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MIA 2, WSH 1: López Blanks Nats

López shuts down the Nats over 6 scoreless to secure MLB ERA lead, Aguilar goes yard.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

When Jacob deGrom went down with an injury, it opened the door for somebody else to temporarily hold the “best pitcher in the sport” title. But who could have imagined Pablo López as a legitimate candidate for it?

López hasn’t been bad by any means, though. The right-hander had a 132 ERA+ (3.26) in 160 innings between 2020-2021, but he’s never one whose name you’d insert into the conversation with the likes of deGrom, Max Scherzer, or Corbin Burnes. However, with what he’s done so far this season, now, the narrative seems to be pointing him into that upper echelon of pitchers.

Following 6 shutout innings against the Nationals in Wednesday night’s 2-1 victory, López - who hasn’t allowed a run in his last 18.2 innings - now leads the Majors with a 0.39 ERA. The right-hander struck out 6 while scattering 3 hits and 1 walk.

“He keeps doing his thing, even on a night when he didn’t feel his best,” said manager Don Mattingly.

With the win, Miami improves to 9-8, making for the first time the team has been over .500 since the final day of the 2020 season when they finished 31-29.

First baseman Jesús Aguilar collected his first extra-base hit, homering off of Erick Fedde in his 68th plate appearance of the season. The home run was Aguilar’s first since August 15th last season. He finished last season tied with the traded Adam Duvall for the team-leading 22 long balls.

Fedde, who allowed 2 runs over 4.2 innings in the loss, has a career 1.70 ERA in 42.1 career innings against the Marlins.

The Fish would plate the deciding run in the top of the 5th following a bases loaded walk to Jorge Soler.

Miami would enter the bottom of the 8th cruising with a 2-0 lead before a two out error by the aforementioned Aguilar and miscommunication by Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisholm on a Juan Soto pop up led to two walks and a run to cut the deficit to one. Manager Don Mattingly called upon closer Anthony Bender, who induced a long flyout from Yadiel Hernández. With the wind blowing on a cold D.C. night, where temperatures dipped into the high-40s, Hernández inning ending flyout had an xBA of .950 according to Statcast.

Bender would finish out the ballgame, allowing a two-out double to Maikel Franco before getting Lucius Fox to flyout to secure the victory and his 4th save of the season.

Looking Ahead

As Miami looks to be two games over .500 for the first time since 09/27/20, they’ll look to Trevor Rogers (0-3, 6.94 ERA) as Miami aims for the series sweep. Washington will counter with fellow left-hander Patrick Corbin (0-3, 11.20 ERA), with first pitch slated for 1:05 Eastern.

Of Note

  • Sánchez struggling: Following Wednesday’s 0-3, center fielder Jesús Sánchez has now gone 14 consecutive at-bats without a hit.
  • Per Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, Pablo López is just the 6th Marlins pitcher to start a season with an ERA of 1 or lower over his first four starts, and first to do it since Josh Johnson (1.00) in 2011.
  • Bahamian brotherhood: Starting at second base for Nationals Wednesday night, Lucius Fox and Jazz Chisholm made for the first big league game since 4/22/61 to feature two Bahamian-born players. The two grew up childhood friends in their native Nassau.

Miami Marlins (2) @ Washington Nationals (1), Win Probability Chart Baseball Savant