BY Mike Biana
The plate has been an unfriendly place for Miami Marlins’ outfielder Marcell Ozuna Wednesday.
The Marlins centerfielder struck out in his first three at-bats, drawing many groans and a few ill-mannered boos from the 18,010 fans who attended Marlins Park on the afternoon.
Yet there he stood, in the bottom of the ninth, with Giancarlo Stanton 90 feet from home plate and just one out in a game featuring absolutely no scoring through the first 25 outs.
Ozuna had the chance to turn it all around to trade in his O-fer for a post-game shaving cream pie to the face.
Funny how baseball works.
Like Dory from Finding Nemo, Ozuna had a short memory. Ozuna finally connected on a pitch, driving the ball out to shallow right center on a line drive fly out. Stanton tagged at third, then sprinted off just as Mets CF Juan Lagares threw home. The ball arrived to catcher Anthony Recker as Stanton slid home, but Recker couldn’t hang on. Ozuna drove in the only run of the day, delivering the win and a lot more cheers than his previous at bats.
What three strikeouts?
As the Marlins walked off yet again—the third time in four games they did so—they completed their best home stand in franchise history, notching a blistering 8-1 record against some of the hottest teams in baseball.
The Fish swept not one but two NL East rivals on the nine-game stand, first bringing out
the brooms against then-division leader Atlanta and then bookending the stand with three straight wins against New York.
A loss in extra innings to the Dodgers on Saturday night was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect week and a half at home.
The Marlins have been nothing short of spectacular at Marlins Park going 17-5 through their first 22 games in Miami. The last time they accomplished this feat, the Fish went on to win the World Series for the first time in 1997.
It’s far too early in the season to make such an egregious comparison, but it is nice
to dream, isn’t it?
Now the Marlins take their act out west hoping to do a little California dreaming themselves on an 11-game swing that features series against the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants.
Miami looks to turn things around on the road, where it currently sports a hideous 2-10 record.
With stellar pitching of late and an offense that has proved, so far, that it has the ability to produce, there’s no reason to believe that Marlin Magic is restricted to South Florida.
The Marlins return against the Philadelphia Phillies May 20. Tickets are already on sale. Click here.