With eight runs of offense, five of those via catcher Jorge Alfaro, the Marlins played spoiler to the Mets’ NL Wild Card hopes on Monday night in an 8-4 win. In the opinion of our sister site Amazin’ Avenue, this upset was essentially the nail in their coffin.
- Caleb Smith: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR (104 pitches)
- Steven Matz: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR (78 pitches)
Caleb Smith looked uneasy during the first inning, loading the bases before inducing a Todd Frazier pop-up to avoid any damage. In line with his recent performances, Smith seldom used his changeup (three out of his 104 pitches). That predictable formula may have something to do with why he couldn’t pick up many swinging strikes.
Alfaro’s 16th home run of the season was blasted down the left field line to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
His 17th homer came with the bases loaded to give the Fish some breathing room. It was a more typical swing from Alfaro, who has shown he can hit for power to all fields.
Not only was that the 26-year-old’s first career grand slam, but also the first allowed by Steven Matz in the major leagues.
Despite working around heavy traffic is several previous innings, Smith entered the bottom of the sixth without having allowed any extra-base hits. Amed Rosario changed all that to give the home team some hope of a comeback.
You can’t feel too comfortable about a 6-4 lead with this depleted Marlins roster, so Harold Ramirez took matters into his own legs. His infield single in the seventh—originally called an out, but overturned after Don Mattingly challenged the play—accounted for the final two runs of the contest.
Over the last two days combined, seven Marlins relievers have combined for seven scoreless innings of work. In this instance, it was Tyler Kinley, Brian Moran, José Quijada and Ryne Stanek—all except Stanek spent significant time at Triple-A New Orleans this season.
Game two of the series features hard-throwers Sandy Alcantara and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets are not officially eliminated yet, so expect to see many of their regulars in the lineup. First pitch on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.
Nationals vs. Marlins box score (Baseball Theater)
In defeating the Nationals 5-3 yesterday and the Mets 8-4 tonight, the #Marlins have won back-to-back games for the first time since July 28-29 vs. Arizona. Before tonight, they'd gone 51 games since last posting consecutive victories.— Glenn Geffner (@GlennGeffner) September 24, 2019
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