Welcome to Bulletin Board Material, the Miami Herald’s weekday roundup covering everything in the South Florida sports scene. A lot of news to recap. Let’s get right to it.
Optimism despite a rough homestand finale
It’s hard to look at the positives in the immediate aftermath of a loss like the Marlins suffered on Thursday.
But here the Marlins were, in their clubhouse following a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, trying to take a glass-half-full mentality.
One thing the Marlins took solace in: They had already won the series, defeating the Dodgers 4-2 on Tuesday and 6-5 on Wednesday.
It’s a small consolation prize in the heat of the moment, especially after being shut out and limited to just four hits over the three previous hours. In the grand scheme of things, though, winning each series – whether it’s a sweep or not – is the goal for this team at this point. It’s the first step in climbing out of the massive hole they found themselves in to start the season.
“If you win two out of three, you’re going to have a good record,” shortstop Miguel Rojas said.
And the Marlins slowly but surely have been winning series. They’ve won five of their last seven, bookeneded by series victories over the Dodgers. Their lone setbacks in that span came when they were swept on the road by the Cubs and lost three of four at home against the Braves to start the recent homestand.
“It’s a month and a half into the season,” Rojas said. “Everybody got together pretty well. It’s all right here in this clubhouse. It’s time to start winning series and start getting that record up.”
The Marlins record isn’t particularly good just yet. They sit at 16-27 and are ahead of just the Cincinnati Reds in the National League.
Another positive: veteran Martin Prado’s emergence from his early slump. Prado recorded six hits during the seven home games after hitting just five total in his first 10 games. His batting average is still below the Mendoza line at .167, but manager Don Mattingly is seeing strides from his third baseman.
“The thing about Martin, he really didn’t play last year. It’s like we’re saying he basically had a year off because all he did last year was rehab,” Mattingly said. “He started this season kind of in the same boat, so we’re starting to see a Matin now like he would be if he started the season. He’s starting to get regular playing time, regular at-bats. When his timing comes, then I think we’ll start seeing the normal Martin.”
The Marlins now head back on the road for consecutive three-game series against the Braves and Mets.
Where one Dolphins rookie finds inspiration
Dolphins rookie Jerome Baker has a role model in Ryan Shazier, a fellow Ohio State Buckeye who was one of the league’s best linebackers before suffering a major spinal injury.
Catching up with Lonnie Walker
Lonnie Walker IV, who left the University of Miami after his freshman season, is “in heaven” at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this week. He is projected as a potential lottery pick.
More news and notes
▪ High school football powerhouse IMG Academy will play two Miami teams this season.
▪ A look at some underrated and unheralded South Florida football prospects.
▪ A Florida State freshman basketball player is transferring.