At the beginning of the 2022 season, Joey Wendle was residing in the bottom half of the Marlins batting order while Jon Berti was buried on the bench. For the foreseeable future, we should be frequently seeing them both atop the lineup—that worked out alright on Friday night. Wendle went 2-for-4 with a walk in his return from the injured list and Berti added two more stolen bases to his MLB-leading total in a 6-3 victory over the Nationals.
Josiah Gray and the Marlins are well-acquainted—his turn in the rotation has come up during every series between these teams so far this year. He had been riding a hot streak, allowing only five total runs (four earned) in his previous five starts overall.
Much different story this time around. Gray was pummeled for six runs on a career-high 10 hits. His control was fine and his fastball velocity was even better than usual (averaging 95.1 miles per hour), but the Marlins made him pay for mistakes left over the heart of the plate.
Brian Anderson shattered the scoreless tie in the top of the third inning. His solo home run against Gray was launched at a 41-degree angle off the bat, the second-steepest long ball of his career, according to Baseball Savant.
With two outs in the inning, the Marlins stretched their lead. Berti walked, stole second and scored on Wendle’s soft line drive single to shallow left. Garrett Cooper’s RBI double made it 3-0.
Trevor Rogers had been working ultra-efficiently through three frames (35 pitches thrown). He faltered a bit in the fourth. The Nats manufactured a run after a leadoff walk by—who else—Juan Soto.
The fifth was even messier. After Wendle knocked in Miguel Rojas to put the Marlins up 4-1, Rogers flirted with giving it all back. He issued a pair of walks, allowing Lane Thomas to come up to the plate representing the potential tying run.
In perhaps the most exhilarating moment of Rogers’ stressful season, he struck out Thomas on a 2-2 slider.
The quality of Rogers’ stuff was not particularly special. The key was how he commanded it.
Fastballs up, secondary stuff down for Trevor Rogers in his win vs. the Nats pic.twitter.com/fWhmH78nkv— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 2, 2022
The Marlins were on the cusp of possibly blowing out Washington in the sixth. However, Wendle was picked off to end a bases-loaded threat in the top of the inning. Then, first man out of the bullpen Dylan Floro surrendered a two-run homer to Keibert Ruiz.
The other Miami relievers were brilliant, though. Anthony Bass, Steven Okert and Tanner Scott retired nine of 10 batters faced, the only blemish being an infield single. Rojas was a little shaken up after attempting to field that grounder in the seventh and he was removed from the game in the ninth—the last thing this club needs is another injury concern.
- Cooper contributed three hits, boosting his batting average to a season-high .321. It was his seventh three-hit game of the season as he continues to bolster his All-Star candidacy.
- Stallings was the only Marlins starting position player who didn’t reach base safely. On the other hand, it’s encouraging to see he and Rogers have success together. That battery had a 7.28 earned run average in 11 previous starts.
- Newly added speedster Billy Hamilton wasn’t used in the game, not even as a defensive replacement for Jesús Sánchez in the ninth.
Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference
These teams will have a mid-afternoon meeting on Saturday (4:05 p.m. ET) for the second game of this four-part series. Probable starters are Daniel Castano and Jackson Tetreault.