MIAMI, Fla.—The Marlins hoped to avoid a sweep on Wednesday afternoon as they wrapped up their first homestand of the 2021 season. Pablo López and Cardinals’ ace Jack Flaherty were each dueling, matching zeroes on the scoreboard. The Marlins were only able to put up one hit against Flaherty, a Corey Dickerson single in the first inning.
López kept the Cardinals at bay until the 7th inning, where he allowed a leadoff walk then gave up a home run to Yadier Molina. In a post-game Zoom conference, López tipped his cap to Molina, saying that he didn’t think the 7th inning cutter he hit for a home run was a bad pitch, acknowledging that Molina is a great hitter.
Through the first 6 games, starting pitching hasn’t been the Marlins’ problem. They’ve gotten two strong outings each from Sandy Alcantara and López, but have lost all four of those games. The team’s main focus this offseason was improving their bullpen, but it has been a rough start for the relievers.
Dylan Floro relieved López in the seventh, striking out the only batter he faced. Adam Cimber pitched the eighth inning, allowing one run on two hits. Zach Pop struggled mightily in his 1⁄3 of an inning, walking two batters and hitting another to load the bases. With a full count and the bases loaded, Dylan Carlson drove the ball to right-center field. The grand slam put the Cardinals up 7-0 in the top of the 9th inning.
Below are the team’s pitching splits through the first 6 games.
Marlins’ pitching splits through 6 games
If there’s a bright spot in Wednesday’s game, it’s the at-bats Brian Anderson put together against Flaherty, Génesis Cabrera, and Jordan Hicks. Each of the three balls Anderson put in play—two against Flaherty and one against Cabrera—had an exit velocity of 100 MPH. In the 4th inning, he sent a Flaherty slider 386 ft. to right-center field, missing his first home run of the season by a single foot. In his next at-bat, he drove the ball 394 ft. to dead-center field for an another out. Against Hicks in the 9th inning, Anderson worked a 7-pitch walk.
Although the lack of offense to start the season has been disappointing, manager Don Mattingly said he hopes the club can turn the page quickly as they begin their 7-day road trip. They’ll take on the New York Mets this weekend, then go to Atlanta for a 4-game series against the Braves.