The Marlins were knotted in a 1-1 tie with the Phillies and a strike away from exiting the sixth inning. That’s when Philly designated hitter Phil Gosselin, who had seven home runs to his name over eight years in the major leagues, stole the show. Gosselin hit his first of two long bombs en route to handing Miami its first loss of the 2020 season, 7-1, in game two of the opening weekend series between the teams.
Marlins southpaw Caleb Smith got the ball from Don Mattingly, and his inability to locate within the strike zone forced the Miami skipper to make a call to the bullpen after just three innings. Smith gave up just one run on a no-doubter solo shot to Didi Gregorius in the second inning, but walked six and threw 70 pitches over three frames.
“Fastball command wasn’t there...It was not the tone you wanted to set for the game. Can’t have those outings, especially in a 60-game season,” said Smith postgame. “Just a horsesh*t outing.”
One of Miami’s lone bright spots in game two of opening weekend was Smith’s replacement. Nick Neidert made his Major League debut for the Fish Saturday and flourished, going 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings while allowing just a hit and a walk.
Neidert said postgame that he felt great and could have pitched longer if Mattingly needed him too.
“I’m sure I could have gone 3, 4, 5 innings, and they know that. However long they want to keep me out there, I’m good with that,” said Neidert postgame, who described his major league debut as a “dream come true.”
Neidert was followed by another Marlin making his Major League debut, lefty Alex Vesia, who finished off the sixth. But that wasn’t before Gosselin took him deep, which gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead. J.T. Realmuto followed up Gosselin’s long ball just an inning later with a three-run blast to dead center off Ryne Stanek, extending the Philadelphia lead to five runs and essentially putting the game away.
On the Phillies side of pitching, Philadelphia newcomer Zack Wheeler made his debut with the team and dominated Miami’s lineup. Wheeler went seven innings while allowing just one run on five hits.
Although the Fish didn’t find as much success Saturday at the plate as they did in their opening night victory, shortstop Miguel Rojas notched multiple hits for the second straight game. Rojas had Miami’s lone RBI on an RBI single that scored Brian Anderson and tied the game at one in the fifth inning.
Miggy Ro also embodied Michael Jordan when he made a leaping throw to Jesús Aguilar to complete an athletic double play. There’s no doubt the Jordan shoes Rojas was rocking gave him that extra edge.
The Marlins still have an opportunity to take their first series of the season on Sunday when José Ureña makes his 2020 debut. First pitch is set for 1:05 pm from Citizens Bank Park.
Marlins vs. Phillies box score (Baseball Theater)