The Miami Marlins are getting closer to full strength, something that has not been all to common in 2015. On Wednesday, Henderson Alvarez and Martin Prado were both in the lineup for the Jupiter Hammerheads.
Alvarez pitched just 2 1/3 innings on Wednesday, being taken out after 45 pitches. There is no news of a setback, so he was likely on a pitch limit in his first start game action since May 22nd. Alvarez allowed two runs on three hits, struck out 3 hitters, and walked none.
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The start went as well as expected for someone who was going to obviously have rust not having pitched in nearly two months.
Martin Prado played in his third rehab game, and first game in a week. He went 0-2 before a rain delay halted action in the bottom of the third inning. Prado did not return when the game resumed.
While it’s not clear if Prado is going to get another game in, it’s expected he’ll join the Miami Marlins in Philadelphia on Friday to begin the second half. Jordany Valdespin was presumably out-righted to Triple-A to make room for Prado.
Alvarez is likely ways away. Having pitched in only thrown in 4 games this season, with the last one coming on May 22nd against the Baltimore Orioles, the Marlins will want Alvarez to build his stamina and arm strength back up before he returns to the majors.
To me, an early to late August return makes the most sense for both parties. The 2015 season is already all but lost for the Marlins, so rushing Alvarez back would not be a wise idea.
Starting Rotation Set vs Phillies:
Jose Fernandez will open the second half and the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday evening. Fernandez, who will be making his third start of the season, is coming off a dominating 7 inning start last Tuesday. He struck out 9, walked zero, and allowed no runs on 6 hits.
Fernandez has now thrown 13 innings in 2015, struck out 15, and not walked a single hitter. Two of the three runs he’s allowed this season came in the first inning of his return, on July 2nd vs the San Francisco Giants.
Dan Haren is on the bump for the second game after the break, slotting behind Jose. Haren owns a 3.24 ERA and a 4.14 FIP in 111 innings of work. He’ coming off an okay start, as he went 6 innings, allowed one run on five hits, but struck out just three and walked three.
While Haren has arguably been the Marlins most consistent starter, in terms of ERA, in 2015, he’s a candidate to regress in a major way in the second half. With Haren on the trade block, Marlins fans hope the team deal him before the regression hits.
Finally, in shocking news, Tom Koehler is penciled in to start the third and final game in Philly. This is surprising because it means Mat Latos‘ injury might be worse than the team has let on. Latos missed his final start last week, with rookie Adam Conley filling in, due to a foot injury he sustained while in the dugout.
An injury would certainly hurt the trade value of Latos, so maybe the Miami Marlins are be more cautions, as Latos is expected to draw interest on the trade market, as the trading deadline looms.
Latos owns an ugly 4.90 ERA on the season, but his 3.50 FIP is a better indicator of how he’s pitched this season. He has also been a much better pitcher since his return from the DL after resting his knee.
Koehler, who has been the Marlins 4th starter much of the season, owns a 3.40 ERA and a 4.48 FIP in 98 innings of work. He is a trade candidate for the team as well.
It will be hard for the second half of the Miami Marlins season to be as disappointing or odd as the first half. Jose Fernandez will be on the mound Friday and (hopefully) for all of the second half. He alone will make the second half more exciting for the team.
Correction: Koehler will start the second game with Haren going game 3.
But don’t tell that to the Marlins other starters, it might upset them.