Entering Thursday, all 30 MLB teams were tied for first place. Or last place. Whichever way you slice it, every team had hope.
In the Marlins’ case, there was extra hope considering reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara was on the bump to face the villains of the East, the New York Mets. The Mets had their own decorated pitcher going for them in Max Scherzer, who has won his league’s Cy 3 times in his illustrious career.
Something that became clear once the lineups were introduced was that this was going to be a road game for the Marlins. Thousands of Mets fans made the trip down to South Florida donning “Queens South” t-shirts as they chanted “Let’s go Mets” throughout the game.
Through two innings, both pitchers had faced the minimum, with only the Marlins having registered a hit. Luis Arraez led off the bottom of the first with a hit—his first as a Marlin—but went no further as Segura grounded into a double play.
The top of the third yielded a run for the Mets as a leadoff walk came around to score on a sac fly by Brandon Nimmo. Omar Narváez was caught between first and second, so the official scoring is a sacrifice inning-ending flyball double play. The score remained 1-0 as Scherzer continued to slice and dice the Marlins hitters, and Sandy buckled down for scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth.
Then the hitters woke up on both sides. The Mets forced Sandy out of the game in the sixth after plating two runs on a sac fly by Francisco Lindor and a single by Jeff McNeil. Only one of the runs was earned as Jazz’s throw to third to try and nab Nimmo went off Nimmo’s foot and allowed Marte to go to second. E8.
Andrew Nardi came on in relief with runners on the corners and two outs. He got Mark Canha to fly out two pitches in and end the threat.
Jacob Stallings led off the bottom of the sixth with a full-count double to left-center. He scored on another double from Arraez, who made a great first impression in Miami. And then, with two outs and Arraez on second, Garrett Cooper squared up a high fastball from Max Scherzer and sent it to the seats in right-center for a game-tying two-run home run (106.9 MPH, 422 FT).
The inning would end as Jazz struck out, which would be the end of the afternoon for Scherzer.
- Scherzer’s final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 91 Pitches, 63 Strikes.
- Alcantara’s final line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 96 Pitches, 57 Strikes.
Sandy’s command wasn’t as sharp as we are used to seeing from him, as he started this season in a highly similar fashion to how he did last year. Multiple three-ball counts early in the game and four walks forced Sandy’s pitch count up way too quickly for how he usually likes to work. The Mets made him throw an average of 4.17 pitches per plate appearance; in 2022, Sandy’s was at 3.65 Pit/PA. Hopefully, like last year, he only gets better from here.
The tie did not last very long as Tanner Scott took the mound and gave up a two-run double to Brandon Nimmo to put the Mets up 5-3. The ball was hit on a line toward right-center, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. took an odd angle at the ball, which caused it to roll all the way to the wall. His defense in center field is still a work in progress.
The rest of the game for the Marlins offensively included a double from Jorge Soler and nothing else. Defensively, JT Chargois took over for Tanner in the seventh for the final two outs, and Huascar Brazoban worked in and out of trouble in the eighth and ninth for two scoreless. When all was said and done, the Mets came out on top by the score of 5-3.
Noah’s Notes and What’s Next
- First day of school! First day of school! Wake up! Wake up! First day of school! (That’s a Finding Nemo quote, btw.)
- The Marlins begin the season 0-1. Time to panic!
- I’m kidding. There are 161 more games. Relax.
- Luis Arraez made a great first impression on his new teammates, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
- Garrett Cooper put on a defensive clinic at first base. We suspect that he may have stolen a glove from Lewin Díaz.
- After his first regular season game as manager, Skip Schumaker was short and to the point about what happened with his team: “I think we just kinda beat ourselves today.”
- The paid attendance was 31,397, nearly identical to the Marlins’ 2022 home opener (31,184).
- In his second at-bat against Max Scherzer, Bryan De La Cruz noticed the pitch clock hit zero and started shouting, “BALL BALL BALL.” But the umpire thought he was asking for a timeout and charged him with one. It should’ve been an automatic ball.
- These two teams face off again Friday for the second of what will be four games.
- The Marlins will be wearing their throwback teal pinstriped uniforms as they celebrate the 30th year of the franchise in the inaugural “Flashback Friday.”
- David Peterson will take the mound for the Mets against Jesús Luzardo.
- Kevin Barral and Daniel Rodriguez will have your coverage.
- ‘Til Tmrw!