A hit by their most experienced player lifted the Miami Marlins to a much-needed win Wednesday night — one that Miguel Rojas hopes will yield dividends not just over the final four games of the season but well into the future.
The Marlins will look to salvage a split of a four-game series Thursday night when they visit the New York Mets in the final matchup of the season between the National League East rivals.
Right-hander Edward Cabrera (0-3, 5.79 ERA) is slated to pitch for the Marlins against left-hander Rich Hill (6-8, 3.87).
The Marlins ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday night when they scored three times in the eighth to come back and edge the Mets 3-2. Alex Jackson laced an RBI double two batters before Rojas delivered the go-ahead two-run single.
The win was just the 10th in 25 games this month for the Marlins (65-93), who fielded a lineup Wednesday that included six rookies — everyone except Rojas, pitcher Elieser Hernandez and left fielder Lewis Brinson — and ended the night with a combined 1,626 games of major league experience.
Rojas (812 games) accounted for almost exactly half the total.
“A lot of these guys never played in September before or played a little bit (in) September in the minor leagues,” Rojas said. “These guys need to continue to learn how to play the game — and these are meaningful games.
“It’s really hard to win games in September. Everybody has to just mentally think about the little stuff. Physical mistakes are going to happen, but the mental part of the game has to be crisp every single day until the last day of the season.”
The far more veteran Mets (75-83) didn’t think there’d be any trouble maintaining focus during the final week of a season in which they spent 114 days atop the NL East.
However, New York is 18-31 since Aug. 5, the last day it held sole possession of first place, and is also playing for pride after being eliminated from playoff contention last weekend.
“Everything we’re doing is to win, we’re preparing the same way,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said Wednesday afternoon. “But yeah, it is a little tougher when you’re out of the hunt. It’s probably a different feeling, I’m going to say. But the level as far as the competing in the game, I think it’s there once the game starts.”
Cabrera lost his most recent start last Friday. He gave up three runs over three innings as the Marlins fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-0 in St. Petersburg, Fla. In Hill’s last start, on Saturday at Milwaukee, he allowed two runs in five innings of a 2-1 loss to the Brewers.
Cabrera is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in two starts against the Mets during his rookie season. In seven career games against the Marlins, including six starts, Hill is 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA.
Hill is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts vs. Miami this season.
–Field Level Media