MIAMI -- The Marlins are using their final games of 2019 to further evaluate their young roster. On Saturday night, they did their part in trying to make the Nationals’ path to the playoffs more uncomfortable.
After Miami rallied in the eighth to force extra innings, Brian Dozier and Adam Eaton stroked RBI singles and Kurt Suzuki delivered a pinch-hit three-run double in a six-run 10th inning that lifted Washington to a 10-4 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
None of Miami’s starting outfielders on Saturday were on the team’s Opening Day roster. Yet, they each contributed in their own way to send the game into extra innings.
“We get some big hits and were able to keep grabbing that momentum,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the four-run eighth that set up extra innings. “We had some good at-bats in there. Miggy [Rojas] gets it going [with a double]. Harold gets a big hit. Obviously, Dean's hit breaks it open. We were at least able to rally back and get that tied.”
“I'm proud of my arm,” Sierra said through an interpreter. “I feel it's a tool I have that can help me out.”
According to Statcast, Sierra’s throw to the plate that nabbed Cabrera was 96.2 mph, making it the Marlins’ second-hardest thrown outfield assist of the season. Brian Anderson on Aug. 3 had an assist clocked at 97.1 mph.
“You see him [at first], you don't realize how good he throws,” Mattingly said. “It's another weapon that you don't really quite see with all of our guys. Obviously, [Lewis] Brinson can throw, and when [Anderson]'s out there. With Mags, he's got a chance to do some things with that arm that a lot of guys can't do.”
By prevailing in extras, the Nationals maintained their one game lead on the Brewers for the top National League Wild Card spot.
For the Marlins, it was another tough loss to their NL East rival, who improved to 15-3 in the season series with one game to go.
From a wider perspective, Miami understands where it stands in its building process. Right now, the youthful squad embraces a chance to spoil some division rivals’ postseason aspirations.
Despite its 53-101 record, Miami remains committed to its process.
On Friday, chief executive officer Derek Jeter announced that Mattingly had been signed to a two-year extension.
With no further speculation about Mattingly’s status, the focus reverts back to evaluating the players who are getting opportunities while playing out the season.
Sierra, who had his struggles in limited big league time a year ago, is aiming to make the best of his September chances this time around.
“I see this season better than my previous one,” Sierra said. “Every time I get a chance, I try to take advantage as much as I can.”