Miami, FL—Not every game needs a big swing or spectacular play. After winning the previous two games of the series with slugfests, the Marlins had to focus on the small things to squeak out their third straight win against the Colorado Rockies, continuing to climb their way back towards .500. It was not easy, but with the help of some great situational pitching and enthusiastic cheers from the camp day crowd at LoanDepot Park, they got the job done.
Braxton Garrett continues to improve himself into a bonafide Major League starting pitcher. This was arguably his best start of the season. He worked in and out of trouble, got strikeouts when he needed to, ground balls the other times, and made the Rockies hitters play up to his stuff. They had to beat him, not the other way around. His slider was dancing down-and-in to the righty heavy lineup, drawing a respectable 16 swings-and-misses—that tied for the highest total of any big leaguer who pitched on Thursday.
After giving up back-to-back singles with two outs in the fifth inning, Braxton gave way to Zach Pop who ended the threat by inducing a groundout. Braxton's final line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 94/68 P/S, 24 BF. We’ll come back to the pitching side of the game momentarily.
Jon Berti. My word, what a run he is on (literally). His day included a single, a double, a run scored, and most importantly, TWO stolen bases to extend his lead on the Major League Most Wanted list. Consecutive successful stolen base attempts numbers 20 and 21 for Berti of the season, the longest such streak in Marlins history. His 17 steals in the month of June is also a club record.
OK, back to pitching. Zach Pop worked a scoreless 6th, working around a leadoff double. Friend of the pod Anthony Bass navigated around a one-out triple to keep the Rockies off the board in the 7th.
With the score tied at two, the game went to the top of the eighth inning. The bullpen door opened between innings and, um...no one came out. Anthony Bass didn’t emerge from the dugout, so there had to be someone coming from the ‘pen. Who was it, and more importantly, where are they!?
Finally, Steven Okert runs across the bullpen, grabs his glove, takes a few steps out of the door, shrugs, and jogs out to the mound. Don Mattingly goes out to talk with the umpires and Okert takes an extended warm-up session on the mound. Ready to go, right? Nope. Okert needed to get a new PitchCom receiver in his hat and Miguel Rojas had the trainer take a look at his right foot, which has been bothering him lately. Then, and only then, were we able to resume play.
In the end, no one was injured, and Okert simply didn’t know he was supposed to be pitching because the call for him to start warming up was never made. Thankfully, the lefty makes sure to get himself stretched and ready around the seventh inning in case he is needed in a pinch. He pitched a scoreless 8th inning, by the way. So the game remained 2-2, heading to the bottom half of the 8th inning. Would the offense pull through and give Tanner Scott a chance to close it out?
Garrett Cooper got the ball rolling with a one-out single and was replaced by pinch-runner Luke Williams. Jesús Aguilar followed that up with a single to right field, moving Williams over to third. It was Avisaíl García’s turn to save the day. He hit a ground ball to the left side that would normally result in a double play, but Avi turned on the afterburners. Reaching a season-high sprint speed of 29.5 ft/s, Avi beat out the throw, allowing Williams to score from third base, and giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead.
Avi Garcia matched his fastest sprint speed of the season at 29.5 feet/second (30.0 is considered elite), and every inch mattered in helping the #Marlins complete a sweep of the Rockies. pic.twitter.com/hIOtGrvgOR— Glenn Geffner (@GlennGeffner) June 23, 2022
Tanner Scott struck out C.J. Cron, gave up a single to Brendan Rodgers, and struck out both Ryan McMahon and José Iglesias to complete his 7th save and seal the sweep.
Noah’s Notes and What’s Next
- I am shocked I actually made it to the ballpark in time for this game with jury duty.
- Go listen to the new podcast! That’s an order!
- JON BLEEPING BERTI
- Berti and Cooper are both riding 8-game hitting streaks; Cooper has also reached base safely in 15 straight dating back to June 3.
- The Rockies offense went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving 13 total runners on base.
- Everyone’s favorite reporter (that’s me) now holds a 6-10 record in the press box. IMPROVEMENT!
- This team isn’t ready to be eliminated. They are determined to get back into it, and it’s gonna be fun to watch, I promise you.
- Speaking of fun to watch, Friday is Sandy Day. That matchup against the Mets will get a national audience, airing on MLB Network for out-of-market viewers.
- Isaac Azout and Brent Cosculluela will have your credentialed coverage for the series opener. Isaac is handling the recap. I will be back with Louis Addeo-Weiss on Sunday.
- That game is the 69th game of the Marlins season. Have a nice night!