MO2 Overview: Marte rib injury, Pablo fans nine, Marlins culture change
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
MIAMI — Marlins center fielder Starling Marte has been a constant all season, and the club’s best overall position player.
Now, Miami must cope being without its best player, at least for a little while.
On Monday, the team announced that an MRI revealed Marte has a non-displaced fracture in his 12th rib on the left side. The club added the 32-year-old will “refrain from activity for 5-7 days before being re-evaluated.”
The Marlins are off on Monday, and the transactions will be made official on Tuesday before they face the Baltimore Orioles at loanDepot park.
Marte will be headed to the injured list, and a corresponding move will be made. That likely will be recalling outfielder Lewis Brinson from the alternate training site in Jacksonville.
Marte exited Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Giants with two outs in the ninth inning after tweaking his left side during an at-bat.
The veteran outfielder experienced discomfort after fouling off side-arm reliever Tyler Rogers’ 81.7 mph four-seam fastball. On the second pitch, Marte took a 71.5 mph curveball for a ball. The Marlins dugout saw their standout center fielder reach for his side, and he was immediately tended to.
Taking no chances, Marte was replaced with a 1-1 count and Miami trailing by a run. Jorge Alfaro, Saturday’s walk-off hero after his two-out, two-run double in the 10th inning, replaced Marte and grounded sharply to short to end the game.
The Marlins took two of three in the series, and are now 7-8 on the season. The immediate concern is for Marte’s health.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” manager Don Mattingly said during the postgame Zoom call. “You don’t really replace that. We don’t have a replacement for that. … We’ll see what it looks like.”
The only Miami regular to start every game, Marte just might be the toughest position player on the team to replace.
“The one thing we didn’t want to do was have him take another swing, and do more damage,” Mattingly said following Sunday’s game. “We didn’t want him taking another swing at that point, and make it any worse.”
For the season, Marte has a slash line of .316/.420/.491 with two homers, two doubles, one triple and eight RBIs.
His 15 runs scored are tied for third most in the Majors.
Marte had one of three Marlins’ hits on Sunday in their series-finale setback.
The veteran outfielder delivered the game-tying run on Saturday in the ninth inning, setting up extra innings, and on Friday, his three-run homer in the eighth inning was the decisive shot.
Pablo fans nine: The changeup is Pablo Lopez’s out pitch, and the 25-year-old had it working on Sunday in his tough-luck loss.
According to statcast, of Lopez’s 101 pitches he threw the changeup 42 times, inducing 23 swings and 10 swinging strikes.
Lopez relies heavily on four-seam fastballs and changeups, mixing in an occasional sinker, curveball and cutter.
The nine strikeouts Lopez had on Sunday are a career high.
For the season, the right-hander has 25 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings.
Key on Sunday was Lopez gave Miami six innings. He’s now had two of his four starts be at least six innings, with his high of 6 2/3 innings on April 7.
Changing culture in Miami: Something is brewing in Miami and South Florida.
What’s changing, in the eyes of MO2, is perception. The image of the Marlins is changing. The market is starting to embrace what they’re seeing.
If perception is indeed reality, the gravitation of people towards embracing the Marlins is underway. You can tell by the excitement, be it at loanDepot park at on social media.
The Marlins weathered a rough 1-6 start, and are now 7-8 heading into Monday’s off day.
Getting the fans to buy in has been a longstanding challenge for the Marlins.
The announced crowd on Sunday was 6,129, with the park operating at 27 percent capacity. As more sections of the park open, attendance should continue to tick upwards.
For the first time in years, fans genuinely appear to be backing the Marlins.
Ownership under Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, the front office, overseen by GM Kim Ng, and manager Don Mattingly have put together an entertaining product.
South Florida baseball fans have been starved for meaningful baseball games. It’s only April, but the fans are showing late-season passion. They were loud and passionate throughout the series, with Saturday’s 7-6 walkoff victory in 10 innings on Jorge Alfaro’s two-run double with two outs.