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Marlins give Home Chen more than enough support in 6-3 win

A dominant pitching performance not wasted this time.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins
J.T. Realmuto has fully emerged from his midseason slump.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A carbon copy of the series opener through eight full innings, the Marlins bullpen didn’t squander the lead this time. Wei-Yin Chen mowed down the Blue Jays lineup three times over to continue his remarkable season at home in Saturday’s 6-3 win.

  • Marco Estrada: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (93 pitches)
  • Wei-Yin Chen: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (107 pitches)

The veteran left-hander allowed only two “hard-hit” balls in play—95-plus miles per hour exit velocity—all night. Chen repeatedly pounded the strike zone, getting ahead in the count to two-thirds of opposing batters.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The only run Toronto scored against him was manufactured in the fourth inning following a Devon Travis leadoff double.

Chen emphasized the curveball more than usual, throwing 15 in total compared to 25 sliders (his go-to breaking ball). His final pitch was also his slowest, serving its purpose by inducing soft contact on an awkward swing.

For all the flack that Chen took earlier in the year, he improved his 2018 earned run average to 4.64. That’s lower than the Marlins’ overall ERA.

Meanwhile, Marco Estrada struggled throughout. He was fortunate to escape the bottom of the first inning with a 1-0 deficit. Brian Anderson hammered a ball to right field that chased Randal Grichuk back to the wall for a sacrifice fly. It would’ve been a grand slam in most other venues.

J.T. Realmuto added insurance in the third with a solo homer. He drove in a run for the fifth straight game, the longest such streak of his career.

Realmuto’s 68 RBI this season comfortably lead the Marlins.

Cool moment for Martín Prado in the fifth. His double to the left-center gap cleared the bases. It was his first day back from a quad strain. That broke the game open and sent Estrada to the showers.

We at Fish Stripes have certainly been critical of Magneuris Sierra, but the rookie outfielder demonstrated several of his impressive tools in this matchup.

Lewis Brinson’s return from the DL displaced him to right, and something tells me he’ll be starting there often down the stretch.

Shortstop JT Riddle started atop the Marlins lineup for the first time all season, reaching base three times. Don Mattingly has a tricky juggling act moving forward with a handful of candidates seeking infield reps. However, Riddle ought to be the primary shortstop.

The final pitcher out of the Blue Jays ‘pen drew plenty of attention, more so for his name than his resume or performance. Left-hander José (Manuel) Fernández retired the side in order in the eighth. Less than two years after a superstar of the same name made his final appearance at Marlins Park, this was his MLB debut.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the 2018 post-All-Star break Marlins unless there were some late-inning issues. Tayron Guerrero entered the ninth with a 6-1 lead and served up a massive two-run dinger to Justin Smoak before shutting the door.

Make yourself available Sunday for the rubber game at 1:10 p.m. Newly promoted Jeff Brigham takes the mound, an opportunity he earned from posting a 2.36 ERA in 95 13 minor league innings. Sean Reid-Foley gets the ball for the Jays.

September 1, 2018 win probability chart
Courtesy of FanGraphs

Attendance: 11,474