The Houston Astros managed to secure a series finale victory against the Miami Marlins, despite veteran ace Justin Verlander’s rocky performance. The Astros prevailed with a final score of 12-5, maintaining their dominance over the Marlins when backed by substantial offensive support.
Despite Justin Verlander’s struggles the Astros bats came alive and lifted Verlander. In his third start since joining Houston prior to the Trade Deadline, Verlander found himself working hard over five innings. He gave up two walks, a feat he hadn’t encountered since August 5. Amidst his struggles, Verlander conceded five runs, four of which were earned, on nine hits. The Astros jumped on the Marlins early, exploding for a five-run first inning against Jesús Luzardo (8-8). Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker delivered consecutive solo home runs, followed by a two-run shot from Chas McCormick and an RBI double from Mauricio Dubón.
The Marlins exhibited their resilience by steadily narrowing the gap. Jake Burger’s two-run double in the first inning ignited their offensive push. Jeremy Peña’s run-scoring single in the third extended the Astros’ lead to 6-2. Miami managed to slice into the deficit further in the fourth, as Jon Berti’s RBI fielder’s choice and Peña’s throwing error allowed Jesús Sánchez to cross the plate. Bryan De La Cruz’s run-scoring double in the fifth brought the Marlins within striking distance at 6-5.
However, Houston’s offense came alive once again in the seventh inning, breaking the game wide open against Marlin’s relievers Andrew Nardi and Jorge López. A sacrifice fly from Dubón and a bases-loaded walk drawn by José Altuve contributed to a six-run outburst, sealing the Astros’ victory.
The Marlins faced ongoing struggles with Jesús Luzardo’s pitching, as the left-hander’s performance remained inconsistent. Luzardo exited the game after allowing eight hits and five runs in just 3.2 innings pitched. His post-All-Star break record was marred by a 0-3 standing and a 7.39 ERA across six starts.
The Marlins achieved a balanced 3-3 record against both the Yankees and the Astros. While facing the Astros, Miami had an opportunity to secure two wins in the series, but their efforts were hindered by both the bullpen and starting pitching struggles during the second game in which the Fish ultimately lost 6-5. The team’s pitching performance has been plagued by inconsistency and erratic behavior throughout the year. Initially, Alcantara faced significant challenges during the first half of the season; however, he has since transformed his performance to that of a Cy Young-caliber pitcher. Conversely, Luzardo, Perez, and Cueto are currently encountering difficulties, while the Marlins’ bullpen remains a notable vulnerability for the team.
Nonetheless, the Marlins managed to maintain their competitive standing. Just last week, I emphasized the importance of achieving a .500 record over the span of six games for the Marlins’ prospects in the playoffs. At present, the Marlins find themselves tied with the Cubs and the Reds for the final wild card position. However, the challenges continue for Miami. Their upcoming weekend series against the Dodgers (73-46), who possess the second-best record in baseball behind the Atlanta Braves, presents a formidable task. Miami will entrust Sandy Alcantara, their standout performer with a Cy Young-caliber presence, to take the mound and aim for victory in the opening game of a tightly contested wild card race.
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