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Realmuto, Castro stay hot as Marlins clinch another series with 8-5 win

And would you look at that: they have the same exact record that the 2017 Fish had through their first 33 games.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins’ visit to Cincinnati lasted longer than expected due to a Sunday afternoon rain delay. But running around in the mud was well worth it, as they clinched their fourth straight series with a 8-5 win over the National League’s weakest team.

J.T. Realmuto ignited a first-inning rally by drawing a leadoff walk, which evolved into a serious threat when Don Mattingly put him in motion with Martín Prado at the plate. Instead of resulting in a routine double play, Prado’s ground ball moved both veterans into scoring position thanks to a Scooter Gennett throwing error. Starlin Castro brought them home on the ensuing two-run single.

Every Marlins starter would bat in that frame, accumulating a 4-0 lead and forcing Tyler Mahle to use 39 pitches.

Dan Straily passed through the Reds order one time with relative ease. His teammates even tacked on a fifth run of insurance. However, the right-hander struggled in a familiar way after that. Joey Votto homered in the third inning to close the deficit to 5-2. From there, it took strong defense like this Brian Anderson diving catch to stay ahead.

As forewarned by pre-game reports, the skies opened up, ending Straily’s outing prematurely (4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). At 77 pitches, he probably had some gas left in the tank. We’ll need to wait until the club returns to Miami—and the protection of a retractable roof—before putting that stamina to the test.

Photo by @Marlins/Twitter

The Marlins bullpen calmed things down. Nick Wittgren continued his sneaky-good season by completing the fifth and sixth innings by himself. Meanwhile, by taking advantage of seven total walks and good fortune on balls in play, the lead swelled to 8-3 entering the bottom of the ninth.

Then, Junichi Tazawa happened. He surrendered two quick runs, allowing the Reds a shred of hope. Mattingly called upon Brad Ziegler, who shut the door for the second consecutive night.

Castro entered the series with only 10 runs batted in, but drove in six runs this weekend alone. Tayron Guerrero recorded another strikeout in his inning of work and tops all Marlins relievers with 30 for the season. Realmuto would rank fourth in the NL batting race if he had enough playing time to qualify (.328 BA).

The Marlins now head to the north side of Chicago for a three-game set against the Cubs.

Monday’s opener features Jarlin García (1.09 ERA, 3.74 FIP in 33.0 IP) and Kyle Hendricks (3.19 ERA, 5.32 FIP in 36.2 IP), both of whom are succeeding in 2018 without overwhelming strikeout stuff. Worth noting, though: Hendricks has uncharacteristically allowed eight home runs in only six starts. He will pay for those mistakes if that issue persists, considering how the Fish have been frequently putting runners on base lately. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET.

Win Probability chart
Courtesy of FanGraphs

Kingfish: Nick Wittgren (.113 WPA)

Flounder: Brandon Finnegan (-.317)

Play of the Game: Votto’s “Maybe we’re still in this one?” home run (.104)

Attendance (before the delay, obviously): 19,800

Please leave any Icthy picks in the comments below (explainer).

Today's Lineups

J.T. Realmuto - C Jose Peraza - SS
Martin Prado - 3B Jesse Winker - LF
Starlin Castro - 2B Joey Votto - 1B
Brian Anderson - RF Scooter Gennett - 2B
Justin Bour - 1B Eugenio Suarez - 3B
Cameron Maybin - LF Scott Schebler - RF
Lewis Brinson - CF Tucker Barnhart - C
Yadiel Rivera - SS Brandon Finnegan - LHP
Dan Straily - RHP Billy Hamilton - CF

5/6/18 Pitching Matchup

Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Dan Straily Marlins 4.0 9.00 12.16 2.25 -0.2
Brandon Finnegan Reds 17.1 7.27 7.61 6.23 -0.4

Matchup Summary

KKKKKKKaleb Smith shut down Cincinnati’s bats through 5 23 innings and the Marlins provided enough run support for a relatively stress-free win on Saturday night. Justin Bour and Starlin Castro both homered against opposing starter Tyler Mahle.

The 6-0 final score was tied for the second-largest margin of victory in any Marlins game this season.

After taking recent series from the Dodgers, Phillies and Rockies, the Fish look to do the same to the Reds in Sunday’s rubber match. Dan Straily will need to show improvement from his April 30 season debut, when he lacked command and didn’t have a good feel for his slider. He was removed after only 78 pitches: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K.

It’s been rare to see big production from this Marlins offense in back-to-back games, but Brandon Finnegan seems vulnerable. He has yet to pitch past five innings in any of his outings in 2018. Also worth noting, Miami generally fairs better against lefties like Finnegan (.723 OPS) than right-handers (.597 OPS).

Thread question: Do you believe Starlin Castro has any chance of reaching 3,000 career hits someday? For context, Castro is the same age as José Altuve (28), but is 22 hits ahead of Altuve (1,317 to 1,295).