Miami Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc came into Wednesday’s contest against the Washington Nationals with a perfect 0.00 ERA as he battled to win the fifth spot in the rotation, but as we know nobody’s perfect. Leblanc proved the saying to be true once again as he gave up six earned runs in five innings of work and exited the game with 3.86 ERA.
The Nationals used a pair of three run innings, one in the third and another in the fifth to do all of the damage. Young phenom, rising star, reigning rookie of the year, etc., etc., etc. Bryce Harper drove in four of those runs with a two run double in the third and two run single in the fifth.
The real culprit in Leblanc’s undoing though was his allowing opposing pitcher Chris Young to reach base in both of the Nationals big innings. Young had a bunt single in the third on a play where LeBlanc attempted and failed to make a diving catch. In the fifth, LeBlanc committed the cardinal sin of walking the opposing pitcher to lead off the inning. In all, he gave up seven hits and two costly walks while striking out four Nationals hitters on the day.
Despite the rough start Wade LeBlanc still seems to be in good position to grab a spot in the rotation. He has the advantage of being the only left handed starter in the competition and with Jacob Turner struggling there may be one more spot up for grabs than we originally believed coming into camp. Kevin Slowey and John Maine have also both pitched well this spring and make up the remaining competition for the open rotation spots.
On offense the Marlins used a big inning of their own to score four of the five runs they would have on the day. A furious two out rally in the sixth inning which included RBI doubles by Giancarlo Stanton and Rob Brantly resulting in four runs. At this point, though, the offensive mini explosion proved to be too little too late as the Nationals had already scored six runs and would tack on another on a home run by catcher Kurt Suzuki. The Marlins final run came on an RBI ground out by Christian Yelich who finds a way to contribute even without having a hit on the day.
As a possibly concerning side note, Donovan Solano, who has been among the leading hitters on the team all spring, was scratched from the line up with a stiff back. The injury is not expected to keep him out long, but this team cannot afford to lose one the few productive players with opening day fast approaching.
Up Next: The Marlins are off on Thursday before facing the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium on Friday. Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to start the Friday contest.