Sunday, May 1, 2022

Two MLB Franchises Miles Apart

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 

If there were ever two franchises so far apart in many ways, then the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners would meet that criteria.

If you drove from Miami to Seattle, the distance is 3,293.9 miles and it would take 49 hours to drive barring any complications.

Prior to this past weekends series at LoanDepot Park, the two teams have only met 15 times as Miami held an edge, 8-7.

The Mariners joined MLB in 1977 and began playing their home games in the now demolished Seattle Kingdome. They are on their second venue at T-Mobile Park.

The Marlins started at Joe Robbie Stadium and are currently in their second venue as well. Miami’s first season was in 1993.

If you’re looking for a post-season comparison between the two teams, then the appearances are somewhat similar but yet miles apart.

Seattle has made the post-season three times. They have won the AL West Division three times and have played once in the Wild Card. 

In 2001, Seattle set the AL record for wins with 116 but that wasn’t enough to get the Mariners to the World Series. Unfortunately for Seattle, the franchise hasn’t returned to the post-season since that memorable year. 

The man that piloted this squad was former Yankee Lou Piniella.

Moreover, the Mariners are one of six franchises to never win a World Series and are the only one to never appear in the Fall Classic.

As of 2021, the Mariners record was 3,336-3,727 with a .472 winning percentage. Seattle has finished with a losing record in 30 of 45 seasons.

As for the Marlins, their record through 2021 was 2,088-2,438 with a .461 winning percentage.

The Fish have made the post-season three times but have made the most of their October appearances. Also Miami has never won a division title, the team owns a 24-14 mark in the playoffs. Miami’s last appearance in the playoffs was in 2020. Their three wild card berths have led to a pair of World Series Championships in 1997 and 2003.

Without inter-league play, we wouldn’t be seeing these two teams play since Miami plays Spring Training Games in the Florida Grapefruit League and Seattle is in Arizona’s Cactus League.

These two teams last faced each other in 2017 in Seattle with the Mariners winning the series 2-1.

During opening weekend at LoanDepot Park, I asked Marlins Manager Don Mattingly on whether he thought there were too many division games. The skipper told me that he liked a lot of division games because it was easier to prepare for his opponent due to the familiarity factor.

What was interesting about this series with Seattle is the 2022 Season marked the first time that there has ever been a Universal DH for the 162-game schedule. The change is now permanent with the new collective bargaining agreement.

Going into the series with Seattle, Miami’s record vs the Mariners in South Florida is 4-2. The Fish were 1-2 at Joe Robbie Stadium and 3-0 at Marlins Park.

What transpired over the weekend?

On Friday Night, Elieser Hernandez pitched five strong innings, stuck out five and walked only one as his team defeated Seattle 8-6. Jorge Solar and Miguel Rojas supplied the power to lead the fish to their sixth straight win. Hernandez improved his record to 2-1.

Parkland native Jesus Luzardo took care of business by going his longest out of the season. Luzardo shut down the Mariners by going six innings and striking out five to improve his record to 2-1. He pitched a two-hitter and out dueled Mariners All-Star pitcher Robbie Ray (2-2). Brian Anderson provided the offense with two hits and scored a run.

The Marlins winning streak climbed to seven games as they looked to sweep the Mariners on Sunday by reaching eight.

You couldn’t ask for a better pitching matchup.

Seattle (11-10) 3rd in the AL West, sent Logan Gilbert to the hill. Gilbert was 3-0 with a .40 ERA, with 22 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched.

Miami (12-8) 2nd NL East had a stud of their own with Sandy Alcantara, who entered the contest with a 2-0 mark, 1.78 ERA, 20 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched.

Miami entered the game going 8-2 in the last 10 games with Seattle on a four-game road slide.

This has the makings of a good old fashioned pitchers duel.

Would it turn out that way?

Not particularly.

Gilbert had a good outing by pitching 5.2 innings and struck out five, throwing 102 pitches, 65 for strikes. 

The only mistake he made was giving up a home run to Anderson in the sixth inning.

Alcantara also pitched 5.2 innings, gave up six hits and five runs, but two of those were the result of home runs. Alcantara did register six strikeouts. He threw 103 pitches, 65 for strikes.

On pitch 103, Julio Rodriguez picked a good time to hit his first home run of the season. Alcantara was hoping to get out of a jam and Mattingly attempted to give his hurler that opportunity.

But it took one swing of the bat and the Mariners were up 5-0 in route to a 7-3 win.

In a game that took 3:22 to complete, the only statistic that mattered is they left 12 runners on base.

Alcantara’ s record dropped to 2-1 while Gilbert improved to 4-0.

Two streaks came to an end on Bark at the Park Day.

Miami’s seven game ended while Seattle’s road streak stopped at four.

The announced crowd was 16,741 and 232 dogs.

Five Marlins pitchers gave up 12 Seattle hits.

In addition to Rodriguez, JP Crawford was problematic for Miami as he reached base three times, collecting a double, home run and a walk. Jesse Winkler had a three hit afternoon.

The Marlins record dropped to 12-9 while Seattle improved to 12-10.

Who knows when we’ll see these two teams again, but the Marlins did win the series 2-1 as they host the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games. 

Ironically, both teams have had former Yankees players manage their teams. As for mentioned, Piniella and Don Mattingly.

After the D-Back series, they’ll  travel to the West Coast and a visit to San Diego to face the Padres next weekend.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

To see his broadcasts, Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel at no charge.

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