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Alfaro solid with 'play like it's your last' mentality

@JoeFrisaro
August 24, 2019

MIAMI -- If there is a player who exemplifies a “never give up” attitude on the Marlins, it’s catcher Jorge Alfaro. The 26-year-old on Saturday night had three hits, including a home run, in the Marlins’ 9-3 loss to the Phillies at Marlins Park. Facing his former team, Alfaro kept

MIAMI -- If there is a player who exemplifies a “never give up” attitude on the Marlins, it’s catcher Jorge Alfaro.

The 26-year-old on Saturday night had three hits, including a home run, in the Marlins’ 9-3 loss to the Phillies at Marlins Park.

Facing his former team, Alfaro kept pushing forward even after his team kept falling further behind. The Phillies broke the game open in the seventh inning on Corey Dickerson’s two-out, three-run double off Wei-Yin Chen.

Box score

“We're not going to make the playoffs, I know that,” Alfaro said. “It depends how hard you play and how strong you finish.”

The loss dropped Miami to 46-82, meaning the organization has now gone 10 straight years without a winning season since going 87-75 in 2009.

In the first two games of the Players’ Weekend series, Alfaro “El Oso” (the Bear) had six hits against his ex-team. He also continued his all-out hustle, running hard on the bases, even on routine plays.

“The way I think all the time is, I play like this is going to be my last game,” Alfaro said. “You never know when it's going to be your last game. So, you have to enjoy the game, and just play hard.”

Leading off the seventh, Alfaro blistered a home run to left off Mike Morin. Per Statcast, the drive was 111.9 mph off the bat, and the estimated distance was 383 feet. It was Alfaro’s 12th homer of the season.

“He smoked that ball,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It had to be one of those Statcast love affairs that got off the bat fast. But he's been swinging the bat good. It's good to see.”

The Marlins acquired Alfaro from the Phillies as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade in the offseason.

In his last seven games, Alfaro is hitting .360/.385/.520. And for the season, he’s hitting .266 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs.

“Jorge plays hard,” Mattingly said. “He likes to play. He plays hard. He's a physical kid, and you like the energy that he plays with.”

The Phillies broke the game open on Saturday with six runs in the fourth inning. Rookie right-hander Jordan Yamamoto threw 40 of his 90 pitches in that fourth frame, before being replaced by Tyler Kinley, who needed 22 pitches to get the third out.

Scott Kingery blasted a three-run homer off Yamamoto in the fourth inning.

“Not giving the team a chance,” Yamamoto said. “It's not even competitive. Giving up six runs, it's not even competitive. It's one of those things that just can't happen as a starting pitcher. Going 3 2/3 innings, it's not a good feeling to let your team down like that.”

The Marlins are using this season to help evaluate the players to build around, and Alfaro continues to lead by example and work ethic.

“Obviously, he has a little bit of confidence going at the plate,” Mattingly said. “It seems like when you get him out, he chases pitches. He's been putting the bat on the ball. When he puts the ball in play, he usually has a pretty good shot.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.