Luis Arraez is far from healthy and the Phillies need to take advantage
Leading up to the Wild Card Series, there were questions about whether Luis Arraez would be healthy enough to be on the roster and in the lineup. After suffering a left ankle injury late in the season, the Marlins' leadoff hitter had only one at-bat after Sept. 23.
It was clear from the outset that Arraez wasn't right. In the top of the first, he hobbled out of the box on a liner caught by Pache in left field. He didn't find much better results in his next two at-bats, as he limped down the line on easy ground ball outs.
When he finally found some space with a bloop single to left-center in the eighth inning, the Marlins left him in to run despite his obvious lack of speed — a curious move in a two-run game.
Losing a player of Arraez's caliber is a big blow to the Marlins, who came into the series as underdogs. The 2022 AL batting title winner made a big impression in his first season in Miami, winning the NL batting title with a .354 average. He helped lead a resurgent Marlins squad that finished with the fourth-highest batting team batting average in the majors at .259.
The Phillies can surely take advantage of a physically limited Arraez, who, even injured, showed he can still put the bat on the ball. The question is, how effective can he be if he's unable to run out ground balls or run the bases if he does get aboard?
The Marlins offense is seemingly built in Arraez's image. Sure, they have some guys who can drive the ball and put it over the fence, like Jorge Soler, who parked 36 home runs this season, but their offense relies on hits, and lots of them.
They finished the season with the sixth-most hits with 1,427 and led baseball with 979 singles. However, they also ranked 26th with 668 runs scored and ended up in the bottom third of the league with 166 home runs and a .405 slugging percentage, the 11th-lowest mark.
Without the virtually unstoppable-when-healthy Arraez setting the table each time through the order, the Marlins will find it hard to generate a potent enough offense and will struggle to score runs to overcome the Philly bats.