The Miami Marlins’ final memory of Marlins Park from the first season under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter will be a positive one.
Behind a dominant pitching performance from starter Trevor Richards, the Marlins (62-93) cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds (66-91) in their home finale Sunday afternoon. Richards allowed three hits and struck out nine in seven innings.
The other memories of Marlins park from this season? Not as positive.
The Marlins’ home schedule included a 38-43 record at Marlins Park, which is their worst home record since finishing 36-45 in a 100-loss season in 2013. But Miami did post a 28-25 record over its final 53 home games this year.
The home schedule also included a total home attendance of 811,104 that averages out to 10,014 per game. It marks the lowest home attendance among all major league teams this season and the lowest average attendance figure by any MLB team since the 2004 Montreal Expos.
Although that seems like a big drop from last season’s total home attendance of 1.6 million, the Miami Herald reported in January that the actual number of paid tickets was about 820,000 last year.
This season’s Marlins attendance number is closer to reality, as the team began only counting actual tickets sold in their calculations.
“Obviously, we would like to fill it up every day, to be honest with you,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said when asked about the final home attendance figures. “But I know it’s the first year of what we’re doing. A lot of new people and a lot of new things that we’re doing at the ballpark.”
There were positives from Sunday’s home finale, though.
The victory basically ruled out a 100-loss season. With the Marlins now at 62 wins, 100 losses seems very unlikely and it could be mathematically impossible if they end up playing 161 games -- their contest against the Pirates that was rained out in Pittsburgh on Sept. 9 is unlikely to be made up.
The only two Marlins teams that have lost as many as 100 games are the 1998 post-World Series outfit that went 54-108 and the 2013 team that finished 62-100.
While the Marlins played their final home game of the season on Sunday, catcher J.T. Realmuto’s final action at Marlins Park came Saturday as he was given the day off in the series finale against the Reds. But Realmuto’s replacement was one of the game’s stars.
Catcher Chad Wallach crushed a three-run homer over the left-center field wall -- his first major-league home run -- to cap off a four-run third inning and push the Marlins to an early 4-0 lead.
Wallach finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
“It was a blast,” Wallach said of his first home run. “I think when it actually went out, I kind of blacked out and I was just running around the bases. I didn’t know what was going on, but it was a good feeling.”
The Marlins added two runs in the fifth with the help of a wild pitch from Reds pitcher Sal Romano that scored Brian Anderson and an RBI single from Magneuris Sierra.
The Marlins clinched the four-game series win over the Reds on Sunday and now hit the road for a six-game trip to close their season.
“You’re still five under [.500.],” Mattingly said when asked if there’s any positives to be taken from the Marlins’ close-to-.500 home record. “It’s hard to put a qualification on that. I just think no matter what, we knew what we were kind of embarking on this year with a lot of the changes and the new direction of the club under new ownership. So you understand all that, but still losses add up and those are hard to deal with.
“But I’ve been proud of the guys. I feel like they’ve continued to play hard, continued to give you the effort. That’s not easy to do when you’re taking a lot of losses on the chin.”