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Our Noticias, 7/27/20: From “bottom feeders” to NL East leaders; COVID-19 losses

The Marlins’ depth and concentration are being tested early in the 2020 season. They’ll try to take care of business against the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Small sample size theater

Season three of the Marlins rebuild is off to an encouraging start (on the field, at least). Most members of the lineup swung the bat well last weekend in Philadelphia en route to winning two of the three games. Marlins fans and team personnel took extra satisfaction in the upset after an NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst belittled them.

Let’s have some fun with the numbers:

  • Miguel Rojas leads all MLB qualifiers(!!!) with a .700 BA and 2.050 OPS. This is the same Miguel Rojas who has been a below-average hitter—in terms of wRC+—every season of his career to date.
  • The Marlins are averaging 5.67 runs per game, which would be the best mark for a National League team since the 2001 Rockies.
  • This is the first time in franchise history that the Fish have held a share of the NL East division lead entering July 27.
  • You may remember that it took several months into the 2019 season for the Marlins to record a triple. Much different story this time!

Probable starters for the next two games are Pablo López and Elieser Hernandez. Aside from them, the only players on the Marlins active roster who haven’t participated in any games yet are Adam Conley, Sean Rodríguez and Sterling Sharp.

The Marlins host the Orioles—coming off an impressive opening series of their own—at 7:10 p.m. ET. However, they didn’t fly home on Sunday night as planned and will be taking off at approximately 11:00 a.m. instead.

The pandemic in the room

So yeah: COVID-19. That’s still here. It’s everywhere. Four Marlins players tested positive in late June/early July. There had been an encouraging negative streak since then, but that was snapped this weekend as four more players contracted the virus. They’ve been identified, via multiple reports, as Jorge Alfaro, Garrett Cooper, Harold Ramirez and José Ureña. As of this writing, only Alfaro is officially on the injured list, but that ought to change shortly in order to clear space on the active and 40-man rosters for eligible players.

These players will be difficult to replace—Ureña has the most starting experience of any pitcher in the Marlins player pool, Alfaro and Cooper have the most raw power, and Ramirez showed tremendous potential throughout summer camp and last week’s games with a tweaked batting stance. All four are trying to fend off the next wave of Marlins prospects and earn contracts for 2021, whether that’s with Miami or another organization. Incredibly frustrating setback.

As mentioned above, the Marlins rescheduled their flight. That’s because they are awaiting more COVID test results. Per the MLB Operations Manual, anybody testing positive should self-quarantine in their current city (rather than board a plane with the rest of the team). According to infectious disease expert Dr. John Swartzberg, “there’s a high probability that more people are going to end up testing positive” once those results come in (h/t The Athletic).

Former Fish debuting in new places

MLB: Boston Red Sox-Workouts David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Relievers Austin Brice and Brian Moran from the 2019 Marlins got into games over the weekend with the Red Sox and Blue Jays, respectively. Being on eastern teams, they could potentially match up with their former employer later this summer. Jarlin García (Giants) is a couple time zones away, unfortunately, and still on the mend from a COVID-19 related shutdown.

Neil Walker (Phillies) started at designated hitter on Sunday. Meanwhile, Austin Dean (Cardinals) continues to ride the bench.

Walk-off links