Losing has been a hard pill to swallow for this young Miami Marlins pitching staff, especially when rookies Trevor Richards and Pablo Lopez looked strong in their last outings.
There are no moral victories in baseball, but the recent success of the Miami Marlins starters, Trevor Richards and Pablo Lopez give manager Don Mattingly and the organization hope for the remainder of 2018.
It also gives the front office pause when it gets ready to plan for the future of this staff. Both pitchers, along with Sandy Alcantara, are the future of this organization.
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I have had the pleasure of watching both Richards and Lopez during their time here in Jacksonville with the Jumbo Shrimp. Richards wasn’t as effective last season as Lopez, who dominated the opposition this season, but both figures to be part of this rotation’s future.
"Per MLB.com, “Trevor Richards, who went five innings and allowed a lone run in the third on Rhys Hoskins’ RBI single. Richards struck out seven, walked two and stranded five. He owns a 2.55 ERA over his last eight starts, and that number.”"
The Marlins lost 5-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Lopez has shown flashes of the same brilliance he displayed at Double-A and Triple-A, striking out big leaguers with ease. In the 5-2 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night, he retired the first 17 batters he faced.
These are the kind of performances that helped the Marlins play better ball in June and July.
"“This is a foundation for where we’re going,” Mattingly said following Lopez’s outing. “We’re going to continue to play the game right, continue to get prepared.”"
If the bullpen could hold a lead over the last week, this is a ballclub that could have been a spoiler in the playoff race. Heck, they still can if the puzzle pieces fit a little better.
Lopez allowed just five hits and struck out five. This was the first time he did not walk a batter. He credited the conversation he had with catcher J.T. Realmuto for setting the tone for the night. Mattingly continues to be impressed with Lopez on the mound.
"“Pablo is just staying on the hunt,” Mattingly said. “He’s a strike thrower. Being able to throw the ball in. I think in general, the way he pitches is fun to watch. He’s pretty up-tempo.”"
With 50-plus games remaining in the season, Mattingly will continue to follow his young pitchers closely and also assess his remaining starters. There could be more turnover after this season, but both youngsters figure to remain a big part of what this team looks to do in 2019 and beyond.