Justin Nicolino looking to improve in second start

MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: Justin Nicolino
MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: Justin Nicolino /

An impressive 5-1 homestand has Miami Marlins fans believing again. They’ll look to continue their hot play against the New York Mets on Friday.

The Miami Marlins have managed to pull within three games of .500 after an impressive performance at home. They’ll look to take their hard-hitting show on the road. Following a sweep of the Rockies, and a series victory of the San Francisco Giants, Miami is all atwitter.

They draw an ice cold New York Mets team at Citi Field. The Mets, losers of four consecutive games against the New York Yankees have fallen off this season. Expected to compete for a wildcard, their season has been even more disappointing than that of the Marlins.

Two teams headed in opposite directions will meet on Friday for the start of a three-game series.

Nicolino gets second start

The Miami Marlins are committing to the Justin Nicolino experiment for the rest of the season. the left-hander has the rest of August and September to prove he is a viable Major League Baseball pitcher. In seven starts this season, he’s failed to go at least five innings more than once.

Nicolino opened the season by tossing six innings against the Braves, allowing only one earned run. Since then, he’s struggled, paving the way to his eventual demotion. The Miami Marlins, desperate for pitchers, decided they’d give him one last chance in the waning months of 2017.

His performance was middling when he returned. He went 5.1 innings, allowed only one earned run while throwing 88 pitches.

The Miami Marlins management would like to see him throw a little deeper into the game this time around. Pitch count will be the determining factor in how deep he stays in the game.

Even with a strong finish to the season, and a strong spring training, Nicolino won’t be guaranteed a spot in the rotation in 2018. Competition will be fierce, and his struggles in the past have dug him into a hole. The team would be thrilled if he suddenly put it all together, but they appear skeptical.

A strong start today is the first step in what would be a long road toward relevancy with the Miami Marlins.

History not on his side

The Mets might not be playing their best baseball, but they have had a fair amount of success against Nicolino in the past. From their perspective, this is the game to get back on track. Active players on their team are hitting .361 lifetime against Nicolino, with five home runs and 10 RBI’s.

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If Nicolino is going to throw six or seven innings on Friday night, he’ll face an uphill climb. Working quickly and keeping the ball in the park are going to be his keys to success. He has a lineup that is capable of putting up a lot of runs, but he has to keep them within striking distance.