Miami Marlins’ Isan Diaz excited for MLB opportunity
Isan Diaz experienced a massive swing of emotions in a matter of about 15 minutes Sunday and went through his latest patch of major-league growing pains in the process.
The Miami Marlins’ rookie second baseman went from giving the Marlins a lead with his bat to giving it up with his glove in the final two innings of the Marlins’ 7-6, 10-inning, walk-off loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
“Just got to learn from it,” said Diaz. “There are certain things where you go through the game and take it in and take it for what it is. Just move on.”
The Marlins’ hope now, as they prepare to start a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday to close out this road trip, is that Diaz takes the miscues in stride and learns from them as his MLB career continues.
Diaz has stayed level-headed after belting out a solo home run against New York Mets ace and reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom in his MLB debut two weeks ago. They anticipate the same will be true here as he builds himself back up from a costly mistake.
“We’ll make sure we talk with him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It is something that I think will help him. You don’t want to have to have that lesson. I learned that lesson the same way. It’s not an easy one to swallow but you do come out on the other side of it.”
Diaz, 23, started off with a high in the top of the ninth. His sacrifice fly to center field scored Lewis Brinson from third at the time served as the go-ahead run in an eventual three-run inning that gave Miami a 6-4 lead.
But Diaz couldn’t cleanly field a Tony Wolters groundball with a runner on first and one out in the bottom half of the inning. What could have been a game-ending double play turned into runners on first and third with one out. The Rockies tied the game shortly afterward on a Charlie Blackmon’s RBI single and Trevor Story’s sacrifice fly.
“I was really just trying to get an out,” said Diaz, the Marlins’ No. 5 prospect and the No. 84 overall prospect in baseball according to MLBPipeline. “I was just a little too quick, took my eyes off the ball a little too fast. The thing is to catch the ball first. Didn’t do that tonight.”
His second error of the game manifested in the 10th. With a runner on first and no outs, Diaz couldn’t cleanly field a slow rolling ground ball from Raimel Tapia. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, Garrett Hampson hit a walk-off single to left field to end the game.
“I just have to continue to work hard and get better and try to focus more during those plays,” Diaz said.
Sunday marked Diaz’s second game where rookie mistakes came back to haunt the Marlins. The first came in their 5-4, series finale loss against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 11 at Marlins Park.
Down a run going into the bottom of the ninth, Diaz hit a leadoff single when a popup fell in shallow right field with Ronald Acuna Jr. playing deep. Diaz did not anticipate the ball dropping for a base hit and was a few steps past the first-base bag following an aggressive turn. Acuna scooped up the ball and threw to first baseman Freddie Freeman, who tagged Diaz as he tried to dive back to the base.
Shortstop Miguel Rojas consoled him in the clubhouse after the loss to the Braves.
Starlin Castro took the onus Sunday.
“Those guys will take care of him out there,” Mattingly said. “We’ll make sure he keeps everything in perspective. That can happen to anyone out there. That first one, obviously, is one he would love to have back. He had a chance for two, probably felt like that. The little roller [in the 10th] is a tougher play for me, but once that happens, it’s like I don’t care what anybody says, the next one is a rough one. He’ll be fine.”