Historically, there’s not much of a correlation between these factors, but on Saturday night, the Marlins played in front of their largest home crowd of September and won by their largest margin all month, 5-1.
With the team test-driving the “Comunidad 305” fan experience, left fielder Austin Dean embraced the lively atmosphere. He set a new career high with three runs batted in.
- Anthony DeSclafani: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 10 K (80 pitches)
- José Ureña: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (80 pitches)
Picking up where the pitching staff left off the previous night, José Ureña effortlessly carried a shutout into the middle innings. He didn’t dominate the competition (only six swinging strikes), but the right-hander avoided the barrels of the Reds’ bats.
Ureña has flipped a switch since last month’s incident in Atlanta (39.0 IP, 1.85 ERA), though for the first time since then, he was charged with a hit by pitch.
Ureña went 135 batters in between HBPs. Probably the longest streak of his career https://t.co/wSL2ARkdb5— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 22, 2018
(I fact-checked it: this assumption was wrong. He finished the 2017 season on a slightly longer HBP-free stretch.)
Anthony DeSclafani matched Ureña zero for zero until the bottom of the fourth inning. A fairly routine chopper back to the mound by J.T. Realmuto somehow squirted through:
Biggest play of the game: #Reds Anthony DeSclafani lets the ball get thru his legs in the 4th. Would've been a scoreless inning otherwise. pic.twitter.com/9uLTrLdq6e— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 23, 2018
The Marlins cashed in during a two-out rally. Lewis Brinson and Dean delivered back-to-back RBI singles. Nothing sexy, just finding the soft spot in Cincinnati’s defense.
.@AustinDean_3 smacks an RBI single to right field to give the @Marlins a 2-0 lead over the Reds.— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) September 23, 2018
Watch all the action LIVE now on FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports Go! #JustGettinStarted #MLB pic.twitter.com/EXJUGdQdWj
Ureña had the lead with an efficient pitch count, but headed for the showers prematurely. The coaching staff noticed him limping in the sixth inning and removed him after the potential tying runs reached base. Don Mattingly explained afterward that the ace has been diagnosed with right IT band tightness. There’s optimism that he will be cleared for one more start against the Mets next weekend.
Jarlin García escaped the jam by inducing a lineout to second base. He’s quietly made six September appearances without allowing an earned run.
That still left another three innings of work for the shaky Marlins bullpen. Unsatisfied with the 2-0 advantage, Brian Anderson scored Realmuto on a base hit against DeSclafani, then he came around on Dean’s homer to left-center field.
Pinch-hitter Gabriel Guerrero took Nick Wittgren deep in the eighth inning to make it 5-1. The Reds made Mattingly sweat a tiny bit in the ninth with a pair of singles, setting up a save situation for Drew Steckenrider. But as the win probability chart illustrates, the result was never in doubt once the ‘pens got involved.
Soak it in, Dean Machine!
“The fans were into it, I was hyping em up the entire game. This is probably the most fun game I’ve had all year.” pic.twitter.com/MjVov1gyjz— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 23, 2018
Marlins Park hosts its final game of the 2018 season on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m. first pitch). The probables are Michael Lorenzen and Trevor Richards, who have 22 and 23 career major league starts, respectively.
What’s on the line? The Marlins haven’t had a winning streak longer than two games since July 14-21 (four straight). And, of course, it could be Miamians last chance to see recognizable veterans up close—the front office doesn’t consider anybody “untouchable” heading into an uncertain offseason.