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Offishial news, 3/12/21: Updated spring stats; first birthday of pandemic baseball

Getting you caught up on a busy week of Marlins action and Fish Stripes content.

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Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Spring Training Numbers Crunch—Week 2

Not even halfway through a shorter-than-usual Grapefruit League schedule, the Marlins have already been involved in five tie games. Recordkeeping on such things is spotty, but their current streak of four consecutive winnerless contests is seemingly unprecedented for the franchise.

Offenses throughout the Marlins/Mets/Nationals/Cardinals/Astros regional pod have been dormant, with each team still stuck on single-digit home runs. Specifically for the Fish, they’ve squandered their opportunities with runners in scoring position, leading the majors with 94 at-bats in such situations yet collectively slashing .194/.306/.344. Miami’s pitching staff owns an MLB-best 2.85 earned run average, buoyed more than anything else by a high ground ball rate.

Anthony Bender’s brilliance continues—he has retired all 10 batters faced this spring, six of them via the strikeout. Lewin Díaz is the only Marlins player who’s been used in every game. In Baseball-Reference’s estimation, Sandy León is getting matched up against, on average, the most experienced opposing pitchers while Yimi García and Braxton Garrett have faced the most experienced batters.

Probable starters for Friday’s game in Port St. Lucie (1:10 p.m. first pitch) are Pablo López and Marcus Stroman. SNY will be providing a Mets television broadcast, available to MLB.TV subscribers.

30 Clubs in 30 Days spotlight

The series doesn’t have the same intimacy as previous years for obvious reasons, but MLB Network is once again “visiting” with every team for 30 Clubs in 30 Days. Thursday was the Marlins’ turn.

The primetime television special included quick interviews with Starling Marte, Miguel Rojas, Sandy Alcantara, Jesús Aguilar, JJ Bleday and manager Don Mattingly.

On Twitter, MLBN asked fans to vote for the most likely of four bold predictions. In a runaway, Sixto Sánchez winning NL Rookie of the Year got 71.3% of the votes.

One year without normalcy

March 12, 2020, facing the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in front of six thousand-plus fans, was the date of the final Marlins spring training game before Major League Baseball announced that it would put everything on pause. It took more than four months for Opening Day to arrive, nine months for the first Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, and now a full year later, our lives remain dramatically altered.

Along the way, the Marlins found themselves embroiled in a team-wide virus outbreak. They overcame unprecedented personnel challenges to snap the franchise’s 17-year postseason drought.

Jordan McPherson writes about it all for the Miami Herald.

Walk-off links

  • Busy, busy week on the Fish Stripes podcast with seven(!) total episodes, including one special interview with veteran baseball reporter Joe Frisaro. This kind of volume will be the new normal for our staff in 2021, so please subscribe, rate and review the pod if you haven’t already.

  • Craig Mish reports that Sixto Sánchez’s workload this season will be capped around 150-160 innings. Sánchez threw what the Marlins describe as a successful 26-pitch live batting practice session Thursday against JJ Bleday and Jerar Encarnación. It’s all but certain that he’ll be left off the Opening Day roster as it may take close to a full month from this point to get his arm stretched out for starting duty.
  • Minor League Baseball players will be guinea pigs for a variety of experimental rules.
  • A reminder to grab your tickets for Marlins Park’s Leading Off event, which is only eight days away.
  • FOX Sports Florida’s Jessica Blaylock goes Swimming Upstream with Alex Carver to discuss the unique challenges that women face in sports and her dual coverage of the Marlins and Florida Panthers.
  • Looking for a low-risk/high-reward bet? According to OddsChecker, you can get tasty odds on Starling Marte (+8,000), Brian Anderson (+8,000) and Jesus Aguilar (+10,000) to win the NL Most Valuable Player award.
  • Keith Law shares my sentiments regarding outfield prospect Peyton Burdick—enthralled by his power potential but reluctant to project him to be a star until seeing him in person against upper-minors competition.
  • Join us in wishing a happy 22nd birthday to Max Meyer! The former first-round draft pick should be making his long-awaited professional pitching debut in early May—most likely High-A Beloit or Double-A Pensacola—and move quickly from there (health permitting).
  • Miguel Rojas will co-host the fifth episode of The Chris Rose Rotation on the Jomboy Media Network this Monday. It promises to be more than an hour of laughs and baseball insight from the Marlins’ de facto captain.