Coming off a sweep of American League division foe the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees are carrying a wave of momentum into South Beach as they face the Miami Marlins in a quick two-game series. The front-runner to win take the first Wild-Card spot, the Yankees cannot let up against the rebuilding Marlins. They have to hold on tightly to their 7 1/2 game lead and prevent any push from the Seattle Mariners.
In two games against each other so far, they’ve split, both teams winning in landslides respectively.
Marlins are looking for cornerstone players to fill up their roster for next season, as they look to nurture and provide ample playing time to rookies in their farm system.
Marlins new CEO Derek Jeter, a Yankee great, has a long-term vision for the Marlins, as he continues venturing the seas to reel in studs that can impact his team for the future.
So far, they’ve found a one-of-a-kind talent in catcher J.T Realmuto, who made his first All-Star appearance this season. His bat has been red-hot and he is currently the second-best catcher in the MLB after Buster Posey.
Realmuto is hitting .293 with 16 home runs (tied 5th among catchers) and 61 RBI’s (2nd among catchers). He’s the second leading base-hitter among catchers after Buster Posey and continues to have a knack to put the ball in play.
At 27 years old, Realmuto has prime years to come and will continue to grow. Everyday playing time will get him the reps to work on his mechanics behind the plate and improve his batting approach. He was highly sought out for at the trade deadline, but Jeter ensured fans that this young talent would be in it for the long haul.
Over a year ago, the Marlins traded reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a package including young outfielder Brayan Hernandez and multiple right-handed pitchers including Pablo Lopez.
Now, Lopez is logging in major league innings as a rookie for the Marlins. Before being brought up to the Marlins, Lopez boasted a 1.44 ERA through 62 1/3 innings. His dominance continued through high-level ball and now he’s been a rotational starter for the Marlins.
He’s gone through his ups and downs as a rookie, struggling at times to get in a rhythm or find consistency with his secondary pitches. This season, Lopez is 2-3 with a 4.79 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. However, his support system is rock-solid as he accredits his dad for being there for him no matter what.
“He’s been my mentor, coach, doctor and everything I could have asked for.”
Countering Lopez is Yankees right-handed veteran pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka possesses a career 61-32 record and a 3.62 ERA in five major league seasons.
This season, Tanaka is 9-4 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He has lost his past two starts, continuing a downward trend for Tanaka who is working tirelessly to get back into a groove.
However, when pitching away from the Big Apple, Tanaka has found stable success, posting a 6-0 record and a 3.86 ERA.
Despite not having catcher Gary Sanchez, shortstop Didi Gregorius and right fielder Aaron Judge, the Yankees still have plenty of firepower to attack the 25th ranked Miami Marlins rotation. Stanton will receive a standing ovation from the home crowd and drives in at least two RBI’s.