Will Jose Urena pick up where he left off in 2018 and lead the Miami Marlins pitching staff once again?
How odd is it that for all the stories about the Miami Marlins pitching this spring, little has been written about Jose Urena? The 27-year-old righty is about to take the mound in the team’s opener for the second year in a row. Marlins face the Colorado Rockies later this afternoon in the opener for both franchises. For the Urena it’s a chance to continue to progress after a successful second half of 2018.
Urena finished with a 9-12 record last season with a 3.98 ERA. The record does not tell the entire story as he could not buy a win in the first half of the season, going 2-9. The second half was a different story, where he posted a 7-3 record and was as dominant as any starter in the National League.
The Marlins hope he can resume the same kind of pitching to start the season, but the situation is different than it was even a week ago. Now that Dan Straily has been released and Wei-Yin Chen has been moved to the bullpen, it is up to Urena to serve not only as the ace but the leader on the mound. This is an inexperienced rotation, so Urena must take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to him.
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He must also count on a lineup that will not win games with one swing of the bat.
"Per Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlins.com, “Through their first 26 major league seasons, the Miami Marlins have collected 11 Opening Day wins against 15 losses. After splitting their first 22 season with an 11-11 record, they have dropped their last four contests.The Marlins have never opened against the Colorado Rockies.”"
Taking the mound for Urena tomorrow continues a success story that may not have happened prior to the 2017 season. He came to Spring Training having to make the Marlins roster since he was out of options.
Faced with being released if he did not make the 25-man roster, Urena became a long reliever and was moved to the rotation because of injuries.
He remained their the rest of the year, posting a 14-8 record.
Urena will be joined in the rotation by Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith. All four youngsters showed flashes of success during the 2018 season. New pitching coach will work to make sure the rotation remains balanced like it was in Spring Training.