There’s been a lot of things to talk about in the drama surrounding the Marlins lately. Meeting Derek Jeter and associates (meet the new boss...), the exodus of Miami’s all-star caliber outfield (and second baseman, who’s also an outfielder apparently), and the retooling of a talent-starved farm system. With all that going on, however, there’s no argument in the fact that it’s still two months until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Browsing around MLB.TV a few days ago, I realized that the popular streaming application (which I have hooked up on my ROKU) offers full game-replay for every game for the last three years. Instead of just picking random games to pass my time, I went to Fangraphs.com and sorted out every Miami Marlins’ boxscore going back three seasons to find which games were the most exciting. I did this by adding together each teams’ WPA+ for pitching and for hitting. I could have as easily used their WPA-, but that’s just splitting hairs. I multiplied the total WPA from both teams by the number of innings played, which is usually nine, but not in this article. Half of the following games took extra baseball to decide.
I was going to list for you the top 10 Marlins games that you could stream in your selected devices through the baseball-winter-wonder-waste-land, but then realized that you’d all probably want to watch the Marlins best wins of the last three seasons. So here it is. Using the WPA+ metric, these are the 10 highest rated (by the excitement matrix, patent pending) Marlins wins from the seasons 2015 through 2017.
10. August 24th, 2017
Marlins 9, Phillies 8 (4.42 WPA+)
Here’s the MLB.COM take on events.
And here is the MLB.TV stream from the game.
Jarlin Garcia collected his first career major league victory in relief on a night when Giancarlo Stanton (47), AJ Ellis (4), Christian Yelich (15) and JT Realmuto (16) all went deep. The Marlins overcame an 8-3 deficit to come out on top of the bottom dwelling Phillies.
Really athletic. As a catcher, he can run a little bit. You see that ball hit the fencing up there and bounce off, you know he's got a chance for an inside-the-parker, and that helped us climb that mountain and get back to even. It was a big part of the game. - Yelich, on Realmuto’s inside-the-park homer.
9. September 6th, 2015
Marlins 4, Mets 3 (4.42 WPA+)
Enjoy the game spoiler free with your MLB.TV membership by clicking here.
If you're in a good spot where you feel good about yourself, you might have a pretty good chance to win a game. - Martin Prado
The contest was marked by home runs from Yoenis Cespedes (30), Wilmer Flores (16), Justin Bour (16) and....Jeff Mathis (1)? A tie 1-1 score after one, Steven Matz and Jared Cosart would keep it there until the Marlins scored on Mathis’ solo homer in the fifth. Marlins reliever Chris Narveson allowed a two-run jack to Flores for a 3-2 Mets lead. Bour went deep in the eighth to tie it at three, then Martin Prado was the walk-off hero with a bases loaded sacrifice fly in ninth.
8. October 3rd, 2015
Marlins 7, Phillies 6 (4.52 WPA+)
The MLB.COM recap.
Spoiler-free MLB.TV broadcast (with MLB.TV sign-in).
We're just playing hard until the end. - Yelich, on the then 70-90 Marlins.
Dee Gordon collected his 200th hit, joining Hanley Ramirez (212 in 2007) and Juan Pierre (204 in 2003, 221 in 2004) as the only Marlins with 200+ hit-seasons. He also stole his 58th base. Christian Yelich collected five hits in the game, which was the first of a doubleheader.
7. July 17, 2017
Marlins 6, Phillies 5 (10) (5.31 WPA+, 4.78 over 9)
The MLB.COM recap.
Here’s the MLB.TV broadcast.
Giancarlo Stanton went deep twice, and Justin Bour hit a 446-foot two-run shot to pace the Marlins. Dee Gordon collected a walk-off bases-loaded single for the win in the 10th inning. Drew Steckenrider earned his first major league victory in the contest.
That was good, we showed pop today to score some runs, and Dee came through in the clutch at the end. - Stanton
6. September 4th, 2015
Marlins 6, Mets 5 (11) (5.89 WPA+, 4.82 over 9)
Here’s MLB.COM’s recap.
...and the MLB.TV broadcast.
Martin Prado collected five hits, including a walk-off double in the 11th inning for a 6-5 victory. Brian Ellington was credited with his first career victory in the game.
Moving forward to everybody celebrating their success. Every one of the guys here. That's the way you're going to see it. Winning teams in baseball. The best teams in baseball, they act like that. - Prado
5. July 1st, 2016
Marlins 7, Braves 5 (12) (6.46 WPA+, 4.85 over 9)
The MLB.COM recap is here.
And check out the full game broadcast here.
The Marlins were four games above .500 going into this one, and they used 21 of the 25 players on the roster to get through it. It was pinch-hitter Jose Fernandez’ 12-inning, two-run pinch hit double that put Miami on top by the final 7-5 margin. Derek Dietrich (4), Marcell Ozuna (17), Chase d’Arnaud (1) and Tyler Flowers (6) collected home runs on the day.
That's always been like a dream, to play in the outfield or to pinch-hit like that. But when it actually happened, I was like, 'Oh, my God, I'm actually doing this.' My heart rate started going faster. The main goal was trying to get a ground-ball hit somewhere, so we could get a run and go home. - Fernandez
4. July 15th, 2016
Marlins 7, Cardinals 6 (5.00 WPA+)
Here’s the official recap.
And here’s the broadcast link.
Later in that same month, the Marlins climbed seven games over .500 and overcame four homers from the Cardinals to earn a win. Miguel Rojas hit a two-RBI single for the game-winner. Miami didn’t hit any home runs that night, but they did outhit the RedBirds, 13-to-10.
We fought back and ended up winning that game, that's huge. Big team win. That's what good teams do. Even earlier in the season, when we weren't playing as well as we wanted, we were still fighting in games, that's one of the biggest things we're seeing this year that we hadn't seen in the past, we're playing until the last out. - David Phelps
3. April 24th, 2016
Marlins 5, Giants 4 (5.00 WPA+)
I was feeling pretty confident from the previous three at-bats. So I took a shot. It felt like a good swing, but I fouled it off. Then when we got to 2-1, I tried to shorten up and stay up the middle and was able to get a pitch I could drive. - Realmuto, on going deep in his fourth at bat after going three-for-three before.
Stanton (4) also hit one out of the park, while Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna collected two hits each. After loading the bases in the eighth, reliever David Phelps coaxed a 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Angel Pagan, then struck out Joe Panik to end the threat.
A ground ball anywhere else ties the game. - Phelps
2. April 6th, 2017
Marlins 4, Nationals 3 (10) (5.88 WPA+, 5.29 over 9)
So we got that first one out of the way. We're hoping to continue to build off that. - Justin Bour, on Miami’s first win of the season.
Miami trailed by a 2-0 count entering the eighth inning, then J.T. Realmuto (2) hit a two-run shot to tie things up. Ryan Zimmerman (2) took the lead back in the bottom half of the inning, then Tyler Moore tied it on a groundout to score Adeiny Hechavarria in the ninth. Bour hit his game-winner in the 10th inning. Here’s the recap from MLB.COM, and click here for the Full Monty.
1. August 19th, 2016
Marlins 6, Pirates 5 (5.55 WPA+)
Miami’s 6-5 win against the Bucs last August 19th was far-and-away the highest indexed game in the spreadsheet that I built for this project. Click here to watch it.
I'm new up here. They've been here all year. We're kind of in the race. Whatever I can do to contribute. - Robert Andino, who hit the eventual game winning RBI-single.
Miguel Rojas, JT Realmuto, and Christian Yelich each collected three hits for the game, and Tom Koehler earned a quality start to push the Marlins to 63-59, keeping pace in the wild card race.
Dig the format? Check back here for the sequel next season, hopefully with a lot more walkoff Marlins’ wins.