Banged-up Marlins find a way in finale win

April 28th, 2021

Fish can swim. With the second leg of a three-city, 10-game trip done, the banged-up Marlins hope to prove they can tread water.

Jesús Aguilar homered for the fifth time in six games and Sandy Alcantara went a season-high seven innings in the Marlins' 6-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon at American Family Field. Miami took two of three in Milwaukee, but the injuries continue to pile up.

After placing their fourth regular since April 20 on the injured list, Marlins outfielders Corey Dickerson (mild discomfort in right groin) and Garrett Cooper (left foot soreness) were taken out in the bottom of the fourth inning. They are considered day to day.

Needless to say, Thursday’s off-day couldn’t come at a better time after a stretch of nine straight days with a game. Despite this, the Marlins (11-13) found themselves one game back in the National League East following the victory. They are the only club in the division with a positive run differential. Miami has gone 4-5 since Starling Marte was sidelined on April 20, marking the first of its series of injuries.

“I think I just refer to this time and this trip as really, ‘Every win we can get,’” manager Don Mattingly said. “We're kind of treading water, keeping ourselves going while we're in this little lull of injuries. It's going to be hopefully a short period of time. … We've got to just continue to get down the road and tread water and keep ourselves in the pack, and knowing that you still got a lot of baseball to be played.”

In case you needed a quick recap, these starting position players are sidelined:
• Center fielder Marte (left rib fracture)
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring strain)
• Third baseman Brian Anderson (left oblique strain)
• Second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. (left hamstring strain)

And the following made key plays in their stead in Wednesday’s win:
• Isan Díaz reached on an RBI obstruction error and walked twice.
• Lewis Brinson caught Travis Shaw’s sixth-inning lineout in left field, then fired a 95.5 mph throw home. Catcher Chad Wallach corralled the ball on the hop and tagged Daniel Vogelbach for the inning-ending double play. That is tied for the third-fastest tracked throw on an outfield assist in 2021.
• Wallach finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a game-high 109.2 mph exit velocity.
• Magneuris Sierra went 1-for-3 with one run.

Alcantara, the club’s Opening Day starter, picked up his first victory of the season in his sixth start. His lone blemish was Kolten Wong’s two-out, two-run homer in the third. Following Wednesday’s outing, the rotation ranks seventh with a 3.32 ERA despite missing Elieser Hernandez and top prospect Sixto Sánchez.

“I've just got to be the best all the time,” said Alcantara, who reached 100 mph on his four-seamer on Wednesday. “I've just got to be the No. 1 all the time. Every time I get an opportunity to get on the mound, do my job and throw a lot of innings. That's what I want, and finish strong and be healthy all the time. I think the mentality that I have right now is amazing. Just going to help my team any way I can and throw strikes.”

And like his ballclub, which opened the season with a 1-6 record, Aguilar has picked it up of late. It took him 59 at-bats to go deep in 2021. He now leads the Marlins with five homers and paces MLB with 22 RBIs after a strong showing in his return to Milwaukee.

"We got out of the gates a little slow," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said earlier Wednesday in Miami. "Whenever you do that, it stands out a little bit more because you haven't built up a foundation. Our guys have been battling. We've been dealing with some injuries, but that's something that every team deals with. There are other teams that have injuries as well. I like the fact we rely on our pitching, especially our starting pitching. I think they've done a great job. Some of the bats are starting to get going as well. It’s a long season for a reason, but hopefully we get some of our guys back sooner rather than later. Any time you go through a number of injuries we've gone through, it tests the organizational depth."