After going nine days without seeing the field, the Marlins—or what’s left of them after the team’s recent roster overhaul—returned in style Tuesday night, improving to 3-1 for the year with a shutout victory over the Orioles. Playing with a host of new faces following their coronavirus outbreak (just five of Miami’s Opening Day starters suited up for this one), the Marlins cruised to a 4-0 win in Baltimore, propped up by five strong innings from Pablo Lopez and a pair of solo blasts courtesy of Jesus Aguilar and veteran backstop Francisco Cervelli.
Beating the Orioles—no one’s idea of a contender—isn’t as heavy a lift as say defeating the division-rival Braves or defending World Series champion Washington Nationals. But given the circumstances—a scraped-together roster and little to no practice time after spending the past week in quarantine—Tuesday’s win at Camden Yards was mighty impressive. The Marlins may have brought some of this on themselves—CEO Derek Jeter quickly copped to the team’s carelessness in following COVID protocols while vowing to improve in that area. But regardless of what led to Miami’s weeklong exile, Tuesday was certainly a testament to the team’s resilience amid so many moving parts.
It’s a small sample size to be sure, but Miami’s 3-1 start is probably better than most were expecting coming off a dismal, 57-win campaign in 2019. “We've just got to try to hold down the fort and get some guys back, survive this trip and see where we're at,” manager Don Mattingly told the Associated Press after Tuesday night’s triumph. “This one felt good. We've been through a lot."
Ain’t that the truth. To give you an idea of just how crazy things have been for the Marlins of late, last night’s scheduled 7:30 start was pushed back 41 minutes as Miami had to wait for the green light from MLB following the team’s latest test results. Luckily all came back negative, allowing Tuesday’s game to go on as planned.
Hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out for the Fish, who enter Wednesday’s action with a whopping 18 players out of commission. Even when the Marlins inevitably fall back to Earth, they’ll still lead the league in at least one category—roster transactions.
Welcome to 2020, everyone.