Entering Friday at 6-7, the Marlins are off to their best 13-game start to the season since 2020 and currently sit in third place in the loaded National League East. Undoubtedly, had we told Marlins fans before the season began that after 13 games against the Mets, Twins, and Phillies, the Fish would be sitting one game under .500, they would have been delighted.
Before the Marlins open their home series against the Diamondbacks, here are 3 key takeaways from the young season:
Fresh off a game in which Marlins relievers combined for 5 shutout innings with 8 strikeouts, Miami has to be pleased with how their bullpen has fared so far this year.
The Marlins have found a reliable quartet of relief arms to use in high-leverage spots, led by closer A.J. Puk and including Dylan Floro, Huascar Brazoban, and JT Chargois (Chargois was recently placed on the 15-day IL with an oblique strain). Those four have combined to throw 23 1⁄3 innings with 27 K’s and only 6 walks. Matt Barnes has also pitched well in his limited opportunities.
2. Arraez and the offense
Through the first nine games, Miami was last in the Majors in runs scored by a wide margin, scoring only 20 times. However, in their last four games, they’ve already scored 21 times. Reigning AL batting champ Luis Arraez, who just recorded the first cycle in franchise history, is 23-for-46 (.500 BA) with a 1.256 OPS. He leads the National League in batting average, hits, OBP, and OPS.
Slugger Jorge Soler, who appears to have regained his 2021 form, has been the perfect complement to Arraez. Soler has 9 extra-base hits in 12 games (.587 SLG), including a clutch, game-tying home run off José Alvarado in the 8th inning of Wednesday’s win.
3. Jesús Luzardo
Sandy Alcantara, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, has actually been the Marlins’ second-best starter through the first two weeks of the season. In 3 starts, Jesús Luzardo has allowed 4 ER in 18.2 IP (1.93 ERA) and has struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings. More importantly, the Marlins have won all three games that he’s started.
In addition, Luzardo has only walked two batters in his last thirteen innings of work, helping him achieve 0.9 bWAR (second on the team to Luis Arraez).
The young southpaw has dramatically improved since Miami acquired him from Oakland in exchange for Starling Marte. Luzardo has a strong chance to earn his first career All-Star selection in 2023.
Left-hander Trevor Rogers is expected to take the ball on Friday night to begin a 3-game set against the Diamondbacks. On Sunday, former Marlin Zac Gallen is expected to close out the series, facing the player he was traded for, Jazz Chisholm Jr.