Sunday, July 30, 2023

Schumaker Talks About Organizational Depth

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Like all teams during a 162-game season, there are no shortage of injuries. Baseball can be defined as a See-Saw where there are plenty of Ups and Downs.

The one thing I’m not going to do is go ever the list of transactions all-season because you would stop reading this story. What I will say is the Marlins are 56-49 under first year manager Skip Schumaker and are in contention for a playoff spot.

One of the biggest contributions came from rookie starting pitcher Eury Perez, who mustered a 5-3 record when the Marlins pitching staff was short-handed during the first half of the season.

After the All-Star Break, Miami came out of the gate and one of those valley’s resulted in an eight-game losing streak as they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 on the road, and lost two consecutive games to the Colorado Rockies at home. Colorado won the series 2-1.

When would the streak end?

The Fish sent Jesus Luzardo to the hill on Sunday, July 23 to be the stopper.

Luzardo did everything in his power by working seven innings, giving up four hits, allowing only one run, yielding two walks and striking out a career high 13. He also tied a career high with seven innings and tossed a career high 115 total pitches. 

His previous high of 12 strikeouts occurred twice last year (April 12, 2022 at the LA Angels, October 2, 2022 vs Atlanta). It also tied the club record for the most strikeouts by a left-handed starter, tying Braxton Garrett, who struck out 13 on June 22, 2023 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His final strikeout was against Brenton Doyle, who homered off him in the fifth, and stranded two runners in the seventh. Luzardo finished with double digit strikeouts for the sixth time this season.

He nearly improved his record to 9-5, but unfortunately AJ Puk gave up the tying run and wasn’t able to hold on to the Marlins 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning. Puk gave up a home run to designated hitter Randal Grichuk that knotted the game at 2-2. This was a tough no-decision for Luzardo.

But the Rockies found a way to lose in the bottom of the 10th inning. Luis Arraez singled home the winning run with the bases loaded and the Marlins came out on the winning end of a 3-2 decision.

With the Rockies playing five infielders, Arraez hit a line drive to an empty right-field off Pierce Johnson (1-5) scoring Joey Wendle from third base. This made a winner out of Huascar Brazoban, who improved to 4-2. 

Normally, I don’t believe in moral victories, but there is always an exception to every rule considering that Luzardo came through when his team needed him the most. Arraez amassed three hits, but his last one was anti-climactic.

If there was ever a team that was relieved, this was it as Bally’s Field Reporter Kelly Saco got a water bath during a post-game interview.

Before the game, I asked Schumaker about what he thought about the teams’ organizational depth as you’re going to be able to see in the video provided. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

In the past 10 games, the Marlins are 3-7 and as of this post, were concluding a three-game home stand versus the Detroit Tigers.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and he can be found on Twitter @TribuneSouth. Once again, you can subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.





Saturday, July 15, 2023

Can The Marlins Complete Their Playoff Push?

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

What a difference a year makes.

The teams with the biggest improvements from 2022 to 2023 in the first half include: the Cincinnati Reds 16 + wins, Arizona Diamondbacks 12, Texas Rangers 11, Miami Marlins 10, Baltimore Orioles 8, and Tampa Bay Rays 7.

The Marlins played the Baltimore Orioles last night at Camden Yards and lost a 5-2 decision to the Orioles.

During the off-season, Marlins GM Kim Ng decided to make a change in the dugout as former Manager Don Mattingly and the team decided to mutually part ways. 

Mattingly has since moved on to become the bench coach of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Enter former St. Louis Cardinals Coach Skip Schumaker, 43, and he brought a younger voice to this 53-40 squad. 

He inherited Cy Young Award Winner Sandy Alcantara, Jazz Chisholm, Jorge Soler, Bryan De La Cruz, Jon Berti, Garrett Cooper. 

He also retained Pitching Coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr from Mattingly’s staff.

Meanwhile, Ng made a bold move by trading pitcher Pablo Lopez for second baseman Luis Arraez and both played in the 2023 All-Star Game. Arraez won the batting title for the Twins last season and he’s currently he’s currently hitting .380 for the Marlins as of this update.

Meanwhile, Soler is having a bounce back season with a .254 average but he’s slugged 24 home runs to also earn a place on the All-Star Team. De La Cruz is hitting .279 with 10 homers and 50 RBI.

Chisholm has spent a lot of time on the injured list.

During the off-season, Ng acquired veteran pitcher Johnny Cueto and he’s only pitched one inning all-year and is 0-1. She also signed third baseman Jean Segura from the Philadelphia Phillies and up until the All-Star Break, he’s struggled offensively with a .213 average in 254 at bats.

Despite Alcantara’s 3-8 mark, the Marlins have gotten good pitching from Jesus Luzardo 8-5, Braxton Garrett (5-2), Edward Cabrera (5-5) and rookie Eury Perez 5-3.

During the Marlins Media Availability, I asked Schumaker about the return of Cueto, Segura and the addition of third base coach Jody Reed.

Check out the interview inside the story. I know you’re going to get a lot out of it.

He does talk about the character of his team and sums up the first half of the season.

During our game, the Marlins defeated the Philadelphia Phillies defeated them 5-3.

Garrett had a solid performance by throwing five innings and yielding three runs. The bullpen was stellar in keeping the Phillies in check the remainder of the way in front of 18,132 fans.

Segura had two hits against his former team, Arraez pinch hit in the seventh inning and had a key hit, while Cooper had a pair of hits.

When you talk about the character of the Marlins, closer A.J. Puk blew a save the previous night and the Marlins lost 4-3. On Saturday, he redeemed himself by closing out this contest.

The Marlins took two out of three to win their series vs the Phillies.

On All-Star Night, I was invited on a Podcast called Brothers of Baseball hosted by Willie Epting Jr and on this show, I had the chance to talk with a pair of podcasters from Philadelphia. This is also included in the story.

This show will give you both sides of the I-95 Rivalry with teams separated by approximately 17 hours and there were no shortage of Phillies fans in the stands in Miami.

In 2023, South Florida has had a lot of success with its sports teams. 

The Florida Panthers and Miami Heat made incredible runs as eight seeds in the NHL and NBA respectively each advancing to the finals, only to come up short.

Meanwhile, The Florida Atlantic Owls and Miami Men’s Basketball teams reached the NCAA Final Four, but were unable to advance to the finals. Nova Southeastern University saw its Men’s Basketball Team go undefeated and win a title at the division two level.

If you include the entire state, The Florida Gators came up short in the College World Series, falling to the LSU Tigers.

Right now, despite the pending arrival of Lionel Messi making his debut with Inter-Miami next week, the Marlins have the summer stage to themselves. 

Like the other teams, this is a great opportunity to make a playoff push. I’ve heard a lot of national commentators say that this is a squad that no team would want to face.

The 2023 Marlins have strong pitching, sound defense and good hitting.

But more importantly, it’s a team that no one expected to have this type of success coming off an off-season where there were quite of changes including trading popular shortstop Miguel Rojas to the LA Dodgers.

Time will tell if the Marlins can do what the other teams couldn’t accomplish and that’s win a championship.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can see his broadcasts by subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.


Saturday, July 8, 2023

Independence Day At LoanDepot Park

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

A year ago, I spent July 4th at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium doing play-by play for the Connecticut School of Broadcasting as the Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami Marlins) took on The Palm Beach (St. Louis Cardinals.

Unfortunately that was the same day that long-time South Florida Media Icon, Hank Goldberg died.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed that night doing something that I have a tremendous amount of passion doing, mentored by late Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Ernie Harwell.

A year later, there would be no play-by-play but another pleasant afternoon at the ballpark is located 75-minutes on I-75 South depending on traffic.

The night before, the Marlins had their Fireworks at the ballpark for the fans. I was unable to attend the Monday Night, July 3rd contest due to heavy work commitments.

But there was a different type of Fireworks that were on display at LoanDepot Park as the Marlins hosted their Spring Training neighbors, the St. Louis Cardinals.

There was the coming out party for former Detroit Tigers prospect Dane Meyers, who collected his first two hits of his career taking over for Jonathon Davis. Davis left the game with a knee injury diving for a fly ball. Meyers’s would amass two hits, scored a pair of runs and had an RBI.

Every position in the line-up including injury replacements and substitutions scored at least one run and I nearly had to carry over an inning on my scoresheet multiple times.

In this contest, it was hard to single out anybody because this game was a total team effort.

The Marlins crushed St. Louis 15-2 and had 19 hits and left 11 on base.

This game saw position players from both teams play.

For St. Louis, left-fielder Alec Burleson took the hill and he pitched .2 innings and didn’t yield a run. Burleson throws left-handed.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright started and got shelled as he went 3.1 innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits. His record dropped to 3-4.

For Miami, Jesus Luzardo pitched six scoreless innings and gave up five hits and struck out eight, before yielding to the bullpen. Luzardo improved to 7-5.

Miami led 15-0 going into the Cardinals ninth inning before Manager Skip Schumaker handed the ball to catcher Jacob Stallings, who gave up St. Louis’ pair of runs.

The game took three hours to complete and it drew 16,437 fans.

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen the Marlins crush the Oakland A’s 12-1, shutout the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0 and now this.

The following day, the Marlins would defeat the Cardinals 10-9 in walk off fashion.

It’s safe to say, these fireworks were set off by what we call, a wooden bat.

But for the second year in a row, it was great to see Baseball on one of the biggest holidays of the year, July 4th. There is no question the Baseball owns this holiday!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloriudatribune@gmail.com and you can see his broadcasts by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

The Return Of A Lifelong Friend, Don Mattingly!

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Prior to last year, I never knew that June 19th was a holiday.

This year, it came in handy as My Photographer Candy Ebling was able to assist me covering a weeknight game.

These days, diabetes has taken a toll on my ability to drive at night, therefore, this year, I’ve had to attend games with Ebling present. 

Every now and then, I’ll fly solo.

On Monday, June 19, at LoanDepot Park, a lifelong friend came to town.

He’s a guy that I worked with during the 1980’s when he was with the New York Yankees. It’s obvious that we have a history together.

When I started covering the Marlins during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was great working with Don Mattingly under very difficult circumstances via Zoom Calls. 

Lives were being lost and Baseball delayed its regular season until it was time to resume. 

During the Zoom Calls, I learned a lot from Mattingly about Baseball in general and all of the different rule changes implemented during the Covid-19 Season. 

I’m not going to get into them at this time. But we made the best out of the situation.

I’ll never forget the time that Mattingly said that he was looking forward to the day that he would see us in person. I wrote a story immediately after the Media Availability after that demonstrating the like ability of a Hall of Fame Person!

There was one Zoom Call that sent shockwaves through the Marlins organization as well as the Baseball World.

It was a question that I asked about Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull throwing the seventh No-Hitter during the 2020 Season. 

I asked Mattingly what he thought about so many no-hitters being hurled in a short period of time.

You can find out his answer in this video. 

One of My Colleagues Craig Mish got wind of this and he asked Senior Vice President, Communications and Outreach Jason Latimer who asked the question. Latimer responded “Scotty” Morganroth. At the time it came out, Mattingly’s words would go viral and had over 392,000 hits. 

For me, the question seemed like no big deal as a contemplated asking it the day before when the sixth was thrown. But I elected to wait after taking a drive on AIA Ocean Drive. When the seventh was tossed, I was going on that Zoom!

I met Mish about a week later and I remember seeing him on Zoom Calls and introduced myself to him. I asked him a question about Mattingly’s response and he pulled me out into the Media Lounge and said it was my voice. Craig was so Classy that he texted me the clip and sent it to my phone.

Craig began following me on Twitter and he’s taught me a lot about technology so as a result, we’ve become great friends.

This experience will be mentioned in My Upcoming Book, “Adjusting To New Media.”

During the 2021 Season, Mattingly and I finally met in person and to me, I felt like Don was like an older brother to me. The pictures in this story tell it all.

I always enjoyed being a part of the pre-game Media Availability's and I always asked my baseball questions in the middle to not overshadow those covering the team on a daily basis.

But I still got mine in a bunch at a time and my colleagues were great.

When Don and I were alone, he would always ask me how I was doing. I told him I had a myriad of health problems and he said I’m pulling for you to get better. 

During Spring Training in Jupiter, FL, we’d be on the backfields talking about baseball and life.

In 2022, I suffered a pair of concussions in a four-week period and was limited to covering early games that started by 2 PM. 

By June, I got clearance from My Doctors that I could drive at night.

Before a Media Availability, I saw him and he asked me where I have been. I told him about my head injuries and we shook hands, exchanged a hug and gave me advice on how to deal with them. 

As all of our exchanges have been, they were always upbeat and positive. I felt like my older brother was giving me guidance.

On many of my broadcasts and stories, there has been a debate as to whether he belongs in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Mattingly played his entire career with the Yankees for 13-seasons when his debut occurred on September 8, 1982 and his final appearance was October 1, 1995.

He retired with a .307 Batting Average, with 2,153 Hits, 222 Home Runs, 1,099 Runs Batted In.

The only thing that works against Mattingly was his lack of post-season play for the Yankees.

A common comparison that I make is with former Minnesota Twins center fielder, who played for 12 seasons, had a .318 Batting Average, 2,304 hits, 207 Home Runs and 1,085 Runs Batted In. The major difference as far as post-season is concerned is that Puckett won a pair of World Series Championships, while Mattingly doesn’t have a title on his resume.

After playing, Mattingly piloted the Los Angeles Dodgers for five seasons, and made the post-season in each campaign. He finished his tenure with the Dodgers with a 446-363 mark and a .551 winning percentage.

In 2016, Mattingly left the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean where he would be the skipper from 2016-2022. The Marlins made one post-season appearance under his watch and he finished with a 443-587 and a .430 winning percentage. 

In Los Angeles, there would be no issues with payroll. In Miami, the purse strings were tighter and the team was constantly in rebuilding mode. 

Mattingly didn’t take a dumb pill when he came to South Florida.

When the Marlins and Mattingly agreed to mutually part ways in September, it was tough to see him go, but that’s the nature of the business.

But on June 19, 2023, “Donnie Baseball” returned to his old managerial stomping grounds as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. When he came out of the clubhouse, once again, it was time to exchange pleasantries and we took our photos and talked.

The Marlins and Blue Jays did a great job putting this Media Availability together. It’s like we were picking up where we left off. More importantly, he didn’t use this time to criticize his former employer and took the high road.

The video is in this story is a must watch! We reminisced and talked about what lies ahead for Don Mattingly’s baseball career. 

If body language could tell the story, he seemed very relaxed in his role, not worried about wins and losses, and just coaching.

The Marlins would defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0 and Luis Arraez had his third five hit game in the past two weeks. This would put him in the Marlins record books. 

But a rout is counted as one victory and Toronto would proceed to win the next two games of the series 2-0 and 6-3, and win the series 2-1.

It was great to see “The Return Of A Lifelong Friend, Don Mattingly! 

Now, he’s 62 and I’m 60 and both of us are from the Midwest. He hails from Evansville, Indiana, the former AAA Home of the Detroit Tigers while I’m from the Motor City. Yet another connection.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can see his broadcasts by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel at no cost.


Marlins Limped Into All-Star Break

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH Lets make no bones about it, this years All-Star Break has a much different felling than last years. Former GM Kim Ng di...