I googled “greatest pain in the world” and for my surprise Miami Marlins baseball team offence was not on the list. It had cluster headache, frozen shoulder, broken bone, heart attack etc but I guess the writer of the article is not a baseball fan. Oh my days, this has been the rough start I feared! Early days, only a couple of series down but this wasn’t the way I wanted this team to come out of the gate. Let’s look what are the issues causing this pain and something to be at least mildly happy about.
Marlins started the season against the reigning AL pennant Tampa Bay Rays who has been the dominant side of this so-called Citrus Series. Two young aces in the state of Florida, Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcantara went against each other and both were giving hitters a night to forget. Both went full six innings with Glasnow giving up only one hit and having six strikeouts. Alcantara answered with only two hits given and seven strikeouts. Rays ended up winning the game with your everyday baseball box score of 1-0 with a solo home run from Austin Meadows. Rays eventually took the series from the Marlins 2-1. At this point, I thought that it was just the rust of early days of the season because it looked like the Marlins could have taken two games from this series or even a sweep. Both losses weren’t blowouts. Alcantara was great, Pablo Lopez had a terrific outing in the second game of the series only to be blown away by Marlins offseason new signing hype video legend Anthony Bass as he gave up a three-run home run in the ninth inning to blow the game. Marlins hits finally erupted in the third game against Rich Hill as they scored a total of 12 runs. Tough losses but not hurting, yet. “At least the offence finally woke up,” I wrote into my notebook.
Next up was the St.Louis Cardinals. I feared the Cardinals. It was Trevor Rogers on the mound for the Marlins. Young lefty rookie pitcher against Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt wasn’t building up my confidence. Rogers was shaky in the first inning giving up three runs but then settled down to have a fairly good outing with four innings, six strikeouts and two hits. He had to take a loss to his stat line as the Marlins offence didn’t bother to show up. Looking forward to having him in the rotation though which is not loaded at the moment as Sixto Sanchez is having issues with his throwing arm shoulder. News that had my heart skip a few beats when I first read them. Hopefully, he will be back soon. So for the second and third games against the Cardinals, the Marlins had to roll with the top of the order again. But take a wild guess who is missing from these games again? Marlins bat swinging offence. They should put a sign on a milk carton if that would help them find it. Alcantara has been the ace for this team that they wanted him to be. In his two games this season, Marlins have scored whopping two runs to support him. Here is a stat from the Cardinals series that gives an idea what the Marlins are dealing with at the moment:
#Marlins went 1-22 with RISP this series.
— Fish On The Farm (@marlinsminors) April 7, 2021
Hot take here but this is not the way you win ball games. Marlins’ one-two punch Alcantara and Lopez surely will give this team wins but does that mean that they also need to start batting some runs in? That would have been the most Marlins thing to have that one hit out of 22 at-bats to be the pitcher getting the winning run in. So the Cardinals eventually swept the Marlins in the series 3-0. In the final game of the series, the Marlins didn’t even score a run. This home stand to begin the season goes 1-5. Everything hurts. Almost.
Not to get too dark on the issues with the Marlins inability to score runs, there have been some bright (blue) spots this early season. Bahamian Prince has arrived at South Beach and he holds the name of Jazz Chisholm. Chisholm won the battle for the second base job in the spring against Isan Diaz and he came to the Opening Day with blue hair, a smile on his face and he is now an undisputed fan favourite. He brings spark and swagger to this team. In the second game against the Rays, he hit a triple to spark a rally that saw the Marlins take the lead. This team needs someone like Jazz at the moment to dig this team up from the grave.
Jazz Chisholm is ELECTRIC!! ⚡️⚡️⚡️pic.twitter.com/EsyAJxvNKm
— Ben Verlander (@Verly32) April 3, 2021
Marlins begin their first road trip of the season as they head to New York to face the Mets and then to Atlanta to take on the Braves. They finish April with a homestand against the Giants and Orioles. The key has to be gaining momentum from this road trip to head back home with good spirits and not rock bottom. It’s a tough road trip but last season they were the road warriors as they took 20 of 31 total wins away from home. So there is hope.
Time to start fishing some wins!
Stay safe and Go Fish!
Photo credit: Mark Brown/GettyImages
Tomi Korkeamaki is covering the Miami Marlins during 2021 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki