Speechless. I have no speech. This could easily sum up this crazy Opening Week 3.0 for the Miami Marlins. This is what has happened in the season so far:
- Marlins spent almost a month on the road and got half of the roster on IL because of an outbreak with COVID-19.
- Some of the players were locked up for over a week in a hotel, not able to train or play.
- Pitchers resorted to throwing to a mattress in their room.
- The club signed players that I had never even heard of.
- And finally, they got to Baltimore to face the Orioles with the new guys and prospects from the extended roster, and swept the O’s like it was a Sunday walk in the park
Even the most optimistic Marlins fans didn’t see that coming. Oh yeah and this now a go-to move in the club from now on for every Marlins fan:
THIS LEAGUE!!! pic.twitter.com/NlhvD6AKxm
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 7, 2020
Marlins continued their hotter than hot honeymoon getting a win over the New York Mets in the opening game of the series and a thought came to my head ”will they ever lose again?” but a reality check came along quickly the next day when the streak was broken and finally they got served by Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom in the last game.
To make this season even more weird, Marlins then travelled to Buffalo, NY to face the Blue Jays (yes, that is correct) in a two-game series. Both teams walked away with a win but I have never been more exhausted after watching baseball on back-to-back days. Both games went to extra innings.
The first game had a movie-like scene when it was the top of the ninth, two outs and 3-0 count. With the Blue Jays leading 4-1, veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli hit a 3-run home run to tie the game. “Absolute scenes” might one great Marlins fan say. Marlins lost the game in the extra innings but got the payback in the second game, Marlins winning with your everyday score of 14-11. Marlins led the game 8-0 early on but decided that it would be fun to give up 2-run home runs each passing inning to everyone on the Blue Jays roster. I don’t know how they got the win and how did I survived watching the game without a cardiac arrest.
Pablo Lopez sort of set the tone for the pitching side for series against the Orioles as he was in control in the first game of the series, coming up with 5 IP / 7 K / 2 H / 0 ER. Marlins ended up holding the Baltimore Orioles to a total of 24 scoreless innings in the first three games. They had guys like James Hoyt, Richard Bleier, Nick Vincent, Josh Smith, Justin Shafer making their debut in the organisation. These guys were out there making a point and fighting for their lives.
On prospect side, interesting debutants were also Sterling Sharp and Jorge Guzman. Guzman had a really rough outing, giving up two home runs on two hits. There are better days ahead for sure for the hard-throwing, right-hander even though that’s not quite the story you want to tell about your MLB debut.
On the batting side, there were anticipated MLB debuts for exciting prospects. Most anticipated was the true definition of swag, centre fielder Monte Harrison, who plays with four gold chains around his neck because, of course, he does. He had a rough debut, striking out three times in the first game but eventually got his first Major League later in the series. Monte is raw talent, and everybody thinks, or as he would say, knows, he will be ready.
In the season preview I talked about a feel-good story of Eddy Alvarez and Eddy the Jet came to the field with a bang on the defensive side making a couple of outrageous plays. Nothing seems to be normal when you talk about having a former Olympic speed skater playing second base on your team. His first RBI was by drawing a walk when the bases were loaded. He even stole home base against the Blue Jays when Jays catcher Danny Jansen decided to check a runner on second base while bases were loaded. Definition of a mental error.
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) August 9, 2020
Mike Trout has 1.115 OPS. Marlins’ third baseman and right fielder (Mattingly also thinks he is a first baseman) has 1.007 OPS. You’ve heard of Mike Trout but maybe not so much about Brian Anderson. He is leading the team with 13 RBI and 4 home runs. I wrote down simply on my notes: Brian Anderson is a God. He has the most common name on the planet but yet seems like nobody knows him. He has arrived, and I hope Marlins will get the deal done with him soon enough because his number is going up like the national debt. #PayBa should be trending.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 12, 2020
Veterans are carrying this team; the likes of Jesus Aguilar and Francisco Cervelli. Young guys are thrown into the fire, and it really can’t be easy when you are on the road for 23 days during a worldwide pandemic, but they are getting through this as a team.
Now Marlins finally get to play at home, and what it looks like, it will be sort of a season-defining series against the Atlanta Braves. The Marlins are on top of the NL East with an 8-4 record and are getting their players back from the COVID-19 injury list. It should be a few fun weeks ahead if they keep playing like there is no tomorrow. And why shouldn’t they; they just went through that.
Be safe and go Fish!
Tomi Korkeamaki is covering the Miami Marlins during 2020 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki