run to win 3-2 over the Nationals. The ballclub had been searching for the big hit and they found it in Rojas’ first at-bat in the second inning, a three-run blast to leftfield. Gone nearly a month due to COVID, Miggy built his fourth multi-hit game in as many starts. Elieser Hernandez had a solid outing, tossing five frames of two-run ball collecting six strikeouts. The right-hander allowed a pair of homers in an otherwise good start.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 21, 2020
After struggling in the Mets series, the bullpen came out in force. Stephen Tarpley stood out the most, striking out the side in the sixth before fanning one more the following inning. Brandon Kintzler took care of business to earn his fourth save of the season. Miami had a chance to add more in the seventh after loading the bases with one out, but the effort fizzled once Francisco Cervelli and Brian Anderson were retired. Jorge Alfaro made his season debut after testing positive for COVID prior to Opening Day. Alfaro was slotted as the DH, swinging at the first pitch he saw for the single. He went 1-for-4 whiffing twice.
Friday’s game also saw the MLB debut of Jesús Sánchez. The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic is a big and powerful left-handed hitter. Coach Don Mattingly praised Sánchez as a tooled-up athlete with the potential to be a great everyday player. He went hitless but made a nice catch in the ninth, gloving a sinking line drive.
The Marlins were unable to play their series finale yesterday due to two members of the Mets organization testing positive for coronavirus, delaying Miggy’s return.
Searching for the big hit
It took the Fish a week to find their big hit. It was nowhere to be found against the Mets. They were crushed 11-4 to start the series despite loading the bases three times. Neither starting pitcher lasted beyond the second inning. Jordan Yamamoto was yanked after giving up two doubles, a single and a pair of walks. Postgame it was announced Yamamoto was optioned to the alternate training site. The bullpen also stumbled, surrendering four home runs. The team stranded a whopping 15 runners in the loss. We did get to see Logan Forsythe pitch for the first time though.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 18, 2020
The series didn’t get any better.
Miami lost 8-3 Tuesday in spite of recording 11 hits. Humberto Mejía pitched efficiently through three innings but labored in the fourth, tossing 21 pitches ending his night. He was taken deep twice in the outing, giving up three earned runs. The Fish missed an opportunity against Corey Oswalt, a guy who has not found much success in MLB. Miami’s last plate appearance in the ninth really illustrated their offensive struggles as of late. They showed life with three consecutive hits to load the bases only to see effort collapse. Monte Harrison, Jonathan Villar, and Matt Joyce all struck out to kill the rally. Talk about disappointing.
That's a dub! #MetsWin
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 19, 2020
The Fish did manage to find ways to score in the third game with a rally in the eighth.
Cervelli walked to load the bases followed by Eddy Alvarez getting the HBP RBI. Forsythe also walked to tie it but Villar struck out looking to end the inning. The comeback was for naught, Michael Conforto went deep in the ninth for the 5-3 win. Kintzler said it best, it was a great comeback by the team, a terrible pitch by him.
It’s been a rough stretch of games for the ballclub. Prior to tonight’s game, they lost eight out of their last 10 in the midst of a five-game skid. With the exception of Yamamoto, the starters have been fine. Where the trouble lies is in the relief pitching. Particularly in the Mets series, the bullpen has been unable to pitch clean innings and has a tendency of serving up longballs. In fact, the pitching, in general, has given up home runs in six of their last seven games. 13 dingers total in that span. Overall they’ve allowed 35 homers on the season, tied for the tenth-most in MLB. You’re not going to win games with the ball leaving the park. Another big problem is at the plate.
In the last seven games, Miami went 12-for-58 with runners in scoring position, a .207 average. In that timeframe, they’ve stranded 57 runners and have been outscored 34-22. The good news is Miguel Rojas is back and ready to go, bringing much-needed pop to the lineup. As more players return from their COVID recovery, several replacements will not last much longer on the roster. The Fish will need to quickly turn things around. Standing at 10-9 they trail the Atlanta Braves with no time off until the last day of the month. A miraculous start post-outbreak suddenly finds Miami trying to make up lost ground. While doable, they need to keep it rolling in the Nationals series.
Happy to be back 😂 https://t.co/2R68sLohyI
— Miguel Rojas (@MRojasOfficial) August 20, 2020