Miami Marlins

A final look at the Marlins’ nine-game homestand before they hit the road for seven games

Miami Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson (15) tags out Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell (55) at third base in the fourth inning as the Miami Marlins host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park on Saturday, June 15, 2019.
Miami Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson (15) tags out Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell (55) at third base in the fourth inning as the Miami Marlins host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park on Saturday, June 15, 2019. adiaz@miamiherald.com

In simplest terms, this was not the homestand the Miami Marlins was looking for. The Marlins had nine home games in the span of 10 games, a trio of three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates while on a run of winning 13 of their previous 19 games.

They won two of those nine games at Marlins Park, picking up one win each against the Cardinals and Pirates while being swept by the Braves.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the series as the Marlins (25-44) now head on the road for seven games in as many days.

On-and-off offense

It’s almost becoming routine at this point. When it comes to the Marlins offense, they generally either have one big inning or the offense slumps from start to finish. The Marlins hit a respectable .243 (75 for 308) over the nine games but only had 26 runs to show for it. What’s more: 19 of those 75 hits — 25.3 percent — came in four of the 82 innings the Marlins went to the plate. The Marlins also only had 18 total extra-base hits over the nine games.

Their most balanced effort came in their 9-0 win against the Cardinals on Wednesday. The Marlins recorded 12 hits in that game and had four multi-hit innings.

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Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper (26) rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the second inning of an Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park in Miami on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. DAVID SANTIAGO dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Consistent Coop and Hitting Harold

And the Marlins’ offense has gone through its rough patches for the majority of the season, two players have been standing out as of late in Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez.

Cooper has safely reached base in 27 of the last 28 games, hitting .346 with two doubles, a triple, six home runs, 20 RBI and 24 runs scored in that span. He is on a nine-game hitting streak, inside of which included a stretch of five consecutive games with a hit in the first inning. He was a double short of hitting for the first cycle in Marlins’ franchise history during the team’s 9-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

Ramirez, meanwhile, has hits in all but seven of his 28 career MLB games since being called up on May 11. He has a team-best .328 batting average with eight doubles, two home run and 16 RBI. He had a pair of three-hit games during the homestand.

Double-play defense

The Marlins turned six double plays in their two wins and 13 over the nine-game homestand and made a host of other slick plays on ground balls and line drives to keep runs off the board. The Marlins entered Sunday tied with the Seattle Mariners for fourth in MLB with 70 double plays turned. Only the St. Louis Cardinals (73), Baltimore Orioles (71) and Colorado Rockies (71) had more.

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Miami Marlins relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) high fives Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly (8) after a double play ends the ninth inning as the Miami Marlins defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Al Diaz adiaz@miamiherald.com

Romo’s redemption

Sergio Romo received a pair of early Father’s Day presents on Saturday.

The first came pregame, when the Marlins closer had the chance to play catch with two of his sons and his father before the Marlins’ second game against the Pirates.

The second came in the ninth inning of that game, when Romo earned some much needed redemption. The veteran MLB reliever responded from his last outing — one in which he blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves in an eventual 7-6, 12-inning loss on the third day of the homestand — by converting a save in the Marlins’ 4-3 win over the Pirates to even the three-game series heading into Sunday’s finale.

“We’re taught short-term memory. I was given six days to sit on my last outing,” Romo said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow, but baseball’s a pretty awesome sport where it gives you chances. I was able to get one. ... I didn’t want [the team’s performance] to go to waste.”

But it wasn’t just the fact that Romo earned his 12th save of the year. It was how he did it.

In the midst of holding a one-run lead, Romo threw seven pitches to get the three outs in the ninth inning. All seven were strikes.

“I can honestly say I’m proud of myself because that’s a little more of myself,” Romo said. “I’m not talking about the results in regards to the outs or the results. I’m talking about it in terms of being able to attack the zone and make pitches with conviction and confidence. I was focused every pitch. I’ve got to learn from my mistakes and that’s a mistake I’ve made a couple times this year where I’ve lost a little bit of focus.”

His time on the mound started with a four-pitch groundout to Colin Moran before he gave up a single to Corey Dickerson. Undeterred, Romo threw a slider away to pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera, who hit the ball back to the pitcher’s mound. After the ball ricocheted off Romo’s knee, Romo turned around and threw the ball to Rojas, who quickly made the turn and completed the game-ending double play.

“He likes that adrenaline,” Mattingly said of Romo. “I thought that Atlanta game that he kind of threw some pitches that were uncharacteristic knowing that he had a four-run lead. In that one-run situation, he’s pretty good.”

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Miami Marlins pitcher Jordan Yamamoto (50) pitches during the second inning of an Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park in Miami on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. DAVID SANTIAGO dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Pitching depth

After using just five starting pitchers through the first 64 games of the season, the Marlins’ starting pitcher depth was tested in the middle of the nine-game series after both Caleb Smith (left-hip inflammation) and Jose Urena (herniated disc) were placed on the Injured List.

Elieser Hernandez and Jordan Yamamoto made starts in place of Smith and Urena, respectively, and held their own against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hernandez went 5 2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits while striking out seven. Yamamoto threw seven shutout innings on Wednesday in his MLB debut.

The duo will be the first two Marlins starters on the mound on the next road trip, with Hernandez starting on Monday against the Cardinals and Yamamoto following him on Tuesday.

Next up

The Marlins now head on the road for a week, playing four games in St. Louis starting on Monday and then traveling to Philadelphia for a three-game weekend series with the Phillies.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.
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