2021 Miami Marlins: Fighting the Rays for ‘Bragging Rights’

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Finally! Baseball is officially here. The 2021 Miami Marlins schedule begins their season facing their intrastate rival, the Tampa Bay Rays. Miami will host the Rays for three games (April 1-3). Also on the opening homestand agenda, the St. Louis Cardinals come to town for three games spanning April 5th-7th.

The Miami Marlins will face off against the American League East during Interleague Play, hosting the Baltimore Orioles (April 20–21), Toronto Blue Jays (June 22–23), and New York Yankees (July 30-August 1), and traveling to Boston (May 28–30), Toronto (June 1–2) and Baltimore (July 27–28). The Citrus Series vs. Tampa Bay will open the 2020 season with three games at Marlins Park, and then see the clubs meet at Tropicana Field on September 24–26.

The 2021 Marlins will conclude this season’s campaign with a three-game homestand, hosting the Philadelphia Phillies (October 1–3). Of the club’s final 36 games, 21 will take place at home at Marlins Park.

The 2020 season was a good one for the Miami Marlins. It was also quite surprising to the rest of the baseball world. The team that went 57-105 just one year prior, finished 31-29 in the shortened season, earning a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

2021 Miami Marlins: Home Opener

On Thursday, April 1, at 4:10 p.m. (Eastern), Sandy Alcantara will get the nod for the Marlins against the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow in the first pitching match-up of the season. The New Bally Sports Florida Network will be providing the broadcast for this season. “Bally Sports Big Opening Day” Will Debut April 1 at 11 a.m. Prior to the Marlins vs. Rays Coverage; live shows will offer other MLB previews and sports updates across the 19 Bally Sports Regional Networks.

The two teams will battle again on April second at 7:10 p.m. Eastern (LHP Ryan Yarbrough vs. RHP Pablo Lopez), and again on April third at 6:10 p.m. Eastern (LHP Rich Hill vs. Miami TBD; however, RHP Elieser Hernandez is probable).

2021 Miami Marlins: Projected Opening Day Lineup

Starting Lineup:

(C) Jorge Alfaro; (1B) Jesus Aguilar; (2B) Jazz Chisholm; (SS) Miguel Rojas; (3B) Brian Anderson; (LF) Corey Dickerson; (CF) Starling Marte; (RF) Adam Duval

2021 Miami Marlins: Projected Starting Rotation:

RHP Sandy Alcantara, RHP Pablo Lopez, RHP Elieser Hernandez, LHP Trevor Rogers, and RHP Nick Neidert.

The projected staff of Sandy AlcantaraPablo LópezElieser Hernandez, Sánchez, and Trevor Rogers are all 25 years old or younger, with a combined 128 MLB starts. It should be noted that Sanchez was optioned to AAA and will not start the season with the big league club.

Miami’s Revamped Bullpen

Miami also made it an offseason priority to revamp its bullpen; posting a 5.50 ERA in 2020. Miami plans to win by playing defense well behind the relievers. With more depth than in years past to prevent overtaxing pitchers, the Marlins hope it will be enough to win more close games. The Marlins added strike throwers with postseason experience in Anthony BassDylan FloroJohn CurtissRoss Detwiler, and Adam Cimber.

Opening Weekend Series: Injury Reports

What would a Major League baseball season be without injuries? Without even an inning under their belts, Miami and Tampa have combined to start filling the IL for both teams. Below are the injury reports, courtesy of ESPN. Marlins Injury report Tampa Bay Rays Injury Report

2021 Miami Marlins: The Jeter Rebuild Factor

The last several seasons have been part of the Derek Jeter rebuild. With a playoff birth and series win under their belt, the 2021 Miami Marlins look to continue progressing toward the ultimate goal of a World Series. Now, as they gear up for 2021, it’s a slightly different story.

The second base job was up for grabs, but the bell has rung, and Jazz Chisholm will be the Opening Day 2nd baseman.

General manager Kim Ng announced Chisholm as the Marlins’ starting second baseman to begin the season.

Source Jordan McPherson of The Miami Herald

To the surprise of no one, new Miami Marlins General Manager Kim Ng announced Sunday that Jazz Chisholm Jr. will be the Marlins Opening Day second baseman. Ethan Budosky of fish stripes points out “This was the only true position player battle the Marlins had this spring, and the younger, less experienced candidate has come out on top.”

Jazz Chisholm skies a solo home run to right-center field to record the first long ball of his big league career.

After struggling in early March, Chisholm Jr. came on late and ended up putting together some really nice numbers. After going 1-for-3 on Sunday, his spring slash line finished at .268/.333/.488/.821. He also went deep three times, stole four bases, and played exceptional defense at both second, and his natural position, shortstop, where he projects long term.

2021 Miami Marlins: Outfield Expectations

There are higher expectations for the Marlins outfield this season. As mentioned earlier this offseason, the Marlins ranked last in the majors with 36 home runs off of righties. Their right fielders also ranked 30th in RBIs (13) and OPS (.534). Last season’s, RFs slashed .186/.271/.263. Duvall can contribute in that department (.504 SLG vs. RHP since 2019). For ATL 2019-20, Duvall slashed .248/.307/.545 (117 wRC+) with 26 homers in 339 trips to the plate.

NG added another hot-bat outfielder in Adam Duvall. Signing the veteran really helps round out an outfield that already had some speed, and now has more power. Last year Miami struggled with the long ball and ranked 21st in launch angle. Meanwhile, with the Atlanta Braves in 2020, Duvall ranked among the best in that category, fourth in MLB to be exact.

Many of the young prospects the Marlins have been stockpiling were the reason. Names like Sixto Sanchez, Trevor Rogers and Brian Anderson led the way. Don Mattingly is back at the helm after a Manager of the Year campaign in 2020.

2021 Miami Marlins: Final Odds & Ends

2021 Miami Marlins: Rejoice! Fans Are Permitted

To much jubilation, fans will be allowed inside all 30 MLB ballparks after a 2020 regular season that was played entirely without fans in the stands because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At Marlins’ Park, a 25 percent capacity will be allowed to start the season, meaning about 9,400 fans will be allowed inside. In a previous article, I promised no more attendance jokes, so I will keep my word.

What’s In a Name?

Miami has finally inked a deal for their stadium’s naming rights. Entering their 10th season playing in Miami, the Marlins have finally reached a naming rights deal with mortgage provider loanDepot.

Diaz to Dominate

Lastly, I want to remind Ely Sussman (Fishtripes) of his prediction from 2020 – Lewin Díaz starts more games at first base than any other player. I am in agreement; a potential NL Rookie of the Year.

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main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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