Marlins tweaking roster as series with Blue Jays concludes
The host Miami Marlins are expected to make at least one lineup change on Wednesday night in the finale of a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Miami (16-15), which beat Toronto 3-2 on Tuesday, is expected to start Jesus Aguilar at first base. In addition, Jazz Chisholm, called up on Tuesday, could get his first major league start on Wednesday, playing shortstop.
Aguilar, who is batting .280 with four homers, a .776 OPS and 20 RBIs in 24 games, has had back stiffness and hasn’t played since last Wednesday.
Chisholm, acquired last year from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Zac Gallen, may have to fill in for Miguel Rojas, who seemed to suffer a leg injury in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s series opener. Chisholm filled in for Rojas defensively, making his major league debut but without an at-bat.
The 22-year-old Chisholm could eventually be the replacement for second baseman Jonathan Villar, who was traded to Toronto on Monday.
Chisholm’s natural position, however, is shortstop.
“He has been playing quite a bit of second base (at the team’s alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla.),” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Chisholm.
Miami’s Jon Berti, who started at second base on Tuesday and went 2-for-2 with a double and a homer, is the immediate beneficiary of the Villar trade.
“Making the (Villar) trade and getting prospect (Griffin Conine) made sense when you have the answer internally,” Marlins general manager Michael Hill said in reference to Berti. “I’m happy to see Berti getting the opportunity.”
Isan Diaz, who opted out for the season due to COVID-19 concerns but has now returned to Miami’s alternate training site, is another possibility to play second base, along with fellow rookies Chisholm and Eddy Alvarez.
Center fielder Starling Marte, acquired in a trade on Monday, made his Marlins debut on Tuesday night, snapping a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning solo homer.
Marte, a two-time Gold Glove winner who is signed through the end of the 2021 season, could finally fortify a position that has been in great flux this year. Marte, who turns 32 next year, will be the sixth Marlins starting center fielder this season.
As for Wednesday’s pitching matchup, Toronto left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 2.92 ERA) will face Miami rookie right-hander Sixto Sanchez (1-0, 2.25).
Ryu was blazing hot in August, posting a 1.29 ERA in five starts for Toronto (18-16). He allowed one run or less in all five of those starts, walking just six batters in 37 innings.
And, in five career starts against the Marlins, Ryu has a 3-1 record and a 2.23 ERA. He beat the Marlins 5-4 on Aug. 11 in Buffalo, N.Y., allowing just two hits, two walks and one run in six innings, striking out seven.
Ryu, a 33-year-old native of South Korea, broke into the major leagues in 2013 and has a 56-34 career record and a 2.98 ERA.
He has done all of that with some unusual routines. For example, he doesn’t throw bullpens in between starts.
“I don’t see it as a problem if I don’t throw a bullpen,” Ryu told The Los Angeles Times. “I spend more time recovering.”
Sanchez, a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has pitched in two major league games (none against Toronto), and he has been impressive both times.
His four-seam fastball has reached 100 mph and averages 98.6. His sinker averages 97.6 mph.
“He has such a special arm,” Hill said. “We thought when we acquired him that he was a ‘front of the rotation’ arm, and he has not disappointed.”
–Field Level Media