The Future is Now for These Miami Marlins
By David Levin
Two nights. Two rookie pitchers. Two wins. The future is now for the Miami Marlins. If the last two nights of baseball, with both Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez winning in their rookie debuts don’t have Marlins’ fans excited about the future, then maybe we need to examine what is happening down in south Florida.
For the many times I have read Glenn Geffner telling fans to “trust the process” or see the team’s mantra “Just Gettin’ Started” across social media, I now know the future of this organization is brighter than it has been in some time. When we hear co-owner Derek Jeter preach about being patient and he would bring a winning franchise back to South Florida, maybe we should have listened to him like E.F. Hutton.
My point with all this is these Marlins are going to be good. It might not be this year. It might not be 2019. But in the near future, Miami will become the baseball team Jeter and fellow owner Bruce Sherman envisioned. It began by tearing the organization down and building it back up, player by player, game by game.
Lopez overcame a rocky start to beat the New York Mets 5-2. The night before, Alcantara showed flashes of his power on the mound in an 8-2 win. The victory on Saturday night launched the Marlins out of the National League East cellar and provided a bit of a breather for manager Don Mattingly and his clubhouse.
Trust in the system and everything will be alright.
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With the news of Jose Urena potentially returning from a shoulder impingement this week and Dan Straily completing his five-game suspension, Mattingly has to feel better about his rotation – something he has played musical chairs with all season long.
This is still a roster full of youth and inexperience, sprinkled with veterans for balance. The road is still bumpy, but avoiding 100 losses for the season seems a bit more reasonable. It’s enough to build on, both for the organization and its dwindling fan base.
I watched Lopez mow down batters here in Jacksonville before he was promoted to the Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans. His dominance and control, evident of a 0.62 ERA with 51 strikeouts and eight walks in 43 2/3 innings, was one of the best samples of any pitcher I have seen walk through the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in a decade. The stadium has been the home for several top-flight pitchers, including Tom Seaver and Clayton Kershaw.
While I expect both Lopez and Alcantara to go through their own growing pains as rookies, I hope the good will overshadow the bad. This team has talent and could make the second half of 2018 interesting. The additions on the pitching staff also give Mattingly more options in setting his bullpen and making changes in the rotation as needed.
The fans and media have had plenty to say about what Jeter and the organization have done wrong since taking over the franchise last October. Now, it may be time to sing his praises as this appears to be a turning point in the 2018 season. We won’t really know until the next outing for either rookie. But, it’s something to get excited about.
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In a season with 50 losses already on the books, every little positive thing is a reason to celebrate. This little celebration might turn into something big as the team makes the turn toward the second half of the Major League season.
Now there is hope rather than despair. It might be shortlived. But for the fans in South Florida, seeing the future now might be well worth the excitement it brought over the weekend.