Miami Marlins at Milwaukee Brewers: Three stories to watch
The End Of Justin Nicolino?
It does seem that the Miami Marlins have come to that decision, and will be tapping someone else for Saturday’s start. To be fair, Justin Nicolino did have the Herculean task of keeping Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant in check in his two outings since returning from the DL.
But it hasn’t so much been the runs allowed with Nico as it has the innings pitched: he’s only made it out of the fourth inning once in five 2017 appearances. Yes, one of those was on account of injury, but there’s no arguing he has been a drain on the bullpen every time out.
To be honest, I’m somewhat impressed with the front office here. I thought for sure he would draw one more start, with this weekend’s appearance being a make or break one for him. Provided the rest of the Miami Marlins did their part.
Tom Koehler has been looking considerably more solid down on the farm in AAA. As has 28 yr old AA hurler named Mike Kickham. If the Marlins came up empty on another Nicolino day, but still managed to win this series, the Fish brass might decide to…well, try. If the Fish start to flounder again, say by losing consecutive series, then there would have been less incentive to make a move.
And The Next Miami Marlins Starter Is….
But it appears the club is trying to inject a little bit of life now, which is to their credit. This could also just be about saving the bullpen from the wear and tear Nicolino tends to inflict on them. In any event, someone new will be taking the mound Saturday for Miami.
Koehler was pulled from his scheduled start Thursday for New Orleans, with Odrisamer Despaigne taking his place. That both suggests Koehler is getting the nod, as well as burns another Marlins spot starter favorite.
That seems all but decided, and the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer suggested as much Wednesday. There’s a lot to read into who is ultimately picked though.
If it isn’t Koehler, then it would seem certain he remains on the trade block, and the front office wants him to keep padding his stats. If it is Koehler, then it could all be about seeing if he could look good enough against MLB competition to bolster his value. Or he could be back to stay.
Expect a short leash though on whoever it is, with not even a second start against St. Louis guaranteed if they falter.