MIA 6, CHW 5: Miami Magic

Strong Brax eventually aided by more late-game heroics as Miami captures series win.

The Miami Marlins have enjoyed more than their fair share of late-inning heroics and one-run game success in 2023. On Sunday, their indulgence continued.

As he’s done in the vast majority of his starts for the Marlins this season, Braxton Garrett shut down the opposition for the better part of 5 innings. His latest victim, the Chicago White Sox, were held to just 3 hits and a walk as Miami’s left-hander struck out 9 in his 5 1/3 innings of work.

Faced with the option of letting him pitch deep into the Chicago lineup a third time through or playing it safe and letting him leave on a high note, manager Skip Schumaker sided with the latter, and it’d come back to bite him. The duality of this decision can be attributed to Garrett’s apparent struggles in said situations (1.044 OPS in 42 PA facing the order a 3rd time entering play) while also wanting to see the 25-year-old pitch deeper into games. Yet, after just 82 pitches and Miami clinging to a 1-0 lead, out was Garrett and in came JT Chargois.

Immediate returns from Chargois were promising, as the former Tampa Bay Ray struck out his first hitter, Luis Robert Jr, but two-out doubles to Andrew Vaughn, Jake Burger and Miami-native Romy Gonzalez would make for a three-run bottom of the 6th for the South Siders.

Chicago would break the game wide open the following inning thanks to a two-run homer by the aforementioned Robert.

The Marlins entered the 8th trailing by 4 with all of 6 outs to play with. They’d get the most out of each and every one of them.

After being limited to just 1 run over 7 strong innings from Lucas Giolito (3.54 ERA), the Marlins would implement their next two ingredients to their winning formula.

Leading off the top of the 8th and already with a home run today, Jorge Soler authored his 3rd multi-home run game of the season to cut the deficit to three.

Two batters later, Garrett Cooper would make it three home runs for Miami, as he deposited his 7th of the season over the Guaranteed Rate Field center field wall. Chicago 5, Miami 3.

Bryan Hoeing would neutralize the Sox bats in the 8th, retiring the 5-7 spots in order to bridge the gap to the top of the 9th.

With first-year manager Pedro Grifol turning to his closer, Kendall Graveman, the owner of a 2.28 ERA before Sunday, something most Marlins felt was either inevitable or seemingly never to happen happened.

Sitting on a 1-2 slider that caught too much of upper-outside end of the plate, Jean Segura hit his first home run of the season off the left field foul pole. Chicago 5, Miami 4.

“Felt like we walked it off at that point with the way they were screaming, but we’re still down…but we don’t win those last two games without him,” said Schumaker.

Jonathan Davis would reach on a catcher’s interference that should have been the second out before Luis Arraez—who saw his average dip to .397 after a 1-for-5 day—flew out to the antagonist Robert.

And as is the nature of baseball, up came Jorge Soler. Miami trailing by 1, 9th inning, two outs. Working the count 3-1, Soler drew what he thought was a clear-cut ball 4, but home plate umpire Nate Tomlinson thought otherwise, signaling strike two to run the count full. Fortunately, for Soler, whose exchanges with Tomlinson following the pitch could have warranted a tossing, the Marlins DH would walk on the next pitch to set up first and second for Bryan De La Cruz.

One pitch later, the Marlins magical 2023 run would go to live on another day as De La Cruz sliced a single past third baseman Yoán Moncada to score the tying and go-ahead runs. Miami 6, Chicago 5.

Only needing 10 pitches to get through the 9th, A.J. Puk authored his 3rd consecutive outing since returning from the injured list to cement the 6-5 victory for the Marlins.

Of Note

  • Sunday marked the 72nd time in franchise history where the Marlins had hit at least 4 home runs in a single contest. Miami is now 61-11 in those games.
  • Miami’s most recent win made for their 20th such of the come-from-behind variety this season—only the Orioles (21) and Angels (21) have more.
  • The Marlins will enter play Monday 8 games over .500 for the first time since August 1, 2016, when they fell to 57-49 following a 5-0 loss to the senior Chicago team, the Cubs.

Looking Ahead

Miami will look to keep their positive momentum going as they venture out to the Pacific Northwest to begin a three-game series versus the Seattle Mariners. Manager Skip Schumaker will hand the ball to Jesús Luzardo (5-4, 3.79 ERA) in the series opener on Monday. Rookie Bryce Miller will pitch opposite of him for Seattle. First pitch is slated for 9:40 EST from T-Mobile Park.

3 responses to “MIA 6, CHW 5: Miami Magic”

  1. I’ll admit, I was not excepting this team to be at the position they’re in. Sure, this was an easy week, but the fact that we’re over .500 this late (granted we’re not half way) into the season is sort of sheer amazement.

  2. Thomas Joseph Avatar

    As the season deepens, I am experiencing a bit of deja vu. I watched the Nationals in 2019 almost daily with a friend who tried to convert me into a fan of the DC-based team. As a lifelong Expos fan, I simply could not do it, but the season turned out amazingly and improbably with the Nationals’ WS title. After May of 2019, soon after Fernando Rodney arrived fresh from a release in Oakland, a weird inevitability. Now, the Marlins are quite a different team – the Nationals were a veteran team. Still, the Nationals rode their pitching to the wild card and then one underdog playoff series win after another. Could the Marlins have a splash of that magic? I’m not convinced, but this is a lot of fun. Certainly, more than I ever thought it would be when the season started.

  3. Okay, okay. Let’s not get caught up in the fact we’re 8-1 in our last 9 games and took 2 of 3 from the White Sox and remind ourselves of some important facts.

    We struggled to even take the series against one of the worst teams in baseball. We could have very easily been swept by them. They were leading against us in the late innings in all 3 games. There is an alternate universe where us being swept could have happened. And that would have been embarrassing.

    Even the games against the A’s and Royals were problematic. Sandy couldn’t dominate against the A’s. The goddamn A’s. If he’s giving up 5 runs against the worst team in baseball with the worst offense in baseball, how is he going to perform against real contenders?

    There was also a Royals game we were losing in the late innings too, that we could have lost. This 8-1 stretch could have easily been 4-5. And it’s easy to lose sight of that when we’re on the type of roll we’re on now.

    They could have gone 4-5 against some of the worst teams in baseball. They didn’t dominate in more than half of these games. If this is their performance against the worst of the worst, imagine what they’re like when theyre pitted against the best of the best. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s moments like this where this is why I can’t buy this team’s success.

    If they can go 8-1 against the Braves, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, then they’ve got my attention. Until then, I will continue believing that this team’s highest upside is getting their asses kicked by a real contender in the Wild Card round.

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