Home opener preview
For the first time in nearly 11 months, Marlins Park will host a real major league game on Friday night. The 8-4 division-leading Fish finally return home for the first of three contests against the second-place Braves (11-9).
Notable absences: For the Braves, Ozzie Albies (right wrist), Matt Adams (left hamstring) and Mike Soroka (right achilles) were placed on the injured list earlier this month. Ronald Acuña Jr. (left wrist) is on the active roster but expect to sit out the entire weekend. Encouraging news about right-hander Sandy Alcantara from Fish Stripes’ own Hector Rodriguez. However, don’t expect him or any of the other 17 Marlins players affected by the Philly COVID-19 outbreak to be activated yet. Also, right-hander Mike Morin suffered an elbow injury on Wednesday that will land him on the IL (Jorge Guzman and Humberto Mejía are leading candidates to be recalled as the corresponding move).
The Marlins are rewarding new business partners Monkey Knife Fight and Solis Heath Plans with signage in right field. Allegedly, if a Marlins player hits the MKF sign in the second deck, the company will donate $10,000 towards COVID relief efforts.
Joana Martinez is singing the pregame national anthem. South Florida frontline workers have been selected to throw out the virtual ceremonial first pitch.
I joined Alex Contreras on the Marlins Barbecue podcast show to discuss many of the standout individual performances that have made this hot start possible. Alex will be credentialed for the home opener, so follow him for updates.
Inside the roster makeover
Although a week off from competition felt like an eternity to fans and those quarantining in the club’s hotel, it was a chaotic time inside the Marlins front office. For six straight days, they learned of new players inside the traveling party who tested positive for the virus, all of whom needed to be replaced. Marc Carig of The Athletic spoke with director of pro scouting Hadi Raad and baseball operations special assistant Adrian Lorenzo about how they pulled it off (subscription required).
“The hardest part was the unknown. You’re working on limited information. Spring Training 2.0 was almost like a secret site where no one can watch these players. A lot of these guys were DFA’d and you hadn’t had a scout lay eyes on them for months since spring training. So you’re relying on pro scouting reports that are three or four months old.”
While I was sleeping, the Marlins announced the acquisition of right-hander Jesús Tinoco. They sent minor league RHP Chad Smith to the Rockies to complete the trade.
The 25-year-old Tinoco pitched 36 innings out of bullpen last season, relying mostly on his fastball/slider combo. He posted a respectable 4.75 ERA but an awful 7.91 FIP that takes his sky-high home run rate into consideration.
Tinoco is on the 40-man roster, but has been optioned to the alternate training site in Jupiter.
Fish fans from afar
The Marlins bandwagon is rapidly filling up, but the Fish Army Twitter account was curious to hear from fans who have endured throughout the dark times. Specifically, fans who don’t even live in Florida.
Just a few of their responses are embedded below:
Live in Brooklyn, don’t really care about the Mets and hate the Yankees (went to school in Boston) started getting into baseball a couple years ago and I just liked the idea of rooting for an underdog. Now I’m really invested in the rebuild— Sam Riebesehl (@SamwiseTheWise) August 13, 2020
Live in NJ. Started rooting for the Heat when I was like 6 or 7 because they were the only team I could beat my older brother with in NBA Jam.— Miami Marlins - HOLY SHHHHHHIIII (@Brocktarrr) August 13, 2020
Yankees/Mets fans I grew up with were/are annoying as hell and didn’t want to be on either side. Figured I already liked one Miami team
My friends are all fans of the other NL East teams and I became a fan of the Marlins last year to be able to root against their favorite teams. It’s working out great so far. Oh and I love spanish #JuntosMiami— Corley John (@CorleyJohn) August 13, 2020
03 marlins WS, first games I ever watched on tv here in England. Couldn’t choose the Yankees.— shaun (@Shaunbbarrett) August 13, 2020
- Current 2020 Marlins playoff odds according to FanGraphs: 23.9%.
- Pablo López and Lewin Díaz were guests of Miguel Rojas on a new episode of The Clubhouse (pre-recorded during summer camp).
- A chest protector worn by former MLB catcher turned U.S. World War II spy Moe Berg is now on display at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Ryan Lavarnway presents it in this video.
- Locked On Marlins has a two-part interview with third-round draft pick Zach McCambley.
- The Marlins remain in the No. 9 spot on Baseball America’s updated MLB farm system rankings.
- Wichita Wind Surge assistant general manager Bob Moullette joins Swimming Upstream to reflect on the life of Lou Schwechheimer.
- Takes Were Made incorporates pinstripes into their latest Marlins uniform concepts. What do you think?