Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly was talking about this week’s doubleheader sweep at Baltimore that involved a parade of relievers, including several newcomers rescued from unemployment, and after naming three of them he drew a blank.
“I’ve got to remember who all we used,” Mattingly said. “Who else pitched today? I don’t know.”
For the Marlins, this season has been a bit of a blur. It was halted for eight days because of a coronavirus outbreak that sidelined more than half the team, and even now, four games into the resumption of play, there's cause for eye-rubbing.
The Marlins are in first place in August, a first for the franchise. In fact, at 6-1 they have the best record in baseball, staging a one-year turnaround not seen since the 1899 St. Louis Perfectos.
“I’m going to have to write a book after this,” Mattingly said. “You get tested, and you persevere.”
Following a decade of sub-.500 seasons, the Marlins reported for spring training with something close to a swagger in Year 3 of their rebuilding project under CEO Derek Jeter. They still sounded confident even after the virus sidelined three-fifths of their rotation, eight relievers and six other players.
“We’re ready to win games,” rookie outfielder Monte Harrison said. “A lot of people don’t understand that we’ve got some people here that can play. Whatever they want to call us — the bottom feeders or whatever — there’s a rude awakening that is going to be happening.”
Harrison spoke boldly even though he has one career hit, a scratch single Thursday in the Marlins' 8-7 win at Baltimore. That completed Miami's first four-game series sweep in more than four years.