BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
When people talk about New York Yankees top rivals, they often refer to the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.
If you’re looking for a Yankees nemesis, pencil in the Miami Marlins.
In 2003, the Marlins defeated the Yankees 4-2 to win its’ second World Series in franchise history. Jack McKeon out managed Yankees skipper Joe Torre.
To date, there have been five Hall of Famers that came out of this Fall Classic. Ivan Rodriguez came from the Marlins while Derek Jeter, Mike Messina, Mariano Rivera and Torre from the Bronx Bombers.
During the Covid-19 Season, the Marlins won key games to reach the post-season under former pilot Don Mattingly.
These two teams squared off again during the weekend of August 11-13 and the Marlins were winners in more ways than one.
They lost to the Yankees 9-4 on Friday, August 11th.
But the objective of a season is to win series and that’s what the Marlins proceeded to do.
On Saturday, August 12th, Miami saw Sandy Alcantara throw a complete game shutout, yielding just five hits, two walks and amassing 10 strikeouts to defeat the Yankees 3-1. Alcantara improved his record to 5-10. The reigning Cy Young Award winner coaxed 11 groundouts before a season-best crowd of 33,980.
A two-run blast by Luis Arraez in the first inning that went 409 feet against Yankees starter Michael King bounced off the first row of upper deck seats in right center. This homer was the longest round tripper of his career. King dropped to 3-5. He was lifted after two innings and 41 pitches.
In the rubber match on Sunday, August 13th, the game we saw on paper looked like a game the Yankees should have won. The Yankees were sending right-handed hurler Gerritt Cole (10-3, 2.75) to the hill against fellow right-hander and rookie Eury Perez (5-4, 2.79).
But games aren’t decided on paper.
Cole did his part and showed why he’s an elite pitcher.
He hurled six innings, yielded six hits, two runs and struck out six.
Perez had a rocky outing by tossing four innings, gave up four runs, four hits and walked a pair. He also amassed five strikeouts and was replaced by Huascar Brazoban. The Yankees scored a three runs off Brazoban in 2.2 innings and led 7-2 at the end of six innings.
But all-season long, the Marlins have shown no quit in them and that proved to be the case.
Newly acquired Jake Burger’s game ending single capped a five-run, ninth inning comeback against Clay Holmes and Tommy Kahnle giving the Marlins an incredible 8-7 win. This was the 31st comeback victory of the season for the season. At one point the Marlins trailed 7-1, thus had a six run deficit for the largest comeback of the season. Perez was fortunate enough to get a no-decision.
The Marlins bullpen tamed the Yankees in the latter innings.
AJ Puk worked 1.1 innings and stuck out four while newly acquired Jorge Lopez went one inning to pick up the win improving his record to 6-2.
A crowd of 35,043 was the third highest crowd at LoanDepot Park. The game lasted 3:08 and the Marlins fans got their moneys worth, but can’t say the same for the many Yankees fans in attendance.
In addition, the Marlins were winners at the gate as a total of 100,001 was the largest crowd in Loan Depot Park History in a three-game series. There is no question that when the Yankees come to town, it’s easy to expect large crowds.
The Marlins won the series 2-1 and it would be a tough ride out of town for the Bronx Bombers.
New York proceeded to have an extended losing streak of nine games for the first time in 41 years.
The Atlanta Braves swept them in Georgia with 11-3, 5-0 and 2-0 wins from August 14-16.
The Boston Red Sox added to the grief with successive 8-1, 6-5, and 2-1 triumphs from August 18-20.
The Washington Nationals added to the streak as Tommy Kahnle allowed a go-ahead homer to CJ Abrams leading to New York’s nine consecutive defeat. In this contest, the Nationals won for the 13th time in 19 games and got their latest win after Manager Dave Martinez agreed to a new two-year contract.
The grief finally came to an end on Wednesday as the Yankees Aaron Judge homered three times and tied his career high with six RBIs, almost single handedly breaking the Yankees dreadful losing streak by shellacking the Nationals 9-1.
However, The Nationals got the best of the Yankees by winning 6-5 on Thursday, taking the series 2-1.
This run support made a winner out of Luis Severino as he went 6.2 innings and blanking the Nationals. By the end of the evening, Judge’s homer total reached 27.
As of this post, the Yankees are in last place with a 61-66 record and are in last place in the AL East. Time is running out for the Bronx Bombers.
Meanwhile, Miami (65-63) returns home for a three-game series against the Washington Nationals, who are 59-69. The Marlins are two games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the final Wild-Card Playoff spot.
There is no question that this will be a pivotal weekend for the Yankees and Marlins.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can catch his broadcasts by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.