MO2 overview: Citrus Series Game 1 breakdown, Rays blank Miami 1-0

MO2 overview: Citrus Series Game 1 breakdown, Rays blank Miami 1-0


Man On Second Baseball breaks down the Tampa Bay Rays’ 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Opening Day. These teams can pitch and field, and an Austin Meadows homer was the difference

By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd

MIAMI — For the most part, this is what it’s going to look like.

Strong starting pitching and defense, and timely hitting. That’s the formula the Miami Marlins will be following because they lack an explosive lineup. Their challenge is a tough one right now, because the Tampa Bay Rays can beat you in so many ways.

They can pitch, make the plays in the field, and mix-and-match their bullpen.

The reigning American League champions did just that on Opening Day on Thursday at newly renamed loanDepot park, the home of the Miami Marlins.

Austin Meadows’ home run off Yimi Garcia in the eighth inning was the lone run of the game in the Rays’ 1-0 victory in front of 7,062 socially distanced fans. (Yes, it’s nice to once again mention attendance in a story).

MO2 provides the meaningful details.

Starters: If you were looking for loads of offense, you were disappointed, but you shouldn’t have been surprised. Miami’s Sandy Alcantara and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow are tough to score off.

Alcantara: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 7 ks, 2 BBs, 1 HBP (83 pitches, 52 strikes)

Alcantara was good, not great. We preface that because the bar has risen for Miami’s 25-year-old ace. When you are the ace, that alone raises expectations.

Alcantara got into first-inning trouble, loading the bases on a with a two-out hit, walk and hit batter, before he struck out Kevin Kiermaier.

Alcantara throws a lot of sinkers, which tend to drift in on right handers and way from lefties.

There were a number of deep counts, and after six innings, he was lifted.

Sandy Alcantara’s pitch chart (Baseball Savant)

“A little bit of spray today, but obviously, we’re getting picky, when he go six and don’t give up any runs,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Alcantara’s sinker topped at 98.2 mph, and his four-seamer at 98.7 mph.

Glasnow: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 Ks (77 pitches, 57 strikes)

Really good. Glasnow threw strikes, pounded the zone and his breaking pitchers were exceptional. There will be focus on his velocity, but his breaking pitchers were elite.

Glasnow’s fastball maxed at 100.6 mph, and averaged 97.9 mph.

Look at his graphic, and the amount of pitches in the zone.

Tyler Glasnow pitch chart (Baseball Savant)

Austin Meadows: In a game with very little offense, Meadows provided the only bit of thunder. The left-handed hitting outfielder’s homer off Garcia, per Statcast, traveled 419 feet with an exit velocity of 107.6 mph. That was the hardest hit ball of the game.

Warning Track: Jesus Aguilar, who had two hits for Miami, nearly tied it in the ninth off Diego Castillo. The Marlins first baseman drove the ball to the warning track in left field. Per Statcast, it was a 355-foot shot that was caught on the warning track.

Jazz Chisholm Jr.: Playing in his first MLB Opening Day, I thought Chisholm did just fine. He had quality at-bats, made good contact. Again, patience will be need as the 23-year-old grows into the job.

Setting up a rotation: How the Marlins divvy up playing time between Aguilar, Garrett Cooper and Adam Duvall will be closely watched. Cooper wasn’t in the starting lineup on Opening Day. Aguilar projects to get most of the work at first, but Cooper will certainly get his share of playing time. He pinch-hit in the eighth inning, facing Pete Fairbanks. Jorge Alfaro singled and stole second. It appeared Fairbanks was pitching around Cooper, with first base open. After running the count full, Cooper walked. Corey Dickerson’s fly out to center ended the inning.

Mattingly left Cooper in the game, and put him in right field. Duvall went to left field, and Dickerson was replaced. So you can see at least one scenario to rotate this players in and out of the lineup.

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