With the Marlins losing their first home series in more than a month, it is certainly not a time to panic in Miami. The Marlins remain in an unlikely second place in the N.L. East, 2.5 games behind the Braves before Atlanta takes on the Rockies on Sunday evening. Entering 2014, the biggest question mark that Miami had was the lineup. Many insiders viewed the Marlins pitching rotation as one of the top young ones in baseball, with Jose Fernandez at the helm.
Fast forward through the first third of the season and the lineup has more than acquitted new general manager Dan Jennings and his decisions in year one of his tenure. The Marlins have the second highest batting average in the National League and have scored the second highest run total of any N.L. team. This has been a significant increase from last year’s MLB worst offense.
Meanwhile the rotation has been spotty at best. They have pitched well at home, but have struggled on the road. Since Jose went down with season ending surgery, they have seemingly gotten worse. The Marlins turned to Randy Wolf to fill the massive void that the Marlins ace left when he went down.
I don’t like to make snap judgements based on one outing, and I know that Wolf had his first start for the Fish today, but it was apparent to anyone that watched the game that he is not a long-term answer for 2014. He was tagged early and often, allowing 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 more in the 2nd, and an additional run in the 3rd inning, all but ending the Marlins chances to win the series before they even got into the game today.
Meanwhile the Marlins have promoted future rotation mainstay Andrew Heaney to triple A New Orleans. Heaney has been sparkling this season, compiling a 2.35 ERA in Jacksonville prior to his great debut for the Zephyrs. He struck out 7 in 5 innings allowing only 1 run.
I am not looking for Miami to call him up early to get his free agent clock started, but if I was Dan Jennings, I would be holding the phone in my hand waiting for the minute that I could make that call without costing him a year on his contract. When that moment happens, baseball will finally see what many of us that follow the Fish have been saying for a while now. Andrew Heaney is a future ace and will carry this team in Fernandez’s absence. Lets just hope that the Miami front office realized this as well.