The fourth time was the charm for Charlie Morton against the Marlins. After posting mediocre results in each of his previous meetings with the Fish this season, the veteran right-hander quieted their bats on Friday night in a wire-to-wire Braves win.
Morton (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 31.6 CSW%) had higher velocity than usual on all of his pitches, according to Baseball Savant. In addition to succeeding with his signature curveball, the 37-year-old got nasty armside run on his sinker and induced silly-looking swings with occasional changeups. You would’ve never known that this was just his second time working with catcher Kevan Smith.
“Opening” on the other side of this matchup was Anthony Bass. In an encouraging first step, he struck out Ronald Acuña Jr. looking. On the very next pitch, however, Freddie Freeman took him deep for a go-ahead solo home run. Freeman’s 13th home run at Marlins/LoanDepot Park ties him with Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman for most ever by a visiting player.
For Bass, he continues to have some of MLB’s most extreme platoon splits—0 HR and .429 OPS against vs. righties, but 6 HR and 1.110 OPS against vs. lefties.
Newly recalled southpaw Shawn Morimando took the ball from there. In only his second appearance for the Fish and the fourth of his major league career, he stunningly completed five innings of scoreless relief. Morimando consistently threw his curveball for strikes and created a 16 mile-per-hour velo differential on average between that pitch and his fastball.
The Marlins have had a relief pitcher pitch 4.0 scoreless innings in each of the last three games (Jordan Holloway, Nick Neidert and Shawn Morimando). It’s the first time in club history the Marlins have had a reliever work 4.0 or more innings in three consecutive games.— Marlins Communications (@MarlinsComms) July 10, 2021
It was a forgettable night for the others in the Marlins bullpen.
Rookie sensation Anthony Bender had arguably his worst stuff of the season, missing the target badly on the few sliders he attempted to throw, which helped Braves hitters sit on his heater. One of those sliders hit Acuña on the left elbow. With the score 1-0 in the seventh inning, the count 2-1 and the pitch at only 82 mph, it was obviously unintentional—that didn’t stop Acuña from acting up, screaming and gesturing at Bender on his way to first base.
Ozzie Albies made the Marlins pay for the HBP with a run-scoring double. His 60th RBI of the year tied Duvall for the National League lead.
The Marlins offense was shut out for the 10th time in 2021. On the bright side, four of the last five times that happened, they responded by winning the following game.
Starling Marte is slumping so far in July, going 3-for-28 (.107 BA) at the plate with no extra-base hits, striking out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances. Speaking to Craig Mish prior to the game, Marte says he had no update on the status of his contract extension negotiations.
Saturday’s game features Max Fried—coming off one of his worst outings of the season in Pittsburgh—and All-Star Trevor Rogers. First pitch at 4:10 p.m.