clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

After early lead, Marlins drop opener to Mets, 7-3

Bullpen meltdown and controversial call doom Marlins in the ninth

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins entered Monday night’s game against the New York Mets on the verge of a possible winning streak after taking the last two against the Colorado Rockies. But a controversial ninth-inning call went against them and a rally in the bottom of the frame came up short in the 7-3 loss.

The Fish did get off to a good start. Caleb Smith struck out the side to open the game, and shortly after Starlin Castro did this:

Smith allowed a run in the second, but one could argue it was more a result of umpire error than any pitching mistake. With one out and two strikes to Jeff McNeil, Smith delivered a slider that landed firmly in the lower strike zone, yet it was called a ball.

See blue dot in bottom-right corner
Baseball Savant

The correct call would have given the Marlins two outs. Instead, McNeil doubled far over into right field, scoring Michael Conforto from second.

Halfway into the fourth, Smith was sitting at seven strikeouts, when he threw a wild pitch a couple feet in front of Jorge Alfaro that Alfaro wasn’t able to block. J.D. Davis sprinted home from third to equalize the score.

Nick Anderson relieved Smith in the sixth and, after striking out two, Anderson found himself with runners at the corners. But he wasn’t fazed. In a full count, Anderson struck out McNeil with a breaking ball to end the inning.

The good vibes carried over into the bottom of the sixth. First Miguel Rojas singled to right field, then Rosell Herrera got on base after a fielder’s choice picked Rojas out at second. Then Brian Anderson achieved his second hit of the season on a shot that dropped beyond second base, and when Juan Lagares’ throw got past third baseman J.D. Davis, Herrera reached third safely as Anderson got to second. Then Castro delivered yet again, managing an infield single that scored Herrera.

Maybe Nick Anderson should have stayed in because Lagares redeemed himself with a solo home run in the seventh off Tyler Kinley to tie it at 3-3.

And then we have the ninth inning...Drew Steckenrider pitching, Juan Lagares batting, two strikes, no outs, one on first. The ball is heading straight at Lagares’ face, who has already prepared to bunt. Clearly offering, the ball hits the bat and is bunted foul and would have been the first out of the inning.

However, the ball also hit Lagares’ hand. Because the umpire already ruled that he didn’t offer, and whether or not a batter offered is not reviewable, Lagares headed to first base.

This is the kind of situation that forebodes disaster. Two batters later Amed Rosario singled to right, scoring Dominic Smith. And rookie Pete Alonso then launched his first major league home run, a 444-foot, three-run blast to center.

The Marlins did show grit in the bottom of the ninth by loading the bases, but Edwin Díaz struck out Alfaro, Peter O’Brien, and JT Riddle to prevent any chance of a dramatic comeback.

Steven Matz finished with just three strikeouts, and gave up six hits and one earned run on 74 pitches thru five and a third innings. Caleb Smith finished the night with eight strikeouts on 87 pitches, and gave up four hits and two earned runs.

Game 2 of this three-game series starts at approximately 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, when José Ureña faces Jason Vargas.

Mets vs. Marlins box score

Fish Picks answer key

  1. Matz
  2. Over
  3. Over
  4. Yes
  5. Mets