Miami Marlins

Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto hits two home runs, continues to make case for an All-Star nod

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, right, celebrates with Miguel Rojas, left, after a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, right, celebrates with Miguel Rojas, left, after a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

J.T. Realmuto hit two home runs in a game played Saturday at Oriole Park.

Those just added to the case he’s making to play in this year's All-Star Game that will be held roughly 40 miles down the road from there at Nationals Park next month.

Realmuto, who leads all National League catchers in multiple categories, drove in four of the Marlins' five runs in a 5-4 win over the Orioles. The Marlins (28-43) won their second straight and for the fifth time in their past six games.

"JT’s been great on both sides defensively and offensively calling the game, everything about him's been great," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Realmuto, who has yet to make an All-Star roster in his five-year career, isn’t among the top five catchers being voted by fans to next month’s All-Star Game.

But Realmuto has given plenty of reason to be considered.

Despite missing first three weeks of the season with a back bruise, Realmuto leads all qualifying major league catchers in batting average (.309), slugging percentage (.546), hits (60), runs (32), doubles (13), is tied for the lead in triples (3), and ranks second in on-base percentage (.369).

His nine home runs are second only to Yasmani Grandal’s 11 among NL catchers.

Realmuto recorded his second multi-homer game of the season and fourth of his career.

"He’s done a great job with his approach and I think that’s the biggest growth I’ve seen in two years," Mattingly said. "The growth of him game planning for himself on both sides of the ball honestly, there’s been huge growth there."

Realmuto said that while that attention to game planning and preparation has been huge for him, he has also tried to instill some of those habits in the Marlins' younger players this season.

"For me, it's more self understanding and also more understanding how to prepare and how you get ready on a daily basis," Realmuto said. "Just having guys in the past, kind of the older guys just show me the ropes. And now I can hopefully pass that on to the younger guys."

Realmuto, like most of the Marlins' lineup were aggressive early from the outset against Orioles starter Alex Cobb, and executed a good game plan, putting balls in play for hits early in pitch counts.

Realmuto’s first home run was a 404-foot drive over the center field wall that gave the Marlins a 4-0 lead in the third inning. His second was very similar traveling 405 feet to center field.

Both times Realmuto got a hold of 91.5 mph fastballs from Cobb, who pitched seven innings, but gave up five runs.

"I was just trying to see the ball up," Realmuto said. "Everything he throws moves pretty well, and moves down in the zone, so you've got to get him up and you've got to get him over the plate. Luckily I was able to get two good pitches to hit and put good swings on. "

Wei-Yin Chen made his first start at Oriole Park since leaving his former team to sign with the Marlins in 2016. Chen got into trouble in the third giving up four hits in the inning including a two-run single by Manny Machado that cut the Marlins’ lead to 4-2.

Chen, who also gave up a solo homer to Jonathan Schoop, lasted six innings for his second-longest start of the season. He allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked one.

The Orioles narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh when Tayron Guerrero gave up three consecutive singles to Adam Jones, Machado and Danny Valencia. Brad Ziegler navigated the Marlins out of the inning thanks to a great defensive play from Riddle on a grounder up the middle by Trey Mancini.

After Ziegler worked around a walk to Mark Trumbo to pitch a scoreless eighth, Drew Steckenrider shut the door for his second career save with help from a stellar double play turned by Starlin Castro at second just before Manny Machado flew out to deep center. Closer Kyle Barraclough was unavailable after pitching four of the past five days.


The Marlins held third baseman Miguel Rojas out of their lineup on Saturday as a precaution a day after he was hit on the left hand by a pitch in Friday night’s win over the Orioles. Rojas was diagnosed with a left hand contusion after getting hit by a 97 mph fastball from Kevin Gausman. Mattingly said Rojas should be ready to return to the starting lineup Sunday.

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