Jesus Aguilar is starting to feel more like himself on the plate.
The results show it.
With his two-run homer in the Marlins’ 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday, Aguilar has reached base in 20 straight games, which is tied with JD Martinez of the Boston Red Sox for the longest streak this season.
During that span, Aguilar is hitting .329 (23 for 70) with a double, three home runs, 14 RBIs, seven runs scored, 14 walks and three sacrifice flies. He has multiple hits in six of those outings.
“He looked a lot more like himself,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You see his swing is improving. His catches are better. He seems to be on a lot of grounds. He comes and he is well placed.
And his hits lately have come in big situations to keep Miami in games during their current six-game losing streak, a streak that includes five straight one-point losses.
He hit two-run singles in the seventh innings Monday and Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which cut Miami’s deficit to one run each time. He had a three-hit outing in Wednesday’s loss, including a homer in the seventh that put the Marlins within a run. His third-inning RBI single on Thursday against the Padres tied the game before Manny Machado hit a home run an inning later.
And then his 409-foot home run to left field in the sixth inning on Friday broke Miami’s shutout and put them one run, 3-2, away from the Padres.
“I feel better right now,” said Aguilar, who is hitting .375 with runners in scoring position. “I can see the ball better. I hope I will continue now.
It’s a return to the form he had last season, when he was a National League leader with 93 RBIs before suffering a left knee injury in September.
“He’s an RBI guy,” Mattingly said. “He’s able to take what the pitcher gives him. He was always the first for me. He’ll hit his hits in right field and he knows how a guy throws it. He has a good understanding of that.
On Friday, the Marlins placed third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson on the disabled list and recalled outfielder Bryan De La Cruz to the active roster a day after picking him for Triple A Jacksonville.
The team didn’t give an explicit reason for Anderson’s placement in IL, indicating the move is somehow related to COVID-19. Teams don’t have to formally say when a roster change is COVID-19-related and the Marlins typically explain IL relay reasoning otherwise.
Anderson is hitting .258 with five doubles, a home run and 13 runs scored in 20 games played this season. He made 10 starts at third base, three in left field and five in right field while coming off the bench twice.
De La Cruz was primarily used as a late-inning backup despite starting four games in center field and one each in left field and right field. He’s batting .316 with five RBIs and three runs scored in 25 plate appearances this season.
The Marlins had sent De La Cruz to Triple A ahead of the start of the series with the Padres on Thursday to add right-handed relief pitcher Tommy Nance to the active roster to fortify a bullpen that had thrown a combined 17 1/3 innings on a four-game streak before the start of the road trip.
“We were pretty good in our bullpen,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t want to get caught up in a bad game and ruin everything.”
This story was originally published May 6, 2022 9:21 p.m.