The Marlins have swept their first series of this young 2022 MLB season. A team that frequently blew close games last year continues to show that things have changed for the better, topping the Nationals on Thursday, 3-2.
The Fish were led into this game by Trevor Rogers, attempting to build off of his previous start. Rogers looked vulnerable at times, allowing one run in the first inning—a Nats rally that was aided by a Payton Henry passed ball—but he settled in brilliantly. Rogers pitched six full innings, allowing just two hits while striking out four. It was good to see another quality start from this Marlins rotation, and to see Rogers somewhat return to his 2021 form.
On the offensive side, Donnie Baseball decided to go with an all-righty lineup against the southpaw, Patrick Corbin. This means that Joey Wendle, Jazz, and Jesús Sánchez all received a partial day off.
The Marlins offense stalled for the next three innings until the explosive seventh inning. Brian Anderson led the inning off with a double, followed by Miggy Ro squaring around to bunt and getting hit in the face by a pitch. Very scary situation. Miggy initially stayed in the game and took his base.
In a great managerial decision, Mattingly used Sánchez to pinch-hit for DLC. He broke out of his 0-for-14 slump by hitting the go-ahead RBI single, giving the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Wendle, also being utilized as a pinch-hitter, was able to beat out a double play. A wild pitch from right-hander Victor Arano brought home Miggy for a crucial insurance run. The Marlins had runners at the corners with one out in this inning, but were unable to capitalize any further.
Anthony Bass pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. Richard Bleier came in the eighth and continued his early-season struggles, allowing back-to-back doubles that trimmed the Marlins’ lead to one. He record two outs and was pulled after walking Juan Soto.
Donnie left Sulser in for the ninth. It was Sulser’s longest outing as a Marlin and his first save since the trade earlier this month.
Undoubtedly, this series was led by pitching, but timely hits by guys like Wendle and Jesús Aguilar were also necessary. The Marlins finish this division road trip on a 5-game win streak, which has jolted them to a 10-8 record overall, good for second place in the NL East.
Things of note:
- Jorge Soler continued his struggles, going 0-for-4 on Thursday and finishing the series 1-for-12 (.171 BA this season).
- Although Jacob Stallings is slumping at the plate as well, days like this with Henry catching in his place remind us not to take Stallings’ receiving skills for granted.
- This was the first time since 2011 that the Fish have swept a 3-game road series against the Nationals.
Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference
The Marlins will now enter a six-game homestand, as they welcome the talented Seattle Mariners and the not-so-hot Arizona Diamondbacks for three games each. The Mariners series opener is Friday night at 6:40 PM EST, with probable starting pitchers Elieser Hernandez and Matt Brash.