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Early runs hold up, bullpen strong in 4-3 win

Marlins score one in second, three in third as bullpen backs Fernandez for club's 9th win in last 10

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Urena, Morris, Barraclough, and Ramos. Those were the four bullpen arms the Marlins used to preserve the one run lead left by Jose Fernandez after five relatively good innings. The Marlins clung to their one run lead late and were eventually able to turn things over to their closer A.J. Ramos to shut the door. Their offense shined early and was just enough to set up a possible sweep game against the Diamondbacks tomorrow night @ 7:10pm ET.

Early Inning Offense

Three very effective innings from the Marlin's ace is what faithful fish fans got to see in the early going. Five strikeouts and some scattered hits through the first two innings led Fernandez to a pivotal moment in the bottom of the third with a one run lead, and two runners in scoring position. He emphatically made quick work of both Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta, striking both out on biting curveballs.

What about J.T. Realmuto's performance the leadoff spot for a second straight day? How about 3 for 4 with a double and a run! Despite being caught stealing for the first time this year Realmuto has been stellar of late. Mattingly seems willing to stick with the hot bat in the leadoff spot, and I see absolutely no reason to change that tune over the next few games.

The Marlins scored all four of their runs between the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first coming off a Marcell Ozuna RBI single after Giancarlo Stanton tomahawked a double to the right center gap. When the top of the Marlin's order got their second looks at Rubby de la Rosa, three more runs were scored, the first of those coming off of a Christian Yelich RBI single. The other two? How about Stanton's 9th HR of the year, rivaling a moonshot from Nelson Cruz in Oakland for the longest HR of the day.

Middle Innings Jose

The fourth and fifth innings for Fernandez were a little bit less solid, as he relinquished the goose egg he had posted through three innings on a Nick Ahmed double. The bigger blow came the next inning when lefty David Peralta hit a no-doubt two run home run on a changeup that Fernandez let hang up in the zone. Coming out of this start leaves us with mixed feelings.

For one, Fernandez still has his swing and miss 'stuff' that he's always possessed. There are times where hitters are absolutely lost, for instance Yasmany Tomas in his at bats versus the Marlin's righty. Yet, there is still something missing in comparison to the vintage Jose that we have seen in years past. His control was as precise as any in baseball, he consistently missed bats deep in games, and had no problem polishing off an order the third time around. This is the Jose we hope to have back in the next few weeks. His peripherals still look good, so as I said in my game preview, keep him in the 'David Price' basket of struggling stars and hope this is simply an early season phase that boils over.

One thing that I have noticed in the Marlin's broadcast is that Preston Wilson keeps harping on Fernandez's use of his curveball and slider in situations where a fastball would serve just as well. I'm not specifically sure if it's a matter of Wilson thinking hitters are seeing it too much, or if he wants Jose's arm to take a break in certain counts. More likely, it's a combination of both, and something I will make sure to pay attention to in future 'Jose Day' broadcasts. Many people would suggest to use your best pitch in a two strike count, ensuring to some extent you're really making the hitter work to get on base when behind in the count. Yet, pitchers like Jose who have 4 exceptionally good weapons, may be advised to use one less, as later in games hitter's wouldn't have gotten to take a few looks at it - ultimately making it theoretically more effective.

Late Innings Bullpen

As mentioned initially, fours were wild as Jose Urena, Bryan Morris, Kyle Barraclough, and A.J. Ramos combined for four innings of four baserunners and thankfully no runs. The Marlins converted on three holds and Ramos's ninth save of the young season. While there were some tense moments in the sixth and seventh innings, the Diamondbacks couldn't get production from the middle of their lineup, something that has been the leading culprit to their 2-8 record in their last 10 games. The Marlins on the other hand are 9-1 in their last 10.


Have to appreciate the light mood after locking up a series against an NL West opponent... Screengrab

Some Statcast info on Stanton's HR...


The Marlins go for the three game sweep tomorrow as they send the electric Adam Conley to the mound to face off against Arizona's Robbie Ray.

Source: FanGraphs

Hero of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton (+.200 WPA)

Goat of the Game: Martin Prado (-.073 WPA)

Play of the Game: David Peralta HR, top of 5th (+.166 WPA)