Scheduled to start in Sunday’s three-game, Opening Day Weekend series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies at an empty Citizens Bank Park, right-hander José Ureña was scratched. In total, four Marlins players reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 this weekend, the worst outbreak of its kind for any MLB team since the regular season got underway. Ureña’s replacement, Robert Dugger, the Marlins’ 30th-ranked prospect (per MLB Pipeline), struggled heavily early on, but an offensive fireworks display from the Marlins resulted in a series-winning 11-6 victory.
The right-hander Dugger coughed up four runs on five hits in a 28-pitch first inning, including a three-run shot from Bryce Harper. The Marlins countered Philadelphia’s four-run, first-inning attack with a four-run second, which featured a game-tying three-run blast from Miguel Rojas, who finished a double shy of completing the first cycle in franchise history. The Marlins, whose bats were silenced Saturday afternoon at the hands of newly-acquired RHP Zack Wheeler, cracked four home runs: Jesús Aguilar (solo), Rojas (three-run), Brian Anderson (three-run) and Corey Dickerson (solo).
Rojas was especially productive for the Fish in this series. He currently leads all MLB qualifiers in batting average (.700) and OPS (2.050).
Miguel Rojas was a hitting machine against the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend to open the #Marlins’ 60-game season. Rojas finished 7-for-10 (.700), 5 RBIs, 4 runs scored, one home run, one double, one triple, one walk, one strikeout and a stolen base. Excellent work.— Brandon Liguori (@BrandonRLiguori) July 26, 2020
Dugger exited after just 3 1⁄3 innings of work. Miami’s arms in the bullpen ultimately got the job done, but frequently put themselves in vulnerable positions. Jeff Brigham mustered out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth, Yimi García worked around a one-out, bases-filled jam in the sixth and Brad Boxberger got out of a two-out, bases-loaded pickle in the eighth.
As of now, the Marlins, at 2-1, sit alone in first place in the National League East, with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, both knotted at 1-1, concluding their three-game weekend series tonight at Citi Field. Don Mattingly’s group will open a four-game, home-and-home split with the Baltimore Orioles, beginning Monday night at Marlins Park and wrapping up Thursday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. RHP Pablo López will make his first career start vs. the Orioles, countering RHP Asher Wojciechowski. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Marlins vs. Phillies box score (Baseball Theater)