Jordan Yamamoto saved his best for his last start of the season last night in New York, allowing only one hit over six shutout innings to go along with ten strikeouts, which put him in some rather elite company. The stellar outing lowered his ERA to a respectable 4.46; the young Hawaiian will look to use this performance as a springboard to a stronger 2020.
Most strikeouts by a Marlins pitcher in first 15 career games— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 27, 2019
1. Chuck Smith, 88
2. Dontrelle Willis, 85
3. José Fernández, 84
t-4. , 82
t-4. Josh Beckett, 82 pic.twitter.com/Xv9fV6aJre
Taking Home the Silverware
Thanks to a strong finish to the season, evident by his 2.90 ERA since the start of August, Sandy Alcántara has edged out injured third baseman Brian Anderson for team MVP honors, according to mlb.com. Having set the Marlins rookie record for innings pitched as well, the 24-year-old has demonstrated supreme durability as well as promising results in 2019. He figures to be a future building block and staff ace heading into next season.
More Left in the Tank
Not one, but two of Miami's veterans have openly expressed an interest in returning for another season with the team next year. Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker may not have been lighting up the box scores this season, but the pair have enjoyed mentoring the many young players on the roster, and are open to continuing that work through the 2020 season. While the team has openly stated that they do not want to load up on veterans and block up-and-coming players, the guidance that the pair could provide would be priceless in terms of the development of prospects.
Last winter, Granderson settled for a minor league deal (albeit with the understanding that he’d crack the Opening Day roster). Walker signed for a one-year, $2 million guarantee in late January.
The good news is that attendance at Marlins Park increased this season; the bad news is that the increase averaged out to three more people per game compared to 2018 despite lower ticket prices, stadium renovations, more affordable concessions, and earlier start times. It appears as though what Marlins fans really want is a winning team, but don't expect ownership to spend a truckload of money on free agents in the offseason to accelerate the current rebuild.
Behind the Scenes
Derek Jeter seemingly gets all the credit—or blame, depending on your point of view—for any move that the Marlins make, on or off the field. That was to be expected given that he is a future first ballot Hall of Famer and the first owner in franchise history actually focused on winning baseball games. However, with no prior managerial or ownership experience, Jeter made sure to surround himself with savvy business minds to put the organization in the best position possible. One of those hires was Caroline O’Connor, the team's Chief Operating Officer, who has turned into his right-hand woman.
The Marlins are heading to Philadelphia for their last series of the season. Pablo López (5-8, 4.96 ERA) will look to finish 2019 on a high note as he takes on Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.76 ERA) and the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. ET tonight.