Fresh off a disappointing series against the struggling Mets to open the season’s second half after the All-Star break, the Marlins were looking to regain some focus and get back to playing solid baseball. The San Diego Padres came to town for a mid-week series, and they kicked things off with a bang, scoring 12 runs on 14 hits Tuesday night, more than enough support to continue Jordan Yamamoto’s rookie winning streak. The offensive barrage was Miami’s second-highest run total of the season. It looked like they could possibly be showing signs of collectively turning the corner at the plate.
Then came Wednesday. It took until Starlin Castro’s solo home run in the eighth inning for the Marlins to record a hit, and they would only collect two more on the way to a 3-2 loss. With all due respect to Padres starter Chris Paddack, who threw the best game of his young career against the team that drafted him, the Marlins simply came out flat, suffering from a big-game hangover.
Feeling a sense of Déjà vu, I decided to do some research...and the results were quite staggering.
Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time in 2019 that Miami has plated 10 runs or more. Directly after those five games, they have scored an average of three runs per game (with a big outlier against the Brewers in early June). They have only won two of the “hangover” contests.
There could be a number of explanations for this trend. For instance, big offensive nights with a lot of baserunning and at-bats can, quite reasonably, cause fatigue that drags into the next game. Also, the opposition—feeling like they have a point to prove after being torched the night before—may play with added motivation.
With such a small sample size, no real conclusion for the steep drop-off in run production can be drawn. However, the general issue of a streaky offense has plagued the Marlins all season long. Miami has followed their 31 games with five or more runs scored (bearing in mind that the league average at the time of writing is 4.85 runs per game) by scoring two or fewer runs a whopping 48% of the time.
The offense has been performing much better overall in recent months, and it has a lot to do with their 26-27 record since starting 10-31. Unfortunately, the inconsistency in offensive output is preventing the team from putting together any kind of real run to claw themselves out of that initial hole. During a season in which the Marlins fanbase expected to see progress toward being competitive at the major league level, the 36-58 overall record is slightly behind 2018’s 63-98 pace.
Consistency wins championships, and that’s the ultimate goal of this rebuild. Even though the overall record at the end of this season is not so important, establishing a steady level of production at the plate should be a priority. Maybe post-trade deadline reinforcements from the farm system will help the Marlins improve in that regard.