“Every game down the stretch is important.” As sick as you may be of hearing that sentiment, it carries more meaning to the Miami Marlins with each passing day.
Their 6-1 victory on Sunday clinched the series against the probable NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers. Suffice to say winning any series is huge, but winning a series against a team after they erupted for 16 runs in their opening salvo on Friday and doing so in the midst of Wild Card chase ought to be especially satisfying for Marlins fans.
Edward Cabrera provided the club with another strong outing, allowing just one run over five-plus innings, striking five and walking two to pick up his seventh win of the season. The recent success of Cabrera, who spent time at AAA following a demotion earlier this year, serves as a much-needed shot in the arm for a club coping with the losses of reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara and rookie phenom Eury Pérez.
“We’ve talked about next man up for a majority of the year,” said Skip Schumaker. “We’ve had a lot of injuries…It tests your depth, it tests your staff’s belief in guys, and I think there’s leadership in that clubhouse that allows us to get where we’re at.”
One of those leaders in question, longest active tenured position player Jon Berti, proved a vital part of the Miami effort, swatting two home runs in the victory. Berti’s second of the day came on the heels of a 13-pitch at-bat that saw him foul off seven different Julio Teheran offerings before going opposite field to secure the second multi-home run game of his career.
Josh Bell factored into the winning effort thanks to reaching base four times on the strength of three hits and his 11th home run since joining the Marlins. In 48 games since coming over from Cleveland, Bell has seen his season OPS go from .701 to .748.
The bullpen provided four scoreless innings of relief of Cabrera, highlighted by recently claimed Matt Moore bailing Cabrera out of a two-on, no-out jam in the top of the sixth.
The apex of the Marlins bullpen performance Sunday came when Tanner Scott shut the door by recording his 99th, 100th and 101st strikeouts of the season.
With six games to go and everything to lose, the Marlins will go through the Mets and Pirates in order to determine whether they will be playing playoff baseball here in 2023.
- Xavier Edwards, starting at 2B in place of Luis Arraez, collected his first career three-hit game in the victory.
- Miami’s win, their 81st of the 2023 season, clinched their first full non-losing season since 2009.
- Finishing the home schedule with 46 wins, the 2023 Marlins finished tied with the 2001 and 2002 squads for third-most such victories in franchise history.
- Scott joins just Kyle Barraclough (2016) as the only other Marlins reliever to strike out 100 or more batters in a season (David Phelps collected 114 strikeouts in 2019, though 32 of those came across 5 starts).
Monday will make for the Marlins’ last off-day before embarking on a six-game road trip to conclude the regular season. When play resumes Tuesday, Miami opens up in Citi Field to take on the New York Mets.
Braxton Garrett (9-6, 3.53 ERA) will vie for his 10th win of the season in what could be his ultimate outing here in 2023. Garrett turned in six innings of one-run ball in his last outing against New York on Sept. 19 in Miami’s only win of that series.
The Mets will go finesse-on-finesse, as Joey Lucchesi (3-0, 2.88 ERA) is set to take the hill in Tuesday’s 7:10 opener.
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