Arraez Collects 200th Hit But Marlins Drop Series Opener Against Mets 2-1


Photo by Tony Ozegovich

Miami, Florida – Holding on to the final Wild Card spot with a 78-72 record, the Miami Marlins entered a crucial three-game series against division rival, the New York Mets. The Marlins are coming off a rare series sweep against the Atlanta Braves, who own the best record in baseball. A feat they have not accomplished since 2015. The offense exploded for 36 runs and put up 16 in the series finale. With 12 games left in the season, every game has playoff intensity.

Miami had all the momentum going into the series against New York as the Mets are looking forward to next season after a midseason fire sale at the trade deadline. Nonetheless, there are still names in that lineup like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. With a 69-80 record, New York is no pushover and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind playing the role of spoilers after Miami did the same to them in 2007 and 2008.

Cabrera Stepped Up

Edward Cabrera started for the Marlins after his last two outings were solid relief appearances going at least four innings each time. Cabrera’s 2023 campaign has been a bit shaky. He’s had control issues all year and even had to be sent down to the minors to work on his command.

Against the Mets, it seemed like it was all coming together. In probably the most meaningful start in his young career, Cabrera delivered and more importantly only walked one batter. He reached the sixth and was pulled out of the game after getting one out in the frame but he did his job and more.

His only blemish of the evening was in the top of the fifth. After being shut out through the first four innings, the Mets had runners on first and second with one out. Mark Vientos lined a single to center field to give New York a 1-0 lead.

The Mets still had two runners on with one out but Cabrera buckled down. The right-hander escaped the jam and avoided further damage after getting a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Cabrera got the first out of the inning but with his pitch count nearing 100. Manager Skip Schumaker saw enough and decided to go to his bullpen. A.J. Puk came into the game inheriting a runner but escaped the jam to keep the score tied 1-1.

Arraez Date With History

There was not much to be excited about in this contest if you are a Marlins fan. Other than hoping for a victory, fans in attendance had the chance to see Luis Arraez reach the 200-hit mark this season. Going into the game with 199, Arraez did not wait long to make Marlins history. Leading off the game in the bottom of the first, Arraez lined a single up the middle.

He becomes the fourth player in franchise history to record 200 hits in a season and the last since Dee Gordon in 2017. The franchise record for hits in a single season is 221 held by Juan Pierre in 2004.

Arraez finished the game against New York with two hits to give him 201. With 12 games left in the season, Arraez needs to go on quite the run if he wants to pass Pierre’s record. It would be more impressive if Arraez did break the record since he would do it in fewer games. Pierre played in all 162 games while Arraez has the potential to play in 156.

Ran Out of Gas

As many expected, it would be difficult for Miami to maintain the offensive output from the Atlanta series. Starting pitcher for the Mets, Jose Butto, made sure of that. He pitched six innings of one-run ball and the Marlins’ lone run came in the fifth inning when Joey Wendle grounded into a 4-6-3 double play with runners on first and third.

Miami did not have many chances to score throughout the game, only recording five hits. The offense clearly went flat and the lack of run support came back to haunt them.

In the top of the ninth, Tanner Scott came in to pitch for Miami and he has been nothing short of sensational for the last month and a half. Scott has not given up an earned run since July 31 but unfortunately, he was due.

In the top of the ninth, Jeff McNeil led off the inning with a solo home run. Scott limited the damage to just the home run but that was the decisive blow for the game.

Fortunately, the Marlins still have a chance to win the series and keep their playoff hopes alive. There is still a lot left to be decided in the standings. But at least for the first time in a while, the Marlins are playing meaningful baseball in September.

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