The Marlins jumped out to an early lead against the New York Mets but fell by a final of 7-6, failing to secure the series sweep.
The Marlins gave a valiant effort but weren't able to pull out the series sweep, falling to the New York Mets by a final score of 7-6. Jordany Valdespin's three-run homer in the sixth inning gave the Mets the lead and they didn't look back from there. Here are a few notes from the game:
As we've talked about extensively here at Fish Stripes, with Giancarlo Stanton out for an extended period of time, the microscope will be on Marcell Ozuna and his adjustment to the big leagues. Through two games, it appears that he's left off right where he was at Double-A Jacksonville. He followed up yesterday's debut (where he went 1-for-3) with a 2-for-4 outing this afternoon and was on deck when Justin Ruggiano struck out to end the game.
Ozuna has shown great patience in his plate appearances so far, and his at-bat in the third inning of today's game against Dillon Gee was perhaps the most impressive of his big league career to date. Ozuna stayed away from a two-strike breaking ball that was pretty close to the outside corner and then laced the following pitch to center field and motored into second base when he saw the ball was bobbled by Mets center fielder Juan Lagares. What has been encouraging to see from Ozuna is that he has avoided over-swinging and trying to launch balls into the seats in favor of making good contact with pitches in the zone. Sooner or later, we'll see him launch one and set off The Monstrosity (he had three consecutive seasons of 20+ homers in the minors entering 2013), but for now, Ozuna's discipline at the plate is something that could make him primed for success if he's able to sustain it here at the big league level.
In addition to Ozuna, lefty Brad Hand made his 2013 debut, pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Hand didn't allow a hit while striking out three and walking two, but most importantly kept the Mets off the board following rough relief outings by A.J. Ramos and Chad Qualls. Hand has posted some horrific numbers in his past big league stints with the Marlins, but he was effective in this game and he should provide the Fish with some bullpen flexibility in the long relief role. One thing that will need to change his Hand's "ability" to walk batters, as he has a identical K/9 and BB/9 rates for his career...at 5.80. Yikes.
Something Called Momentum
It's not reason to throw a ticker-tape parade, but the Fish taking two out of three from the Mets can at the very least temporarily provide the team a little confidence and momentum as they begin their trek through the May schedule. If Ozuna continues to play well in his opportunity, it has the ability to breathe some life into a team that has been used to nothing but bad news over the past couple weeks. One moment that sticks out in my mind comes from the first game of the series, the walk-off, 15-inning victory. During the postgame celebration, no one seemed more genuinely excited than Jose Fernandez. This is the same Jose Fernandez that is just 20 years of age and has just one month's worth of big league experience. This is going to be (and already has been) a long year for Marlins fans, just as it is and will be for the players. So why not enjoy and savor the good moments? With as many words as we'll spend writing about the negatives this season, I think it's also important to recognize the positives because LIFE, MAN.