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Games of the Decade: June 20, 2019

Zac Gallen made his much-anticipated MLB debut, but didn’t factor into the decision in this extra-inning classic.

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing compares with the rush of tuning in to live Marlins games. But as you are all aware, unfortunate circumstances have delayed the start of the 2020 regular season. Need help filling that void? Fish Stripes will be presenting full-length FOX Sports Florida broadcasts from the 2010-2019 Marlins seasons.

The “Games of the Decade” series is a collaborative process between the Fish Stripes staff and audience. Please continue recommending games that deserve to be rewatched!


Marlins 7, Cardinals 6 (F/11)—June 20, 2019

Starting Lineups

Especially in 2019, the Pacific Coast League was the most hitter-friendly circuit in all of Minor League Baseball. New Orleans Baby Cakes right-hander Zac Gallen didn’t get the message, though. He allowed one earned run during his first four starts combined, and by Memorial Day, he led all levels of the Marlins organization in strikeouts. As the major league club—still in the midst of a rebuild—immediately fell out of postseason contention, the anticipation for his call-up skyrocketed.

Gallen got his opportunity against the Cardinals, taking the mound for the finale of a four-game series. Quite the contrast between he and his pitching counterpart that evening, Adam Wainwright, one of the league’s oldest active starters.

The Fish took the lead in the top of the fourth inning when Starlin Castro ripped an RBI double to left-center. Keep in mind, Castro was having a miserable campaign, entering the game as arguably the worst second baseman in the league (.232/.261/.312, 51 wRC+, -1.0 fWAR).

St. Louis evened the score on Paul DeJong’s double in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Wainwright all the way from first base. With two outs in the inning, the geezer was “running” on contact, but still—he had been activated from the injured list earlier that day, fresh off a hamstring strain!

A misplay in the corner by Harold Ramirez was largely to blame.

The Marlins took command of the contest after Wainwright’s exit, thanks to unforced mistakes like a bases-loaded hit by pitch and a Marcell Ozuna dropped ball on the warning track. At the seventh-inning stretch, they held a 4-1 advantage.

However, Don Mattingly’s bullpen failed him. The back-breaking blow was a Tommy Edman two-run shot off Tayron Guerrero to make it 5-5.

Capping off his first multi-hit game of the entire season, JT Riddle put the Marlins ahead (again) with his two-run homer in the 11th. That brought on Sergio Romo for an adventurous final three outs. With Jack Flaherty at second representing the potential tying run, Romo caught him napping to abruptly end the threat.

Full FOX Sports Florida game broadcast (with Paul Severino, Todd Hollandsworth and Jessica Blaylock)

TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

Win Probability Chart
FanGraphs
  • Announced attendance was 42,446 fans, the largest crowd that the Marlins had played in front of the entire season to that point.
  • Remember César Puello?! Folks were irrationally hyped about César Puello. He was slashing .390/.500/.683 with the Angels (over an extremely small sample) prior to the trade. This was his first time in the starting lineup with his new club. According to Win Probability Added, this would prove to be one of his most valuable games as a Marlin.
  • Credit to play-by-play broadcaster Paul Severino, who persevered through this midseason road trip—including this particular four-hour, 31-minute marathon—without his usual vocal capabilities. He would’ve obviously put more “mustard” on the game-sealing pickoff if he had been at 100% strength.

The “Games of the Decade” series is also available as a YouTube playlist (games listed there in chronological order)