Three weeks ago, when the Marlins further confirmed their stance as sellers at the trade deadline, shipping out center fielder Starling Marte to Oakland for former vaunted prospect Jesús Luzardo, many in the baseball community praised Miami for their savvy swap.
The Fish, in theory, turned a two-month rental in Marte for four-plus years of someone only a year-in-change removed from being the #9 ranked prospect according to Baseball-Prospectus.
So far, Marte has been all Oakland could’ve asked for, posting a 155 OPS+ in 17 games played entering play Wednesday.
As for the product of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, his homecoming narrative has been nothing but a disaster. On Wednesday, that narrative persisted in his latest outing, one where he walked 5 in 3+ innings in an 11-9 loss to the first-place Atlanta Braves.
In 17.2 innings since joining the team, Luzardo has now walked 16, while allowing 19 earned runs. Luzardro’s 5 walks served as a microcosm for the control issues the pitching staff struggled with tonight, as Wednesday saw them issue 12 free passes, the most since the team walked 12 Chicago Cubs on September 19, 2010.
All didn’t start so bad, though, as the left-hander started the night with three scoreless innings before a Freddie Freeman triple kickstarted a four-run 4th inning that saw Atlanta bring 9 hitters to the plate.
Lost in the shuffle of Miami’s 6 run 9th inning was Freeman who completed his 2nd career cycle with a two-run home run in the 6th inning.
FREDDIE FREEMAN HITS FOR THE CYCLE WITH A TANK pic.twitter.com/cFKvqULqbh— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) August 19, 2021
Entering the bottom of the 9th inning, a half-inning removed from catcher Sandy León throwing a 1-2-3 top half, and with the team trailing 11-3, the Marlins’ bats exploded for 6 runs on 7 hits, seeing 10 men come to the plate.
In that inning, third baseman Isan Díaz, who’d already singled and walked in the game, picked up two hits, including his 9th double of the season, starting the would-be rally.
Jesús Sanchez, playing in his third game since returning from injury, added his 4th home run of the season, cutting the Atlanta lead down to two. On the home run, which, too, marked Sanchez’s first hit since July 11th, the right fielder flipped his bat after admiring the trajectory of the ball, much to the chagrin of closer Will Smith.
Will Smith gets upset at Jesus Sanchez for celebrating. pic.twitter.com/dJ6YnkXuQY— Major League GIFs (@MajorLeagueGIFs) August 19, 2021
Miami finishes the series against Atlanta having been outscored 25-11, posting an 8.33 ERA in the three-game set.
The team will travel to Cincinnati where they’ll begin and conclude a brief four-game road trip at Great American Ball Park against the Wild Card hopeful Reds.
Per manager Don Mattingly, a corresponding move will be made to determine who will start tomorrow’s series opener.