Bryan De La Cruz goes 4-for-4 in Marlins win

Photo by Tony Ozegovich


Miami, Florida – After going hitless the first two games of the series, Bryan De La Cruz swung the hot bat, a triple short of the cycle in Miami’s 7-3 victory. With his 10th home run of the year, DLC also scored twice, reinforcing a strong start from Jesús Luzardo. The southpaw tossed six and a third giving up two runs on four hits. Luzardo fanned nine with his lone blemish being the Edmundo Sosa homer in the fifth inning.

Speaking of, all three of Miami’s outfielders went yard Sunday afternoon including Dane Myers blasting his first career round-tripper. Myers also showed some fancy footwork evading a double play in the seventh. Ironically, Luis Arraez was the only Marlin to not get a hit in today’s contest dropping his batting average to .383 for the season. With the win, the Fish complete the first half of the 2023 campaign going 53-39 including a 21-6 record in one-run games. Their run differential has improved to -5.

Making it rain

With two outs, De La Cruz doubled in the first. Jesus Sanchez gifted the Marlins the early 2-0 lead with his ninth bomb of the season. Miami kept going with the long ball hammering two more in the third. Myers blasted his first MLB homer to right field hugging the foul pole while Bryan De La Cruz took Philly’s starter Aaron Nola deep to AutoNation Alley. Jean Segura, who is off to a great start in July hitting .344, lined an RBI single capping off a three-run inning making it 5-0.

Philadelphia responded with some lumber of their own. Sosa smashed Luzardo’s changeup deep to left putting the Phillies on the board. De La Cruz extended the team’s lead with an RBI single in the seventh driving in Myers. Things got chippy during the inning when Luzardo hit Bryson Stott causing some chirping from both sides. Coach Skip Schumaker came out in support of his pitcher, opting to bring in the bullpen. JT Chargois took over with two quick pitches inducing a rally-killing double play.

Joey Wendle doubled on a line drive to left field at the bottom of the eighth but Brandon Marsh gunned down Segura at home denying the Fish a run. No matter, Nick Fortes poked one up the middle and brought Wendle across. Dylan Floro ran into some trouble in the ninth walking Alec Bohm before giving up a single to J.T. Realmuto. With runners at the corners, Bohm scored on the Bryson Stott ground out. Floro regained control retiring Darick Hall with a grounder to Wendle.

Impressions

The last time Luzardo pitched against Philly was earlier in the season on April 11th. Back then he went six deep allowing eight hits and three runs, all of them earned. He also gave up a home run striking out five. In a clear improvement from that distant outing, the lefty was aggressive against opposing hitters getting ahead in the count in many cases. He was getting those quick outs too, particularly in the early stages of the game.

Heading into today’s bout De La Cruz had a very quiet series going 0-for-8 with three strikeouts. DLC quickly turned it around playing a big role in the win. He’s hitting .279 with a .754 OPS making solid contributions. These weren’t the only guys. Both Segura and Myers went 2-for-4 scratching a run. We also can’t forget Sanchez blasting an early lead. It’s amazing to think just three weeks ago their run differential was -24. Schumaker is very pleased with the starting pitching and is pretty comfortable with the bullpen. If the ballclub can acquire at least another bat the Marlins can make an exciting push for the postseason.

Awards for the first half

Now that we’re in the All-Star Break, it’s time for some midseason awards.

MVP – Luis Arraez

With a chance to be the first player since Ted Williams to hit .400 in a season, Arraez has been a machine driving Miami’s offense. There’s no other choice.

Team Cy Young – Eury Pérez

This might be a surprising pick for some but in his small sample size, Eury has been amazing. In 11 starts, Pérez went 5-3 with a 2.36 ERA fanning 61 in 53.1 innings of work. Not only that his FIP is 3.72 with a razor-sharp 1.088 WHIP. People called him the next José Fernández and it’s showing.

Best Reliever – Tanner Scott

There were a few who could’ve won this award but I settled with Scott. In 43 appearances this season, Tanner has been pretty reliable recording a 2.91 ERA, 2.25 FIP, and 1.085 WHIP in a smidge over 43 innings of work. With 64 punchouts the lefty rarely up the long ball and has been a great help.

Biggest Surprise – Jorge Soler

Let’s wind the clock back to the end of the 2022 season. Soler slashed a pitiful .207/.295/.400 consisting of 13 home runs and 34 RBIs. Now? Fans are experiencing some nice Soler power with the fella hitting .254 with a team-leading 23 home runs and 51 RBIs. I did not expect even a decent 2023 so this is a welcomed surprise. Soler could very well slug 35 (or more) homers before the end of the campaign.

Biggest Disappointment – Johnny Cueto

This was a close battle between Cueto and Segura but the former has only pitched ONE inning this year, this award definitely goes to him. Folks will say he’s been injured. Well, he wasn’t that good when he was briefly healthy during spring training and he’s being batted around with a bloated 10.24 ERA in the minors.

What if – Jean Segura

Can you imagine if Segura played more like his 2021-2022 self? The fanbase is catching a glimmer of it right now. Segura has been off to a great start in July hitting .344, if he can put together a couple of hot months the Marlins will benefit greatly.

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