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The Marlins are saving their best for the last minute

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We’re seeing an interesting batting split from the team so far in 2021.

Miami Marlins v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Wednesday’s 3-2 Marlins win against the D-Backs was something rare for the Fish: all of their run production came in the first two innings. They sent rookie pitcher Matt Peacock to the showers early, but failed to add to their lead against the bullpen.

The overall trend through the team’s first 36 games has been quite the opposite. Ordinarily, the Marlins get off to slow starts, eventually coming to life when relief pitchers take the mound. These splits are extreme...and difficult to explain.

The Marlins are among the worst teams in the MLB in terms of hitting against starting pitchers. For example, they’re second-to-last in scored runs (63), 25th in hits (153), 27th in home runs (18), 27th in batting average (.213), 28th in on-base percentage (.275), 29th in slugging percentage (.340), and 29th in OPS (.615).

Just for you to have a reference, even though Jesús Aguilar sits among the team’s best hitters in 2021, he’s hitting .195/.256/.351 off starters. And just like his case, the same happens to Adam Duvall, Garrett Cooper, and Brian Anderson. Fortunately, men such as Corey Dickerson (.328/.419/.406) and injured Jazz Chisholm (.333/.400/.644) are bringing some balance to the situation.

Collectively, the Marlins have posted a .218/.291/.376 slash line between innings one and three. They’re even worse between innings four and six (.221/.274/.300).

It’s a whole different story when opponents bring in somebody new for them to face. Just take a look at where the team ranks off relievers:

Hits: 123 (10th in MLB)

Home runs: 17 (13th)

Runs: 81 (10th)

AVG: .258 (5th)

OBP: .335 (5th)

SLG: .428 (5th)

OPS: .763 (4th)

Aguilar, in particular, capitalizes on these opportunities—he’s .475/.577/1.025 off relievers, with 19 hits, four doubles, six home runs, and 21 driven in. How about that?

Collectively, it all goes better for the Marlins between innings seven and nine, a scenario where they have a .774 OPS (.251/.328/.446), third-best in baseball just behind the Dodgers and the Astros. No team in the National League has scored more runs than Miami in those frames (57).

Although you would prefer to see them jump out to leads more regularly, it’s comforting to know that it’s never too late for the Fish to rally.