A strong return for Edward Cabrera is spoiled by Miami’s lack of capitalizing.
All of the positive momentum that the Marlins had working for them was largely absent out of the gate following the All-Star break. Losers of their first 4—including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles—the Fish seemed as if they were finally regressing to the mean of what their negative run differential suggested.
Luckily, the return of Edward Cabrera—making his first start since June 13th—served a much-needed, borderline-heroic sign for Miami. Through 5, shall we say, wildly dominant innings (issuing 4 walks), Cabrera limited the Cardinals—a team hitting .303 in their last 7 games—to just 1 hit.
And yet, as the yarn has been spun post-Midsummer Classic, Tuesday’s 5-2, 10-inning loss kept the team on a gradual downward trend. Losers of 5 in a row, Miami falls to 53-44, now trailing the Phillies by half a game for 2nd place in the NL East.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 6th, Cabrera, having thrown just 70 pitches and facing leadoff hitter Brendan Donovan, flipped a slider that caught too much of the plate. Donovan took it 388 feet to right field for his 11th home run of the season to tie the score at 1-1.
Though it would be the final dagger in his outing, Cabrera giving the Marlins 5-plus innings of 1-run, 2-hit ball means a lot given the recent demotion of Eury Pérez as the club looks to monitor his innings.
“I thought Cabby was great,” noted Skip Schumaker.
“For him to get 5 (innings) coming off injury was impressive…His command was off a little-bit…but the slider and change up were good, and velocity was holding up. A healthy Cabrera is really what we need.”
It would only take the Fish another half-inning to regain the lead as Jorge Soler‘s 53rd RBI of the season would make it a 2-1 Miami lead in the top of the 7th. Important was the manufacturing of the team’s second run, as Jon Berti would essentially convert a single into a triple after stealing second and later advancing to third on a wild pitch. The Marlins 11 stolen bases in their past 40 games had been tied with Detroit for the fewest by any club, so this was a refreshing change of tactics.
Soler’s aforementioned run production would prove a downslope from there, as Miami failed to score in the 8th, 9th, and top of the 10th.
The club’s best opportunity to plate the potential go-ahead run came in the top of the 9th when Berti and Joey Wendle singles gave them 1st and 3rd and no outs. Luis Arraez uncharacteristically struck out for a second time in the ballgame. A recent 2-for-14 slump has seen his average dip to .376. Then, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Soler would see Berti tagged out at home plate for the second out. With two outs and 3 strikeouts already on the evening, Garrett Cooper flailed at a Jordan Hicks slider a good foot off the plate to secure his “golden sombrero” and thwart Miami’s chances of entering the bottom of the 9th up.
For the duration of the game, Miami went a collective 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
After a scoreless bottom half of the 9th from Husacar Brazoban, and after failing to score in the 10th despite an inherited runner, Schumaker turned to closer A.J. Puk to try and send the game to the 11th. While he managed to record two outs, a potential double play ball hit to third baseman Jean Segura could not be turned because of how Arraez was positioned particularly far to the right side of the infield.
That set up Nolan Arenado with runners on 1st and 3rd. For Arenado, who racked up 4 RBI in Monday’s series opener, his walk-off three-run home run gave St. Louis their 6th win in their last 8 contest, sealing a series victory of a Marlins team that took 3 of 4 in their recent July 3rd-6th series in Miami. In 26 plate appearances against Miami this season, Arenado has hit .409/.423/.909/1.332.
- Terrible 2’s: The 2023 Marlins became just the 24th team since 1901 to exceed 100 double plays grounded into in a club’s first 97 games. The 1990 Boston Red Sox fell victim to 115 twin killings to set the modern record.
- Luis Arraez snapped a stretch of 120 consecutive games with fewer than 2 strikeouts (dating back to his Minnesota tenure).
The Fish will bid adieu to the Cardinals in 2023 when they conclude the series on Wednesday. Sandy Alcantara (3-8, 4.64 ERA) will face his former team. Alcantara’s career 1.24 ERA against St. Louis is his lowest against any opponent (min. 5 GS). First pitch from Busch Stadium is slated for 2:15 EST.