Mattingly's 282nd win most in Marlins history

August 7th, 2020

The Marlins keep finding ways to push forward, no matter what’s in front of them.

They pulled through an eight-day hiatus, when their season was paused due to a COVID-19 outbreak. And with a revamped roster, they completed a four-game sweep of the Orioles on Thursday night at Camden Yards.

Jesús Aguilar lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Brian Anderson delivered an RBI triple in a two-run seventh inning that lifted Miami to an 8-7 win over Baltimore in the series finale.

For all the adversity the Marlins have endured, a constant has been the steady presence of manager Don Mattingly. Miami improved to 6-1 this season, and in the process, the club handed Mattingly his 282nd win as Marlins manager, the most of any skipper in franchise history.

Jack McKeon, who served as manager from 2003-05 and in ‘11, collected 281 career wins.

“He brings a lot of presence,” said Marlins closer Brandon Kintzler, who logged the save. “It's Don Mattingly. You watched him from when you were a kid. The guy was gritty. That's what he brings. That's what I hope this team becomes, a gritty team.”

Mattingly joined the Marlins in 2016, and he went through the team's ownership change after the '17 season. The past two seasons, Miami has been building toward the future. So, even though his overall Marlins record is 282-371, he’s overseeing a cultural change.

“Hopefully, I've been through the worst of what we're going to go through, as far as getting through some stuff," Mattingly said. "Obviously, an ownership change and a build. So hopefully, we're on the other side of that."

For becoming the franchise’s all-time wins leader, Mattingly received a bottle of champagne from ownership. But he noted that due to health protocols, he will not be able to drink and share on the train ride from Baltimore to New York, where Miami opens a weekend series Friday against the Mets.

“A nice little bottle of bubbly for a train ride you're not allowed to eat or drink on,” Mattingly said. “You don't want to drink because you can spread the particles in the air. It was a nice gesture on behalf of the organization.”

As the organization was recognizing Mattingly for his milestone, the even-keeled manager deflected attention away from himself, noting that veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli has now achieved 10 years of MLB service time.

“So, it was a good night for us, we get the sweep and Cervy gets his 10 years,” Mattingly said. “It was nice. I don't worry about the personal stuff, I worry about the team and how we're doing.”

Jonathan Villar got things going with a leadoff home run off former Marlins left-hander Wade LeBlanc in the first inning. Villar’s drive to left came on the first pitch of the frame, and it was his first homer with Miami.

With the Orioles last year, Villar now has seven career leadoff home runs. It was the 14th time that a Marlins leadoff hitter homered on the first pitch, with the last being Dee Gordon on July 26, 2017.

“We are coming out to the field ready to play,” Villar said. “We were talking all the time in Spring Training, before the quarantine, we have young guys right here. We're talking about here, Aguilar, Cervelli, they said, ‘Don't worry, play the game.’ That's it. Don't be afraid to play. Go to the field, and go to play. That's what we're doing here right now.”

Monte Harrison, the Marlins' No. 10 prospect per MLB Pipeline, collected his first big league hit with an infield single in the sixth, adding his first stolen base later in the inning. Right-hander Jorge Guzman, Miami’s No. 24 prospect, made his MLB debut, allowing two solo homers over one inning.

After losing 105 games last year and finishing last in the National League East the past two seasons, the Marlins are starting to see the emergence of their young players and prospects, mixed in with veterans like Villar and Aguilar. They have matched their best seven-game start in club history, as they also started 6-1 in 1997, 2004 and '09.

“I feel like the whole organization is making that move forward,” Mattingly said. “We felt that in Spring Training. We felt that with our young players, and they're not even all here yet. It's an organizational thing.

“That's the only way you turn the culture around. That's what you feel is happening. It doesn't mean it's going to work out, but it feels good right now with what these guys are doing. They're playing hard, and they're having fun.”