Veteran pickups 'want to win now' in Miami

August 25th, 2020

Upgrading a stagnant offense was the Marlins’ top offseason priority. So the organization brought in four veterans with proven track records on the field and sterling reputations in the clubhouse.

In a six-run fourth inning on Monday, the quartet showed they are much more than just mentors. , , and each recorded an RBI hit in the big inning that paved the way for Miami’s 11-8 victory over Washington at Nationals Park.

The four combined to go 11-for-22 with seven RBIs and five runs scored on the night.

“We're taking the mindset [that] we want to win now,” said Joyce, who went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and a run scored. “I think we have the right components. Obviously, we've got some guys who play key roles coming back soon. I think we have the right personnel.

“We’ve got the right guys to not only help turn this organization around and win, but provide the experience, the leadership and anything we can give the younger guys.”

With ample early support, , the club’s most dependable starter this year, gave up three unearned runs on six hits and two walks in five innings, lowering his ERA to 1.98.

The Nationals rallied late, with Adam Eaton belting a three-run homer off in the eighth inning to make it a three-run game. closed out the ninth for his sixth save.

By taking the series finale, the Marlins (12-11) won three of five against the defending World Series champions.

“They are world champions for a reason,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “They just keep playing, and keep coming, and grinding out at-bats.”

With a month in the books in the abbreviated 60-game season, the Marlins are a youthful team growing up in a hurry. The organization is loaded with talented prospects and big leaguers with only a few years of experience.

Villar was acquired in a trade with the Orioles. Aguilar was claimed off waivers from the Rays, while Dickerson (nine-game hitting streak) and Joyce were free-agent additions.

“They're professional hitters,” said Berti, who went 2-for-5 with a homer. “They've done it before. They showed it again tonight, and countless nights, that they can still do it. We really feed off that.”

In the six-run fourth, the Marlins sent 11 to the plate against Austin Voth, who didn’t make it through the inning. Villar jumped on a first-pitch 91.6 mph fastball for an RBI single. Joyce was aggressive on a first-pitch slider, chipping in with a two-run single. Javy Guerra entered and Aguilar greeted him with a two-run double that had an exit speed of 104 mph. Dickerson capped a five-pitch at-bat with another RBI single.

“Each guy is different,” Mattingly said. “Matty Joyce jumps the first pitch. 'Agui' gets his after a numerous-pitch at-bat. There's not going to be one set approach. It's going to be individual battles and approaches for each guy, for their swing and what they want to hit.”

A difference between the veterans the Marlins added this year from the past few is they’re here to help win now and not serve as much as mentors in the clubhouse.

“I take a lot of pride helping the younger guys,” Joyce said. “And obviously, we want to win, too.

“We have guys who are really talented. They're a little raw, but they're still learning. There is a learning curve when you're jumping that much into the big leagues. Obviously, we're doing everything we can to encourage them, and making sure they're staying positive and keeping the right mindset. We're taking that mindset that we're doing everything we can to win. This is a group effort.”