You couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome for the Miami Marlins on Saturday. Not only did they prevail against the National League’s finest pitcher and humiliate the main villain of Thursday’s series opener, but the two most highly regarded prospects on their active roster led the charge. This is what an ideal game looks like during a season in which the Fish want to validate their 2020 playoff berth while identifying core pieces for their true championship contention window which hasn’t quite opened yet.
- Trevor Rogers—6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K (82 pitches)
- Jacob deGrom—8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K (95 pitches)
Trevor Rogers stumbled in his first and final innings of work. During the interim, however, he was every bit as imposing as Jacob deGrom. Rogers had the same mid-to-high-90s fastball velocity exhibited throughout spring training and in his previous regular season start, except his command of it was more consistent against the Mets. Of his 44 fastballs thrown, 22 of them went for called strikes or whiffs (50.0 CSW%). For comparison’s sake, deGrom’s heater registered a 41.2 CSW%.
Despite several jaw-dropping highlights, Jazz Chisholm Jr. had his fair share of struggles in recent games, particularly with high fastballs—he loves to swing at them and has often been swinging through them.
On paper, deGrom was a difficult matchup for Chisholm. But in reality, not so much!
That’s the epitome of what evaluators call “quick hands.”
Jazz Chisholm with a home run off a 100.4 mph pitch from Jacob deGrom— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 10, 2021
- Tied for the fastest pitch a Marlins player has homered on in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008)
- The fastest pitch a Mets pitcher has allowed a HR on in that span pic.twitter.com/7dAZPjpBtj
That lone run created by the 23-year-old infielder may have been enough on an afternoon when his teammate, the 23-year-old lefty, brought his best stuff to the mound. Don Mattingly stuck to his pregame commitment, staying away from closer Anthony Bass in high-leverage situations until they “get him right.” Instead, Dylan Floro, Richard Bleier and Yimi García set the Mets down in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Thankfully, a pair of insurance runs created much-needed breathing room. Miguel Rojas stretched the lead to 3-0 with his two-out single in the ninth. The veteran shortstop also came up clutch defensively, making several athletic catches and applying a difficult tag to help Rogers out of an initial jam.
Keeps his glove down while fielding it on a short hop, then finds Lindor all in 1 motion pic.twitter.com/leIw5evtSs— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 10, 2021
You know who was a non-factor? Michael Conforto. The heroic hit batsman from the series opener feebly struck out thrice against Rogers. Boos from New York fans were audible on the broadcast as his OPS plunged to .440 so far in this young season.
Kudos to Chad Wallach, guiding the pitching staff through its first shutout of 2021. He got the news that he’d be starting on short notice in place of Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring tightness). Wallach has started three consecutive Marlins regular season games for the first time in his career, and it won’t be the last time he does so if Alfaro requires a trip to the injured list.
Meanwhile, deGrom earned the distinction of being the first Marlins opponent ever to record at least 14 strikeouts while taking the losing decision. Back in 2000, future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson also struck out 14 in a loss to the Fish, though he escaped with a no-decision.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Mets had a higher probability of winning on Saturday than any other MLB team.
Sunday’s rubber game of the series is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET just like the other two were. Keep in mind, however, that there’s rain in the forecast. Marcus Stroman gets the start for the home team. We’re destined to see Rule 5 draft pick Paul Campbell make an appearance for Miami, but Mattingly is non-committal about whether he’ll start or enter out of the ‘pen.