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Identifying and fixing the Marlins’ early season struggles

Miami Marlins right fielder Jorge Soler (12) is hit by a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at loanDepot Park. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no question that the beginning of the Marlins season has not been what we expected. The Marlins currently sit last in the NL East with a record of 4-7 and 4 games back of the first place New York Mets.

It is fair to say that although the team is looking improved from in 2021, there are still lingering issues. Today we go over what these issues have been and how they can possibly be solved.

Big signings not working out

The Miami Marlins made some big splashes during the 2021-22 offseason, signing outfielders Avisaíl García (4/$53M) and Jorge Soler (3/$36M). Early in the season, both players have been struggling big time, hitting one home run each and combining for 12 hits. Fans and media expected that Soler and García would provide more impact with their bats.

The solution is fairly simple when it comes to what to do: lower Soler in the batting lineup from 1st to maybe 3rd or 4th. That would open up the leadoff spot for Jazz Chisholm Jr. If Jazz stays hot, he would create more opportunities for Soler to bat with runners on base.

The next stop on the Marlins schedule is a road series against the Braves. Soler he will be making his return to Atlanta to face the team he helped lead to the 2021 World Series championship. If there is a good spot to have Soler get hot, this would definitely be it.

As for Avisaíl, he needs to get it going as quickly as possible, otherwise Bryan De La Cruz could start eating into his playing time.

Wasting great starting pitching

The biggest issue in the 2021 season was the Marlins offense failing to provide enough run support for the talented pitching staff. Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez and Jesus Luzardo all had losing records as a result, with Pablo López “leading” them by going .500 (5-5).

Already in 2022, we have seen special outings from Luzardo (12 strikeouts vs. Angels) and Sandy on Wednesday going 8 scoreless innings against the Cardinals. The Marlins lost both games.

Yes, the team is getting hits in games, but isn’t efficiently converting those scoring opportunities into runs. Flip the results of those close losses and the Marlins would be 6-5 instead and we would feel completely different about their start to the season.

In addition to Soler and García, several of the returning veterans are underachieving. Jesús Aguilar, Miguel Rojas and Jacob Stallings are all hitting far below .200.

Here is how I would temporarily adjust the Marlins lineup to put more at-bats in the hands of Miami’s best options and produce more offense:

Although the left-handed batters are pretty squished together, I think this is how they would be most successful overall.

Don Mattingly

The NL Manager of the Year in 2020 has not carried over the magic from that season. And that is not totally in his control, to be clear.

This season, it seems like the Marlins are going extremely analytical when it comes to making their lineups and in-game substitutions. The most notable move happened on Tuesday when Don Mattingly removed Jazz for the pinch-hitter Soler in a crucial moment. Mattingly pointed to platoon splits as the reason why the decision made sense to him, but it did result in a ground out, and it took Jazz off the field for the final 3 innings of the game.

Mattingly did something similar the next game by removing Joey Wendle for Brian Anderson. That worked out better with Anderson drawing a walk, but nonetheless, Anderson should not be playing over Wendle in crucial moments of the game.

If the Marlins fired Mattingly—he is in the final guaranteed year of his contract—that would mean first-time manager James Rowson taking over the helm on an interim basis. Waiting until the All-Star break instead of pushing the panic button now would be ideal. Ultimately, I believe the Marlins will allow the season play out and part ways with Mattingly if the season stays on its current course.


The season at the moment isn’t even close to lost, but there are apparent issues that keep haunting the Marlins’ chances at winning ball games. Without making some adjustments, they could be stuck in last place.

Poll

How do you feel about this 2022 Marlins season now compared to Opening Day?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    The team is worse than I expected
    (48 votes)
  • 3%
    The team is better than I expected
    (3 votes)
  • 42%
    The team is about the same as I expected
    (38 votes)
89 votes total Vote Now