The Marlins could have and should have secured a series win against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon. On to Atlanta.
Trevor Rogers, who was making his third career major league start Sunday afternoon, impressed. The 22-year-old left-hander struck out a career-high 10 Tampa Bay hitters in six innings of work, tossing 100 pitches, too. Moments after taking a 4-3 lead in the 10th, however, Brandon Kintzler had a difficult time recording important outs. Brandon Lowe’s game-winning, one-out sacrifice fly resulted in a 5-4 defeat in the Citrus Series finale.
This dropped the Marlins a game below the .500 spot yet again and finishing 2020 a head-scratching 1-5 against the American League East leaders.
Concluding Sunday’s loss, Kintzler had some pretty strong remarks on the new rule to start a runner on second base in extra innings: “I think it’s pretty stupid,” Kintzler said. Starling Marte, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks less than a week ago, belted a first-inning, two-run blast to straightaway center off Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow, giving the Marlins an early 2-0 advantage. Glasnow exited after punching out nine Miami hitters in 5.1 innings, surrendering three earned runs.
Rogers’ first two starts came against the New York Mets at Citi Field, but against one of the hottest teams in the American League and all of baseball, Rogers kept fighting despite allowing a career-worst three home runs, two to Randy Arozarena. Aside from Kintzler’s struggles, Miami’s bullpen was efficient, as both Brad Boxberger and Yimi García combined to throw three scoreless frames.
Meanwhile, an athletic catch by rookie Jazz Chisholm and a clutch go-ahead single by Matt Joyce in the top of the 10th went to waste.
Don Mattingly’s group is in a pennant race and each contest remains as crucial as ever. The Marlins will travel to Atlanta and open a three-game weekday series against the Atlanta Braves Monday afternoon, who currently hold a three-game lead in the National League East. José Ureña, Sixto Sánchez and Pablo López are Miami’s projected series starters.
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