Marlins secure winning mark, NL's No. 6 seed

September 28th, 2020

Having already stamped their postseason ticket, the Marlins on Sunday gave several of their regulars a day off. With shortstop Miguel Rojas out of the lineup, rookie was given an opportunity.

The 22-year-old made the most of it, delivering a two-run double and a solo home run in the Marlins’ 5-0 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Brian Anderson also connected on a homer, his team-leading 11th, and he finished the season with a club-high 38 RBIs.

The Marlins (31-29) wrapped up their 60-game regular season by securing the franchise’s first winning season since 2009. They guaranteed a non-losing season with a victory over the Yankees on Friday, which gave them second place in the National League East.

“I'm really proud of these guys and happy to have a winning record,” manager Don Mattingly said. “You like to win this last game and move forward with a winning record. But it wouldn't have changed today, no matter what happened.”

In the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in 2003, the No. 6 seed Marlins will face the third-seeded Cubs on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

“I like going to Wrigley,” Mattingly said. “It’s a great place to play. Chicago, obviously, is a great city. And it's funny, this is one of those years where you don't know a ton about guys yet. We haven't played anybody in the West. We haven't played anybody in the Central.

“To be honest with you, we haven't really paid much attention to anybody but our division, and what we're doing in the East. We have to dig in on those guys. We'll see where we are at.”

Miami has been a surprise team, reaching the playoffs a year after finishing in last place with a 57-105 record.

“Our goal is to win the postseason,” Anderson said. “As far as that goes, I don't think our job is done yet. I'm really proud of our guys for setting our goals and grinding each and every day.

“Going from a team that lost 100 games to a team that's going to the postseason, it's something I can't really describe. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.”

In many ways, Sunday was a fitting conclusion to the third playoff-bound season in franchise history. That’s because the Marlins received contributions from their established players, like Anderson, and promising rookies, like Chisholm.

Defensively, Chisholm made a terrific play on a short hop hit by Gary Sánchez in the fourth inning.

“Growing up as a kid, you always wanted to play in Yankee Stadium,” Chisholm said. “They're one of the biggest teams in baseball history, if not the biggest team in baseball history. It was really cool to perform like this today, but I've got to give all my support to my teammates.”

For Miami, the game had two scary moments.

José Ureña was struck by a line drive off the bat of DJ LeMahieu in the third inning, and he left the game with his right hand wrapped in a towel. According to Statcast, LeMahieu’s comeback liner was tracked at 103.9 mph.

Ureña, who threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, was going to be used as a bullpen option in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. Now, the 29-year-old who has been with the club since 2015 won’t be able to participate in what would have been his first playoff series.

And in the second inning, center fielder Starling Marte was hit on the brim of his helmet by Clarke Schmidt’s 94.6 mph fastball. The Marlins announced that he suffered a bruised left ear, which was caused by the helmet shifting on impact.

The Marlins are optimistic that Marte will be ready for the postseason.

Daniel Castano replaced Ureña and threw 6 1/3 shutout innings while collecting his first big league win.

Castano appeared in seven games as a rookie, posting a 3.03 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.

“Daniel is not getting all the attention of Sixto [Sánchez] and all the top prospect guys, but this guy has really thrown the ball well,” Mattingly said. “He's really shown himself all year long, and he’s a little bit of a surprise, honestly.”