Will fiery win fire up Marlins?
MIAMI — Sometimes rattling the cage is necessary to wake up a team. Especially a team that hasn’t had much to get fired up about.
So when Junior Lake admired his first homer of the season Wednesday night, and then hushed the Miami dugout, the Marlins reacted accordingly. Catcher J.T. Realmuto gave Lake an earful at home plate, and within seconds, both benches cleared. Jose Fernandez, Mat Latos and Jarred Cosart, three starters on the DL, all were in the thick of things, chirping back and forth.
Lake said he was motioning at Latos. But gesturing to one on the bench was basically calling out all 25 Miami players.
Order was quickly restored, and the Marlins prevailed, 7-3, over the Cubs, taking two of three in the spirited series.
Will one game or series wake the Marlins up? Who knows. With so much uncertainty surrounding the team all season, the general reaction is everything is still day-to-day. They’re still 10 games under .500, and some are wondering if they will be traded before the end of July.
If anything, Wednesday’s win may spark something, and perhaps unite a team that has been searching for cohesiveness.
“It’s hard to win in the big leagues,” manager Dan Jennings said. “Every game is a big win. Winning series are huge. This was a fun, competitive game. To see everybody pick everybody up, have everybody’s back, that’s how you build team.”
Clearly, Jennings message was to get the focus back on the team, and not the distractions of the past few weeks.
Lake showboating in what was a six-run game struck a nerve with the Marlins.
“Guys that pimp homers in our park must really feel they accomplished something,” Miami hitting coach Frank Menechino said. “Especially the guys that get to hit in those launching pad stadiums.”
Marlins Park is one of the toughest places in the Majors to hit homers, and Lake plays his home games at Wrigley Field, which is more hitter-friendly.
It was certainly a tension-filled and interesting night at Marlins Park. But it is still too early to tell if an emotional game will carry over to the road trip, which begins Friday at Colorado.
More than screaming matches at home plate, or Jennings’ ejection in the eighth inning, the Marlins foremost need to have Fernandez, Latos and Cosart off the DL and back in the rotation. It’s nice that all three had their teammates’ backs, but to get the club winning consistently, Miami needs all three on the mound.
— Joe Frisaro