MO2 overview: Marlins drop two straight games and consecutive series

MO2 overview: Marlins drop two straight games and consecutive series


After falling to the St. Louis Cardinals for the second straight night, the Miami Marlins have now lost their first two series of the season.

By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd

MIAMI — The Miami Marlins are a team that thrives on being the underdog, and feeds off momentum.

Now, five games into the season, the Marlins are struggling to hit their stride getting out of the blocks.

After dropping two of three to open the season to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Marlins have also lost two straight to the St. Louis Cardinals at loanDepot park.

The Marlins look to avoid a sweep on Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. ET. It won’t be easy because Miami draws a tough pitching assignment with St. Louis sending their ace, Jack Flaherty, to the mound.

Miami counters with a strong starter of its own, Pablo Lopez.

MO2 provides an overview of the first two games against the Cardinals.

RHP Sandy Alcantara, 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks:

Alcantara endured the hard-luck, 4-2 loss on Tuesday. The right-hander matched his career-high with 10 strikeouts. He previously fanned 10 at the Mets in late September, 2018.

On the attack, Alcantara was dominant for five innings, before the Cardinals chipped away in the sixth with two infield singles, and they pushed across three runs. Two were earned.

“Sandy was filthy,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said via Zoom. “He deserved better.”

If the Marlins are going to surprise teams and be a serious contender, they can’t waste quality Alcantara starts. The lanky right-hander has embraced the leadership role on the staff, and he’s delivered in his first two starts. Still, Miami has dropped both games.

What we liked about Alcantara’s start on Tuesday was he didn’t mess around. When he had chances to put a batter away, he went right after them. For good reason, his velocity also was up to 99 mph, with his fastest sinker thrown at 99.3 mph, per Statcast, and 99.2 mph with his four-seam fastball. Fifty-two of his 93 pitches were either fastballs or sinkers.

While the result didn’t go in Alcantara’s favor, the fact he logged six innings for the second straight start is encouraging.

Rotation depth is thin right now, and Alcantara is needed to pick up innings. He’s doing just that.

How they’re pitching Jazz:

The Cardinals had a plan for rookie Jazz Chisholm Jr.: Attack up in the zone. That’s demonstrated by the accompanying graphic. The Miami second baseman saw 14 pitches on Tuesday, with 10 pitches belt-high or higher. In the first inning, Cardinals right-hander John Gant struck out Chisholm on three straight pitches at the top of the zone. Even on Jazz’s sacrifice fly, catcher Yadier Molina set up at the top of the zone, but right-hander Ryan Helsley badly missed his spot. The pitch was down and in, and Chisholm laced for a sacrifice fly to left.

Wasted chances:

Missed opportunities were costly for the Marlins early in the game. St. Louis’ game plan, at least with Gant on the mound, was to pitch around certain batters. Garrett Cooper walked in each of his first three plate appearances. Starling Marte also was being pitched to closely. We’ll see if other teams pick up on this.

Some leftovers from Monday night’s 4-1 setback.

LHP Trevor Rogers, 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks:

It’s not how you start, but how you finish, right?

The pretty much sums up Trevor Rogers’ outing on Monday night, in a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals.

The first-inning was a rough one for Rogers, who threw 38 pitches. The 23-year-old left-hander got off to a jittery start, walking the first two batters he faced on eight straight balls.

St. Louis put up three runs off Rogers in the first. From that point, Rogers settled, and gave Miami three more innings, before handing the ball over to Jordan Holloway in the fifth inning.

Rogers received a mid-inning pep talk from manager Don Mattingly after the long first inning.

How did the conversation go?

” ‘Take a deep breath,’ and, ‘I think that there’s no way your year can get any worse from that inning,’ ” Mattingly said postgame during his Zoom call interview. “That was as bad as it gets in that first for him.”

Rogers appeared headed for a quick exit, but ended up giving Miami four innings on 77 pitches. So, after 38 pitches got the 23-year-old through the first inning, he covered the next three innings on 39 pitches.

The takeaway is Rogers was far better after his initial wildness. His four-seam fastball average for the night was 95.3 mph, and he touched 98, but that was out of the zone for a ball. He had a 54.2 percent swing-and-miss rate for his four-seamer, and 57.1 percent for his slider.

Rogers, a first-round pick in 2017, profiles as a No. 3 starter, which is very good.

Usually when the 6-foot-5, 217-pounder gets in trouble with control is when his mechanics are off. He was out of sorts mechanically in the first inning. Rogers has a tendency to throw across his body, which sometimes creates control issues. But his arm angle also creates deception, and his fastball explodes on hitters.

As long as he can keep his mechanics together, he is tough to hit.

RHP Jordan Holloway, 2 IP, 3 Ks:

Holloway made his presence felt, logging two innings of perfect relief on Monday night, working the fifth and sixth innings, logging three strikeouts.

But on Tuesday, with Cooper reinstated from vaccine-related symptoms, Holloway was optioned to the alternate training site in Jacksonville, Fla.

Holloway projects as an up-and-down reliever option, meaning his likely will spend the season bouncing up and down from the Minors to the big leagues. His season debut was encouraging for a number of reasons. His fastball maxed at 98.4 mph, and also was clocked at 98.2 mph. Both were called strikes, as he was able to locate down in the zone.

Holloway is an interesting prospect. He’s touched 100 mph as a starter, but he projects more as a reliever, where he can get by with a two-pitch mix, compared to three or four for starters.

Holloway’s secondary pitch on Monday was his slider, which he was able to drop over the plate for strikes.

If Holloway can refine those two pitches, he promises to be a big part of the club’s bullpen, perhaps later in the season.


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