The Marlins beat the Nationals Friday night in the opener of a crucial five-game series, 3-2. Shortstop Miguel Rojas homered on his first swing since returning from the injured list, the pitching staff racked up 12 strikeouts while only issuing a single walk, and the Fish climbed back above the .500 mark. After failing in their five previous chances, they captured the 2,000th regular season win in franchise history.
- Elieser Hernandez—5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR (89 pitches)
- Patrick Corbin—6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 HR (102 pitches)
For the first time in a full week, the Marlins WIN!!!— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 22, 2020
Miggy Ro making an immediate impact
The bullpen was...great??!?!?!
Undefeated in 2020 when playing the World Series Champion Washington Nationals pic.twitter.com/wFFZSBBLTI
Corbin feasted in his matchups against Miami in 2019. Frankly, this performance wasn’t much different. The veteran lefty totaled 18 swinging strikes, including 11 on his signature slider.
However, with two on and two out in the top of the second inning, he fell behind in the count to Rojas. The 31-year-old pulled the 2-0 fastball down the left-field line for a three-run shot.
This contest was the 2020 season debut for Jorge Alfaro, who started as the designated hitter, and the major league debut for highly regarded prospect Jesús Sánchez. They combined for five strikeouts on the night, though Alfaro scored on Rojas’ home run and Sánchez made a critical play in the bottom of the ninth.
Jesús Sánchez, in his MLB debut, with the clutch catch in the 9th don't you forget it pic.twitter.com/9LsAEuQneB— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 22, 2020
Relievers Stephen Tarpley, James Hoyt, Brad Boxberger and Brandon Kintzler allowed only two baserunners between them after Hernandez exited. Manager Don Mattingly noted postgame that a recurring blister prevents Hernandez from approaching a triple-digit pitch count.
Juan Soto entered the game as arguably the best hitter in the world. For Tarpley to easily strike Soto out in the sixth when he represented the potential tying run was a pivotal moment. (Despite the off night, Soto is still slashing .392/.483/.882 with a 249 wRC+.)
The Marlins and Nats will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. Only seven innings apiece. Rookie left-hander Daniel Castano gets the daunting challenge of game one with future Hall of Fame Max Scherzer taking the ball for Washington. We are expecting top prospect Sixto Sánchez to make his debut as the starter for the second game—Mattingly declined to announce that, considering that Sixto hasn’t been officially added to the active roster yet.
Also count on seeing Alfaro get behind the plate for one of the games. The doubleheader’s reduced innings are a convenient way for him to ease into baseball shape after an extended COVID-19 related absence.