DLC, Thompson shine, but Marlins fall in 10

September 5th, 2021

MIAMI -- The Marlins were held to a season-low-tying two hits while shortstop Miguel Rojas exited with left trapezius soreness in a 4-3 10-innings loss to the Phillies on Sunday afternoon. Miami still took two of three against the contending Phils at loanDepot park.

Here are storylines from the series finale:

Sloppy play
Though it didn’t go down as an error, Jesús Sánchez’s bobble on Odúbel Herrera’s grounder to right allowed Freddy Galvis to score the decisive run with two outs in the top of the 10th.

In Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field, Sánchez committed a fielding error on a similar ball he charged to allow Jeff McNeil to go from first to third on a Patrick Mazeika single. Dominic Smith followed with the go-ahead RBI knock.

The Marlins have committed at least one error in four straight games, with a total of seven during that span. 

“On a play like that, he's trying to come up and make a play, and he can't be cautious, he has to come and go get it,” manager Don Mattingly said. “... But he was trying to make plays in big spots, and you've got to go full speed. You're not going to make those plays being cautious.”

All he does is hit
Acquired from the Astros for reliever Yimi García, has been a pleasant surprise to open his big league career. De La Cruz wasn’t a Top 30 prospect in Houston’s system, but he continues to start on a daily basis thanks to his production at the plate and in the outfield.

De La Cruz went deep for the first time since Aug. 13 -- a span of 17 games (15 starts) -- to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth. His third career homer sailed over Andrew McCutchen’s glove in left-center field.

With the same score in the sixth, De La Cruz worked a full count after falling behind 0-2 and capped an eight-pitch at-bat with an RBI fielder’s choice. It marked the third multi-RBI game in 33 big league contests so far in his brief career. 

The 24-year-old batted fifth in the order -- the furthest up he has hit so far in his career. That makes his slash line of .336/.390/.477 even more impressive considering he has been hitting in the bottom part of the lineup.

“It's great to see him be up here and thriving, and he's fit right in,” GM Kim Ng said on Thursday. “We've purposely put him in center field just to get a look at him out there, and we now know that he can play all three outfield spots well, so I think that was a nice checkmark for him. And then to do what he's doing at the plate has been great.”

What a relief
Rookie right-hander , who began his Major League career in the rotation, appeared out of the bullpen twice over the weekend and didn't allow a run. 

In a pivotal sequence during the sixth inning of the series finale, Thompson permitted a leadoff double to J.T. Realmuto before NL MVP Award candidate Bryce Harper laid down a sacrifice bunt. Thompson then induced a pair of groundouts to keep the Phillies off the scoreboard in a 3-2 ballgame.

Earlier in the week, Mattingly said the 27-year-old would fill a John Curtiss-type relief role with Top 100 prospect Edward Cabrera joining the rotation. Since 2018, Thompson had pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the Minors. With Thompson rapidly approaching his career high in innings, this transition also protects his arm.  

Thompson has turned to his best pitch (cutter) more in these shorter outings -- including a season-high 50-percent clip on Sunday -- compared to his season average (33.9%). Thompson also seemed to rebound well with just one day in between appearances; the average velocity of his cutter (0.1 mph increase) and four-seam fastball (no change) didn’t dip.

“It's a chance for him to show what he does out of the 'pen,” Mattingly said. “I think we know his stuff is good. And again, let the organization make a decision which route they want to take next year.”