Marlins Lopez to Take Bump Against Stanton, Yankees
By David Levin
The Miami Marlins will send rookie pitcher Pablo Lopez to the hill to begin a two-game series with the New York Yankees beginning Tuesday at Marlins Park.
It’s like returning to the scene of the crime. Former Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and the New York Yankees come to Marlins Park on Tuesday to begin a two-game inter-league series where the power hitter makes a return to South Florida. Rookie pitcher Pablo Lopez will get the ball for the first game against the playoff-contending American League East foe.
This is a series that means more than just wins and losses as Stanton comes back to the only other Major League city he has known besides the Big Apple. It also marks the first time the hometown faithful will see their former hero since the team dealt him this offseason.
The deal by then new owner Derek Jeter to his former ballclub began the unraveling of the team’s veteran roster and a continual cycle of questions, concerns, and outrage by fans who have endured more than a decade of losing.
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The Marlins got veteran second baseman Starlin Castro and minor league prospects Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers in return for Stanton – which seems like one of those unfair trades the Cleveland Cavaliers were guilted into by NBA teams in the early 1980s.
Castro has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season for the Marlins.
Lopez will face the Yankees with a 2-3 record and a 4.79 ERA. When he is consistent on the mound, he shows the same kind of flash he did at both Jacksonville and New Orleans that led to his quick trip through Miami’s minor league system.
This is also a chance for Lopez to stake his claim as a possible No. 1 starter for next season. Both he and Sandy Alcantara were called up before the All-Star break. Alcantara has appeared in one game due to injury. Lopez has been part of the rotation since joining the parent club.
Lopez did struggle in his last start against Atlanta. He went 5 1/3 innings but gave up six runs in the process. He has proven to be dominant at times, striking out 38 batters in his eight starts this season with only 12 walks.
Facing a solid Yankees order will be his toughest task of the season so far. The Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka, who has a 9-4 record with a 4.03 ERA and 117 strikeouts this season.