Bronx beatdown for Marlins
Ex-Marlin Stanton goes 0-for-3 at plate
NEW YORK As the deficit spiked quickly on a chill night in the Bronx, the Marlins had to grab onto heartwarming thoughts where they could find them.
There were friendly chants of “Donnie Baseball” from the home crowd and a nice video tribute to manager Don Mattingly while his former team was administering a 12-1 thrashing to his young team Monday in the opener of a two-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Could this Miami team ever use a prime-time Donnie Baseball in the middle of the lineup. The video highlights were a reminder, that guy could really play until back trouble short-circuited a career that seemed bound for Cooperstown.
The Marlins mustered only five hits, while the Yankees had almost that many home runs — two by Didi Gregorius and an historic shot by Aaron Judge.
With his opposite-field drive to right in the second inning, Judge reached 60 home runs in his 197th career game, the fewest in major league history. Mark McGwire had the previous mark, hitting 60 in his first 202 games.
Former Marlins Giancarlo Stanton was the least of Miami’s problems as the struggling slugger was the only Yankee starter without a hit, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He also walked and was hit by a pitch.
The Marlins can at least be heartened by the impending return of catcher J.T. Realmuto, who is finally returning to the lineup after recovering from a back bruise.
Realmuto left a rehab assignment with High-A Jupiter after a three-hit day Sunday, including a homer, and was with the Marlins but not activated from the disabled list. That could happen today.
Although this series would present an opportunity to work Realmuto into the lineup as a designated hitter, Mattingly indicated that when he’s ready to play he’ll be behind the plate.
“It will be nice to have J.T. back, obviously,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy who is a tremendous leader for us, behind the plate, but also a guy offensively, you plug in and put him in the middle of your order. It’s really an area we’ve had trouble scoring runs.”
Realmuto has been out since a March 11 exhibition game against the Yankees in Jupiter when second base prospect Gleyber Torres kneed him in the back on a pickoff at second.
This time the Yankees administered abuse on Marlins pitching, starting with their own former prospect Caleb Smith. The rookie left-hander labored through 2 1/3 innings, throwing 84 pitches and allowing five runs.
Smith, acquired in an offseason trade with New York along with Garrett Cooper, dug a 2-0 hole with an interminable first inning that saw him threw 42 pitches (23 strikes) and walk three, including Tyler Austin with the bases loaded.
The inning started with a bloop hit to left by Brett Gardner. Gary Sanchez drove in the first run with an infield hit.
Smith’s lack of command continued a pattern of first innings of rough first innings by Marlins starters. Coming into the game, Miami starters had an 8.40 ERA in the opening frame, which ranked 28th of 30 teams in the majors, last in the National League.
The Yankees were just getting started as they scored in each of the first five innings. Tyler Cloyd, who relieved Smith, was shelled for six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
New York was finally thwarted in the sixth, but only because Gardner’s smash up the middle struck second-base umpire Bill Welke, preventing a runner from scoring.
Meanwhile, the Marlins managed only Miguel Rojas’ leadoff double in the fourth in six innings against Luis Severino.
It was a rough start to a nine-game, three-city trip that will carry a dose of nostalgia at each stop for Miami.
The four-game stop in Milwaukee may bring an encounter with Christian Yelich, who is on the DL with an oblique strain but is eligible to come off.
Gary Sanchez blooped a single off Marlins pitcher Tyler Cloyd in the third inning on Monday.