Marlins and Richards Open Final Homestand of the Season
By David Levin
The Miami Marlins host the Washington Nationals in what will be the beginning of the final homestand of the 2018 season.
Some Miami Marlins fans will be sad to see the 2018 MLB season end. Some may be upset the season hasn’t ended soon enough. When Trevor Richards takes the mound on Monday against the Washington Nationals, it will be part of the team’s final homestand of the season.
Richards has been riding a pitching roller coaster for the majority of the season but gives the team another young arm its rotation heading into 2019. Richards has a chance to make more of an impact, which could mean he will be a top-of-the-rotation starter. He may not be the ace of the staff, but the 25-year-old could make a case as the No. 2 man in manager Don Mattingly’s top five.
After the Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies to salvage one win in the series, Jose Urena once again showed his late-season progress and solid pitching from a veteran presence.
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Urena pitched five innings of one-run ball while giving up three hits and striking out four batters. He should be part of the conversation as the Opening Day starter next year like he did this season against the Chicago Cubs.
“We feel like he’s thrown the ball good all year, better than his numbers early on,” manager Don Mattingly said. “But lately, he has been on a little bit of a roll.”
Mattingly hopes that is a sign of the future of this pitching staff.
Urena has shown more control on the mound in the last month. His latest outing and the win gave him a 2.16 ERA in his last five starts, which dates back to his one-run complete-game win against Washington four days after being ejected for hitting Acuna with the first pitch on Aug. 15.
He led the Marlins with 14 wins last season. But now, the focus turns to Richards with the hope of gaining momentum for the team at the end of a tumultuous season.
The last time Richards took the mound against the Nationals, it was July 28. He held his opponent to three hits in six scoreless innings and looked every bit as dominant as his stat line showed. Those days of pitching without error have been scarce of late for many of the Marlins starters and certainly the bullpen.
In his past seven starts, Richards has not reached the sixth inning, a sign of youth and poor consistency. On a positive note, he does have the stuff in his array of pitches to hold opponents at bay. From June 23 to August 8 he posted an ERA of 2.81. For the season, Richards is 3-9 with a 4.85 ERA.