The Miami Marlins finished their 2018 home schedule with three straight wins and the hope better things are in store for this franchise in the future.
It could not have gone better for the Miami Marlins in their last homestand of the 2018 season. Three straight wins, more consistency from the pitching staff and a renewed hope this is what the future will bring fans in south Florida.
While the rebuilding of this franchise is still in the foundation stage and how this team’s roster might look next season is part of the great unknown, Trevor Richards and this young pitching staff make me a bit excited (I am a baseball fan first, writer second). If you are a glass-half-full kind of Marlins fan, there is only one way to travel.
Onward and upward.
"“The rookie right-hander pitched like he got his second wind on Sunday afternoon and turned in a dominant performance in his final home start,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote."
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Richards struck out nine Reds batters over seven innings. It was the continuation of the maturation process of a rookie on the mound. While Richards record for the season may not show progress, the organization has a building block to work with, a player who can fill the second or third pitching spot in the rotation.
Whoever else makes up the other four spots is going to be a great debate this offseason.
"“Trevor, obviously, was really good today,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “His changeup was really good today. We talk about him having command, when you’re able to get ahead in the count.His changeup, he really had a good one today. It looked like it was down in the zone. They hadn’t seen him much, either. So it’s a team that’s a little bit young, so you have guys who haven’t seen that change.”"
The Marlins as an organization have done exactly what they said they would do this year. They have taken a roster and analyzed it to the extreme and focused on finding the right parts to complete a complicated puzzle. The puzzle isn’t finished yet.
There are still interchangeable parts needed for a completed project.
Richards, Sandy Alcantara, and Jose Urena are just the beginning. Wei-Yin Chen, if he can figure out how to get a victory on the road, figures in this mix as well. So does Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith.
For the first time in years, Miami has a pitching problem – for the better.
The win on Sunday was a personal one for Richards, who has not found the last two months to be anything but an act of frustration. He had not won since July 14. He had posted an 11.12 ERA in his first three September starts.
Those kinds of numbers get you sent down to Triple-A.
The Marlins have stuck with Richards this season, who was in the starting rotation the first series of the 2018 season. Other pitchers have dealt with injuries and inconsistency. He has pushed through and looked at his best when Marlins fans needed a glimmer of hope.
The rookie may have needed it as well. The 2018 home schedule is complete and seven games remain on the docket. Miami has 62 wins and needs three more “W’s” to avoid a 100-loss season. If the pitching staff, like Richards, can come around and save their best performances for last, it could be the positive note this organization needs to finalize a disappointing year on the diamond.