Time for Marlins hitters to step up in must-win Game 2

Facing elimination on Wednesday night, the Marlins need more from playoff hero Jorge Soler and hot-hitting Jon Berti.

The Miami Marlins dropped Game 1 of the 2023 Wild Card Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Although Zack Wheeler pitched an amazing game, combining nasty stuff and command to carry a shutout into the seventh inning, the Marlins offense has to take responsibility for the poor quality of their at-bats. Otherwise, they could get quickly swept out of the MLB postseason.

Jorge Soler, who has been one of Miami’s best hitters this season, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts (all vs. Wheeler) in Tuesday’s loss. The 2021 World Series MVP entered the game with a career .292/.418/.692/1.110 slash line in the playoffs, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him against Philly’s pitchers.

In Soler’s first at-bat, he let a pitch down the middle get called for a strike three. His next strikeout in the fourth inning came from chasing a sinker that ran down and in.

Soler’s third at-bat of the game was by far the most frustrating one. He got ahead in the count 2-0, a rare opportunity against Wheeler who was pounding the strike zone all night. Soler ended up taking a strike one call and swinging at the next two pitches for his third strikeout of the night.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. also had a rough night at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. In the top of the fourth inning, with two outs and a runner on first, Chisholm squared to bunt for some reason, pulled the bat back and took a strike. He ended up striking out to end the inning and left the runner stranded.

Jazz did have the Marlins’ top defensive moment of the game, throwing Nick Castellanos out at home in the bottom of that inning to save a run. That being said, if he’s going to continue to bat in the middle of Miami’s lineup, he’ll need to contribute with the bat as well and back up his own words about embracing the spotlight of the postseason.

Like Soler, Jon Berti struck out three times. It was uncharacteristic for Berti, who had only two other three-strikeout games during the regular season. In September, he was the hottest hitter on the Marlins.

Needing to win Game 2, the Marlins will go up against Aaron Nola. As Alex Carr explained during Fish On First LIVE, it’s difficult to know what to expect from the veteran right-hander coming off a disappointing season. Nola has had the edge historically against Chisholm and Josh Bell, but Soler has been solid in their past matchups while Berti has done even better.

The Marlins lineup should be pretty much the same as Game 1. Braxton Garrett takes the mound for Miami in what will be his first career postseason start.

The game will once again begin at 8:08 p.m. on ESPN at Citizens Bank Park. Isaac Azout and Noah Berger are on site for Fish On First covering all of the action.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

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