Three key numbers behind Miami's 0-6 start

April 3rd, 2024

MIAMI – Unfortunately for Marlins left-hander , he’s no stranger to opening a season 0-6. Luzardo was a member of the 2021 A’s that were also winless over their first six games before rattling off victories in 14 of their next 15. Oakland would finish with 86 wins but just miss out on the postseason.

All of this is to say Luzardo knows things can turn in the right direction for the Marlins, who fell to the Angels 3-1 on Tuesday night at loanDepot park.

“I was just thinking of that,” said Luzardo, who allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings. “Obviously it's frustrating, but it's a long season, and teams go through streaks. I think we lost [eight] in a row last year at some point. It just sucks that we started off the season this way. There's always a way to bounce back, and I think we will. I know we will. It's just more of we have to get going. You've got to see that first win in the win column. But like I said, it's frustrating that it hasn't come yet.”

Below are some numbers that stand out from the six-game skid, Miami’s longest since dropping eight in a row following last summer’s All-Star break.

13.2 percent walk rate by Marlins pitchers
A big reason for the staff’s early-season troubles is their inability to throw strikes. This number would be higher if not for Luzardo and right-hander Bryan Hoeing’s effort (three combined walks) on Tuesday.

Luzardo permitted just an Aaron Hicks solo homer through five innings, but five of the final six batters to put the ball in play did so with an exit velocity of at least 91.6 mph, including three over 100 mph.

“Even last year, I felt like that's something that I took a lot of pride in,” Luzardo said. “Like I said, it's frustrating that today I wasn't able to be the stopper. I think it's all of our jobs, but at the end of the day, being the No. 1 guy leading us off, that is my job. And that's why it's a little extra frustrating today. I wasn't able to stop the bleeding.”

51.6 percent ground-ball rate
Left-hander Tyler Anderson was efficient across seven scoreless innings, needing only 83 pitches (59 strikes) in large part because of the Marlins’ aggression. Across a four-batter stretch spanning the sixth and seventh, Josh Bell, Jake Burger, Bryan De La Cruz and Jazz Chisholm Jr. were retired on four total pitches. Anderson tallied eight groundouts and six flyouts.

Miami entered Tuesday with the highest ground-ball rate in the Majors. This is nothing new, as the club recorded a 56.8 percent rate with eight double plays -- both most in the league -- through five games in 2023.

In the ninth following De La Cruz’s homer off Luis García, Chisholm walked to bring the tying run to the plate. He advanced to second on Tim Anderson’s groundout and wound up at third on a wild pitch, but pinch-hitter Jesús Sánchez struck out swinging to end the game.

“Everybody wants to have that one big hit, and that's what's really getting us in trouble, and we understand that,” said Tim Anderson, who picked up his second multi-hit game as a Marlin. “So we just get back at it and come up with a better plan and come up with a better approach.”

.237 average with runners in scoring position
The league average is around .275 at the moment, to put things into perspective. There weren’t many opportunities (0-for-6) unlike the previous five games, but the club’s best chance was wasted by just the second out on the bases.

With one out in the second, Chisholm walked and Anderson singled before bolting on a double-steal attempt. When Avisaíl García sent a ball in the air to center, Chisholm didn’t touch third base going back to second and was thrown out for the inning-ending double play.

“We kind of had a tip there,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “I know it's a changeup probably in the middle of the plate that Avi took a good swing on, but with the play right in front of you, it's second/third one out. Who knows what they would have done defensively? Who knows if we get them in? But second and third, it looked like they had the bag there. Other than that, you have a game plan, you attack it, and then see what happens, and we just didn't have enough consecutive at-bats to put anything together.”