The Miami Marlins may have been 18 players short following a coronavirus outbreak last week, but they still managed to produce a great brand of baseball against the Baltimore Orioles.
And after holding the Orioles to 24 consecutive innings without a run and racking up four wins this week, the Marlins are the hottest team in the N.L. East.
After winning the first part of their double-header game Wednesday, Miami had 45 minutes to prepare for the next match. With three starting pitchers infected with COVID-19, the Marlins looked to for options around their bullpen for the entire game.
Josh A. Smith, one of the 16 players that Miami called up to replace those that were infected, got the start for their first “home” game.
Along with Smith, Sterling Sharp, Brian Moran, Justin Shafer, and Stephen Tarpley all pitched for the Marlins in a frenzy for the bullpen. The Marlins started out hot in the batter’s box, scoring their only two runs in the first inning. Jesus Aguilar recorded an RBI off a sac fly and Brian Anderson brought in a run with a single. Miami would give up their first run in 24 innings late in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s match. That is when Stephen Tarpley came in, closed the opportunity for Baltimore and continued Miami’s win streak to four with a final score of 2-1.
Miami looked to bring out the broomsticks for the second time this season Thursday. Jordan Yamamoto, another call up from the 60 man player pool, got the starting nod at pitcher for Miami. Yamamoto was solid, recording three strikeouts in the first inning, but allowing a solo home run in the second.
Jonathan Villar got off to a great start, hitting a home run on the first pitch of the game. The Marlins pitching crew disappointed Thursday, allowing ten hits and four home runs, two of which were hit by Baltimore’s Renato Nunez. The Orioles pitching crew didn’t really have a lot of good coming for their way either, as Miami earned 11 hits off of Baltimore which includes Villar’s homer on the first pitch.
It seemed like every punch Baltimore threw at Miami, the Marlins threw one back even harder. It would be Aguilar’s second sac fly and Anderson’s RBI triple that would put Miami on top. Brandon Kintzler would close out the game and clinched the series sweep in a back-and-forth 8-7 victory over Baltimore, bringing Miami’s win streak up to five games in a row.
Offensive Player of the Series: Jonathan Villar:
Marlins fans finally saw why the team brought in the slugger. Villar went 4-6 on the series, hitting a homer early in Thursday’s game, a few hits, solid baserunning and scored a couple of runs for Miami. Villar, a former All-Star, has been waiting for his season to get running and this might as well be it.
Defensive Player of the Series: Brian Anderson:
Anderson takes the accolade for ultimately being a swiss army knife for Miami. Anderson played his first-ever Major League Baseball game at first base, where he would show off his catching skills. Anderson also made some amazing plays in the first game of the doubleheader that deserves some mentions.
The blazing hot Marlins are on their way to the Big Apple, where they’ll face the not so hot New York Mets in a 3-game weekend series. The series is set to kick off at Citi Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m.