Amidst the continued nosedive in the NL East, encouraging storylines have been few and far between for the Miami Marlins.
When the Fish entered Washington Monday to begin a three-game set against the Nationals, their 40-53 record wasn’t indicative of their overall play, this, given the team’s then-plus 16 run differential. Fast forward two days, and following an 18-1 drumming and Washington’s comeback win on Tuesday, the Marlins run differential had fallen to -4.
Fortunately, an atom of light revealed itself in Wednesday’s series finale in the shade of Nick Neidert, who worked a career-high five innings, limiting the Nationals to just 1 run. Despite the encouraging effort, though, Neidert’s command issues persisted, noted by his 3 walks in this most recent outing.
“Nick set the tone,” uttered manager Don Mattingly postgame in what was a 3-1 Marlins win. With the win, the team snapped a skid that had seen them lost 4 of their last 5.
Mattingly, too, noted Neidert as a “creature of habit,” with much of this centering on the 24-year old’s command issues in his early goings at the big league level. In 24 innings this season, Neidert has walked 16 batters.
Following an Andrew Stevenson double in the bottom half of the inning, pitching took further precedent as the score would remain at 1 apiece until the top of the 10th. A Jorge Alfaro pinch-hit RBI double would prove the difference, coming on the heels of a 14-game stretch the saw Alfaro slash .091/.149/.159 with a 40.4-percent strikeout rate.
COMES THROUGH IN THE 10th!— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) July 22, 2021
Jorge Alfaro smacks the go-ahead double in extras to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead!
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Miami would extend the lead to 3-1 following a Miguel Rojas sacrifice fly that scored Alfaro.
The Marlins bullpen - highlighted by two scoreless frames from Dylan Floro, who hasn’t allowed an earned run since June 14th - kept the Nationals’ bats silent for 5 innings following Neidert.
Encouraging, too, was the muting of first baseman Josh Bell (0-4, K), who’d previously homered in each of the series’ first two games. Miami pitching also turned 4 double plays Wednesday, 3 of which were induced by the aforementioned Neidert.
As the team heads home to begin a four-game series against Fernando Tatís Jr. and the San Diego Padres Thursday, Marlins’ fans are hoping Wednesday’s proves a step in the right direction in discovering a stream of consistency as we near the trade deadline.