The Miami Heat opened their 2021-22 regular season on Thursday night by hosting the Milwaukee Bucks. They mopped the floor with the reigning NBA champions, more than doubling the Bucks’ point total in the first quarter and comfortably outscoring them in the other three as well. With strong defense and relentless offense, Miami won by a staggering 42-point margin.
That got me thinking about the Marlins: How often did they give us that feeling this year? Thanks to MLB’s 162-game format, every team has dominant days of jumping out to an early lead and keeping their foot on the gas.
I used Average Leverage Index (aLI) in Marlins wins as a starting point. Lower values indicate less stress that the Fish and their fans were feeling during the course of these games. Overall, there were 24 victories in 2021 that had below-average pressure, according to Stathead. I narrowed it down to five particularly lopsided experiences, plus one honorable mention*.
July 16—MIA 7, PHI 0 (F/7)*
Stars of the game: Jesús Aguilar (3-for-3, HR, 4 RBI), Jordan Holloway (5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K), Starling Marte (3-for-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI)
This shutout of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park doesn’t officially make the cut simply because it was a seven-inning doubleheader game. The Marlins had the luxury of riding Holloway’s unhittable stuff for most of the night. It’s unknown how they would have navigated two extra frames.
May 5—ARI 0, MIA 8
Stars of the game: Adam Duvall (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI), Miguel Rojas (2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI)
Holloway contributed scoreless relief in this game, too. It’s astonishing in hindsight to see that the Diamondbacks were above the .500 mark at the time. This is the performance that jolted Duvall out of his worst slump of the season. From May 5 through the trade deadline, he was arguably the Marlins’ most valuable player.
June 10—COL 4, MIA 11
Stars of the game: Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI), Starling Marte (4-for-5, 2B, HR), Trevor Rogers (7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
The Marlins bludgeoned the Rox with 11 unanswered runs. Their 16 hits were a season high at LoanDepot Park even though they only batted in eight innings. Rogers’ final line doesn’t fully reflect how special he was—the lead was insurmountable by the time Colorado did any damage against him.
June 19—MIA 11, CHC 1
Stars of the game: Adam Duvall (2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI), Pablo López (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K), Jesús Sánchez (2-for-4, HR)
The Marlins turned the previous night’s series opener into an easy route and followed it up with a bloodbath. This was Pablo’s best start as a major leaguer. He could’ve gone the distance if necessary. The Marlins plated runs in seven different innings and celebrated Sánchez first career homer. Position player Eric Sogard pitched the ninth for the Cubbies.
August 11—MIA 7, SDP 0
Stars of the game: Sandy Alcantara (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K), Lewis Brinson (3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
“Brinsanity” reached its apex during this getaway day matinee. The Marlins salvaged a game from what had been a miserable road trip with a well-rounded offensive output—each of their starting position players recorded at least one hit except for Rojas, who walked twice. Bryan De La Cruz’s bat was just beginning to heat up. The Padres lineup was missing a few regulars (most notably Fernando Tatís Jr.), but Alcantara showed them no mercy.
August 28—CIN 1, MIA 6
Stars of the game: Sandy Alcantara (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K), Jesús Sánchez (1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
On Dominican Heritage Night, the Marlins racked up seven hits in the first inning, punctuated by Sánchez’s three-run bomb that had a projected distance of 443 feet. Alcantara’s pure stuff was filthy. All 12 of his strikeouts were of the swinging variety.