An extremely rough set of 11 games for the Marlins finally may be back on an upswing as Andrew Cashner, backed by six runs, stymied the Phillies for only four hits on the day. This was Cashner's fifth win of the season and first as a Marlin.
The oddest thing about this game has to be the fact that non of the first four runs of the game were scored on an actual hit, and five of the first six came with either Prado or Realmuto at the plate. The results were as follows...
1st inning - Martin Prado RBI groundout
2nd inning - J.T. Realmuto sacrifice fly
5th inning - Martin Prado sacrifice fly
6th inning - J.T. Realmuto grounds into double play, scoring Marcell Ozuna
7th inning - Martin Prado RBI double
7th inning - Christian Yelich RBI double
Wild Card Update
As you can tell from that chain of events, this wasn't the most exciting game for the Marlins but it's a much needed win that keeps them only two games under the .500 and now only 5 games back of the Mets and Cardinals.
With a win earlier today on the back of Noah Syndergaard at Great American Ballpark, the Mets picked up 1/2 game on the Cardinals. They then moved into a tie with the Redbirds for the second NL Wild Card late last night as Tony Watson rebounded and earned a save in the 9th inning against last night's hero Matt Carpenter.
This is now how the NL Wild Card picture looks...
Giants 74-64 +1.0
Cardinals 73-65 - -
Mets 74-66 - -
Pirates 68-69 4.5
Marlins 69-71 5.0
Cashner's First W with the Marlins
Andrew Cashner - 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 0 ER, 9 K, 102 pitches
Jeremy Hellickson - 6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER (4 R), 1 K, 75 pitches
Well it only took eight starts, but it had to happen eventually. Thankfully, this is the best I have seen Cashner look this season, as you'd probably have to jump back to late July against the Cardinals to find Cashner's second best outing (with the Padres). Three strikeouts came on the slider, five on the four-seam fastball, and one more on his two seamer. He didn't particularly have the best command or pitch efficiency on the night, but he got out of a few rocky spots and was able to pitch consistently from the stretch. It was a great outing that got the Marlins a much needed win, and in the end that's something we really haven't gotten from Cashner since he became a Marlin.
The Phillies actually got more baserunners via the walk than the hit (5 walks to 4 hits). Three of those walks came from the bullpen, as Kyle Barraclough walked one and A.J. Ramos walked two in a rough 30 pitch eighth inning. Ramos I am still very concerned with as there seems to be a less than 10% chance to me that he is fully healthy. He has always been a great swing-and-miss, late inning reliever who was able to command both his fastball and slider to keep hitters off balance, and from the All-Star break on, we have seen a different A.J. Ramos. Even if the Marlins make a run here, I fear that the back end will be one of many problems to rear its ugly head.
On the offensive side of things, the Marlins swung early and often against Hellickson, who threw only 75 pitches through six innings but was not missing enough bats to warrant sticking out the order a fourth time through. Hellickson had be extremely good against the Marlins before this start, as I mentioned in the game thread, so it's great to see the Marlins finally get to him for some hits and runs. Without his changeup working, Hellickson becomes extremely hittable, to the point where the Phillies basically have no chance unless most of the balls in play find gloves.
Ichiro also smacked hit number 3,021, a single in the fifth, passing Rafael Palmeiro for 26th on the all time hit list.
The Marlins stay home with an off day tomorrow and then welcome the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw for a weekend series.
Hero of the Game: Andrew Cashner (+.257 WPA)
Zero of the Game: Christian Yelich (-.071 WPA)
Play of the Game: Peter Bourjos double to left off Cashner in the 5th inning (+.075 WPA)