Let the pennant push begin.
The Marlins made a couple of significant trades on Monday before the 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, and on the field they made a statement with an impressive comeback win against Jacob deGrom and the Mets.
Garrett Cooper and Brian Anderson each homered in Miami’s 5-3 win in the matinee at Citi Field, which was a makeup for Thursday’s postponement.
When it was revealed that the Marlins had to return to New York for a day, manager Don Mattingly and the players let it be known they weren’t happy. They also noted, however, that they couldn’t hang their heads and they had to show up and play.
“This trip was like the last straw-type thing,” Mattingly said. “You just get home off the road and you're going back to New York. You're packing up in two days. That was a sore spot, and that really could lead to a lot of complaining, but it's one of those things you have to get past.”
Now 15-15, the Marlins are in the thick of the playoff race with 30 games to go.
“For us to be able to do this, in this fashion, is a really good feeling for this team,” Mattingly said. “Now, we get back home and hopefully get something going.”
The one-day trip to New York was certainly eventful. It was supposed to be an off-day for the club, but it turned into a busy day for the team and the front office.
Second baseman Jonathan Villar was replaced in the top of the sixth inning, as he was traded to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later. According to reports, that player will be Griffin Conine, son of former Marlins great Jeff Conine.
Villar’s final moment wearing a Marlins uniform was one of the big plays in the game. He made a sprawling play in shallow center field to rob Wilson Ramos of a run-scoring hit. Jeff McNeil, who doubled to lead off the inning, was left stranded at third base. Jon Berti replaced Villar at second.
“It's funny, he makes that play, and during that inning, someone told me we have to take him out after this half,” Mattingly said. “Not that anything is official at that point, [but] I have to take him out after that play. I'm like, 'Great play, but now something must be going on.' He just shook his head, and that's it.”
The Marlins also traded for outfielder Starling Marte in exchange for left-hander Caleb Smith, rookie right-hander Humberto Mejía and a player to be named later.
The Marlins had lost four straight before rallying on Monday. There was a players’ meeting after Sunday’s 12-7 loss to the Rays, and the Trade Deadline was on everyone’s mind.
“Circumstances weren't ideal for us, but we came up here and took care of business,” Cooper said. “With the Trade Deadline and everything going on, I'm sure there were a lot of guys thinking, 'Am I going to be gone? Am I going to stay? What's going to happen?' It's part of baseball every year. The Trade Deadline comes around, and a bunch of moves are going to be made. You don't know if you're going to be here or not. It just speaks to the veterans here.”
As the wheeling and dealing was going on, Trevor Rogers (Miami's No. 9 prospect) went toe-to-toe with deGrom, who was making his fourth straight start against Miami. Both of Rogers’ big league starts have come against the Mets. This time around, the lefty gave up two runs with five strikeouts over five innings.
In six innings, deGrom allowed four runs, only one of which was earned, with nine strikeouts.
In Miami’s four-run sixth inning, Cooper crushed a home run that traveled a projected 451 feet with an exit velocity of 109.7 mph. First-base prospect Lewin Díaz also roped an RBI double, with an exit speed of 105.8 mph, in the inning. Miguel Rojas chipped in an RBI single and Jorge Alfaro lined an RBI double to cap the four-run rally.
“[Cooper’s homer] gets you a run against a guy you haven't been able to solve all year long,” Mattingly said. “It kind of opens the floodgates -- you're in a 2-1 game, you're starting to get a little confidence.”