A Bananas Split in the Big Apple

In true 2023 Marlins fashion, the Fish followed up a blowout loss with a gutsy victory.

In New York on Wednesday, the Marlins recovered from a pummeling in game one with a rally in the ninth inning of game two to split a crucial doubleheader and take control of the third NL Wild Card spot.

How we got here

In an act that can only be described as negligent, the New York Mets grounds crew left the tarp off the field over a weekend that featured torrential downpours from a tropical storm. They then covered the already-saturated infield dirt at some point, either late Sunday or early Monday, expecting the rain to clear out of the area and the sun to shine long enough to dry the infield before the first game of the series on Tuesday. The rain did not stop until around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and the tarp was removed to reveal a completely unplayable infield. After attempting to dry the field with brute force for hours, the game was officially postponed at around 8:30.

This was a worst-case scenario for the Marlins, who were one game out of the NL Wild Card entering Tuesday and without most of their starting pitching length. Marlins officials were furious, as reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, and they had every right to be. Mets owner Steven Cohen issued an apology over Twitter X.

Game 1: MIA 2, NYM 11: It’s So Over.

Braxton Garrett was supposed to pitch Tuesday night, but got pushed back because of the aforementioned unplayable field conditions. Unfortunately, that delay seemed to throw off his mechanics and timing completely. He gave up two two-run home runs, one in the first and one in the third, and was not able to give the Marlins what they needed most: length. He left the game after four innings.

Braxton Garrett’s final line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 1 WP, 77/46 P/S.

It’s not ideal for what might end up being the last start of the season for Braxton Garrett. He may pitch on short rest on Sunday to close out the season if the Marlins haven’t yet clinched or been eliminated.

Steven Okert pitched a scoreless inning, and then JT Chargois and Enmanuel De Jesus combined for three innings, allowing a combined seven earned runs. On the offensive side, the Marlins only managed to plate two runs on nine hits and a New York error, which was not enough to overcome the eleven runs that the Mets had scored. (See? I can do math!)

Final Score: Marlins 2, Mets 11.
Time of game: 2 hours, 49 minutes

Now, onto game two…

Game 2: MIA 4, NYM 2: We Are So Back.

After a break that lasted 41 minutes and nine seconds, Kodai Senga delivered a first-pitch ball to Jon Berti to begin the nightcap of today’s twin bill. Three pitches later, the Marlins had a 1-0 lead because Jon Berti is apparently a power hitter now. 104.2 MPH, 31 deg, 406 ft. The first home run hit off of Senga’s “Ghost Fork.”

Johnny Cueto came out with guns blazing in the first inning but then allowed a game-tying homer to Francisco Lindor to lead off the second inning. Two innings later, Jesus Sanchez would give the Marlins another lead with a solo home run of his own off of Senga. 102.2 MPH, 25 deg, 382 ft. 2-1 Miami.

And then Francisco Lindor happened…again. His 30th HR of the season, putting him in the 30/30 club. Cueto got an out in the fourth, allowed a single, and handed the ball off to A.J. Puk, who came in and got five humongous outs to keep the game tied at two.

Cueto’s final line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 73/47 P/S.

It was a massive outing from Cueto, given the circumstances. The game remained tied all the way until the top of the ninth inning, with David Robertson striking out the side against his former team in the seventh and Matt Moore working around a double by Pete Alonso that was short of being a home run by less than a foot.

The Marlins had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning with Jake Burger at the plate and two outs. With a 1-2 count, Phil Bickford threw a fastball that missed the zone by at least a full ball width, and home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus called it strike three. Jake Burger threw his helmet down in frustration and was immediately ejected. Skip sprinted out of the dugout and was livid that one of his best hitters had just been ejected without having said a word in the umpire’s direction. Skip was subsequently ejected as well.

“It’s a very intense game,” Skip said afterwards. “It was a big high-level moment in our season, in the game. He threw his helmet down, gets tossed, didn’t ‘mother f’ anybody, didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, and gets tossed. By the way, he was right. It was a ball. So you know, that’s frustrating. Every pitch matters. Get it right. And if you get it wrong, it’s okay. But don’t don’t toss out one of our best players.”

Xavier Edwards continued causing havoc on the bases as he hit a leadoff single to begin the top of the ninth inning, stole second, went to third on an infield single by Jon Berti, and scored the eventual winning run on a fielding error by Brett Baty.

Bryan De La Cruz then drove in some insurance with an RBI single and to the shock of many, a loud “Let’s Go Marlins” chant erupted at Citi Field. Mets fans tried to boo it away, but the Fish fans persisted and won the battle and cheered until the night was over. Andrew Nardi came on to pitch the ninth inning with Tanner Scott back home in Miami, welcoming his first child to the world. With the news that the Cubs had just lost to the Braves, Nardi slammed the door, and the Marlins took control of the third NL Wild Card spot.

Final Score: Marlins 4, Mets 2.
Time of game: 2 hours, 51 minutes.
Total time of play today (1st pitch of game 1 to final out of game 2): 6 hours, 21 minutes.
Attendance: 24,966

Noah’s Notes and What’s Next

  • Jorge Soler did not play in the second game due to “right side discomfort.”
  • Josh Bell was removed from the game with “fastball-to-the-knee syndrome.” That’s not an official diagnosis, obviously. Skip said they took him out cause he was hobbling out there on the bases. He also mentioned how much of a warrior he was to stay in the game as long as he did.
  • For the first time since 2009, the Marlins are assured of finishing a full-length season with a winning record.
  • Rubber match on deck Thursday. Jesús Luzardo vs. David Peterson.
  • ‘Til Tmrw!

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

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