Aug 16, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez (37) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Remember when the Marlins made that trade with the Toronto Blue Jays a couple years ago, and everyone around baseball complained that the team was just dumping away its expensive players and got almost nothing good in return? (Of course you do, you were one of those people.) Well, the Marlins got Henderson Alvarez who, at the time, looked nothing if unimpressive based on his numbers pitching for the Toronto in 2011 and ’12.
Give the Marlins front office its dues for seeing a diamond in the rough in Alvarez. After he recovered from his injury in 2013, he immediately helped Miami and cemented himself as a solid middle of the rotation starter. That season of course culminated with his no-hitter on Closing Day (also my birthday — cool brag) and in 2014 Alvarez assumed the role of the Marlins ace after Jose Fernandez‘s elbow injury.
Alvarez was so good last year that he earned his first All-Star nod and actually received Cy Young votes, finishing the season with a 2.65 ERA and a league-best three complete game shutouts. A guy who two years ago ne’er a Marlins fan knew his name, Alvarez has quickly become a fan favorite and all signs point towards him throwing the first pitch of the regular season at Marlins Park on April 6.
If you can only make one game this season, make sure it’s Opening Day. Not only are the Marlins opening the season against a bitter division rival in the Atlanta Braves, but you get to see the Alvarez eephus pitch to start the ballgame, and one of the more exciting young pitchers in the National League kick off another season of Marlins baseball.
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