BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
The Miami Marlins should be very thankful that MLB reduced the amount of division games and increased inter-league contests.
If there was ever a series that paid huge dividends, it was when the Detroit Tigers came to Miami for a three-game series vs the Marlins from July 28-30.
The Marlins promoted this is Miggy Weekend, as they celebrated the return of legend Miguel Cabrera, who was a vital contributor in the Fishs’ 2003 World Series Winning squad.
We attended two of the three games of the series, electing to take Saturday off.
From my standpoint, it was great seeing colleagues from my hometown working for the Tigers as I’ve covered the organization for 40 years. I came to the Marlins during the 2020 Covid-19 Season.
Tigers Radio Play-By-Play Announcer Dan Dickerson, Bally’s Sports On Field Reporter Johnny Kane and former Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe were the primary individuals that I enjoyed reminiscing with.
Former Tigers Broadcaster Rod Allen is a teammate of mine here in Miami and does the Marlins broadcasts for Ballys Sports. There was no doubt that Allen was going to be the color analyst for these three games.
In the past few years, injuries have hampered Cabrera. In Miguel’s final season, he’s been celebrated by all of the opponents and has managed to stay healthy.
Luck was on the Marlins side as Cabrera played in all three contests.
In the Friday game, Cabrera was hit by a pitch and reached by an error by third basemen Jean Segura.
In Saturday’s contest, he had two hits and scored a run in four at bats.
During the finale on Sunday, Cabrera had one hit and drove in two runs in three at bats, before he was replaced by a pinch runner as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He was replaced by a pinch runner twice in this series and the fans demonstrated their appreciation for the Future Hall of Famer.
The opening game saw the Marlins jump out to a 4-0 lead through three innings off of Tigers starter Reese Olson. The Tigers proceeded to score four unanswered runs and the game was tied at 4-4 until the bottom of the eighth inning.
That’s when the Marlins answered back with a pair off of reliever Jason Foley and took a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning. Detroit answered with a run, but the Tigers came up short as Foley dropped to 2-3. Detroit’s major downfall is it left 10 men on base and lost 6-5.
Akil Baddoo and Riley Greene homered, and five pitchers combined on a seven hitter as the Tigers beat Miami 5-0 on Saturday. Cabrera doubled and singled in four at bats in a game that was promoted as Venezuelan Heritage Day. Cabrera is a native Venezuelan and he didn’t let down his countrymen in front of a crowd of 32,936, the largest crowd for a Marlins game since April of 2017.
A lot of people wondered if Cabrera would take Sunday off. He didn’t let the crowd down by being productive in a Tigers 8-6 loss to the Marlins as I mentioned earlier. Once again, what doomed the Tigers was leaving 10 runners on base.
Before Garrett Cooper was traded to the San Diego Padres, he and Segura homered, newly acquired relievers Jorge Lopez and David Robertson played key roles in Miami’s win. Cooper’s two run shot gave Miami a 7-6 win and drove a 1-2 pitch from Tigers reliever Tyler Horton (0-2) over the left-field wall for his 13th homer of the season. The Marlins increased their lead to 8-6 with Segura’s shot in the eighth inning.
During the weekend, not only did the Marlins win the series, but they won at the gate.
Miami drew successive crowds of 15,918, 32,936 and 18,207 for a total of 67,061.
Before the game, Marlins Manager Skip Schumaker talked about Cabrera’s return and much more during the inserted video.
With Cabrera making this a memorable weekend, there is one last piece of business to be taken care. The Marlins need to make Cabrera the first jersey ever retired by the organization.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TribuneSouth. Also, to see his broadcasts, you can find them on the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel and there is no cost to subscribe.