Caleb Smith takes the mound as the Miami Marlins take a two-game winning streak into a series against National League East rival the New York Mets.
Now, it’s Caleb Smith’s turn. As the Miami Marlins ride a two-game winning streak and face their National League rival the New York Mets, it’s a chance to see if Smith can sow the same kind of form his fellow pitchers have done so far this season.
It’s early yet, but this pitching staff has a chance to be special. After watching Sandy Alcantara pitch a gem for eight innings on Sunday, Smith and the batting order could give the team a three-game winning streak.
The storyline for this season so far has been about starting pitching. The area of concern last season was finding five quality starters in the rotation to be competitive. The front office and the coaching staff have worked to make the puzzle pieces fit. So far, things are falling into place.
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As Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlin Maniac pointed out on Sunday evening, Smith, who was 5-6 last season before suffering a season-ending injury, and his teammates are writing a solid story to this season so far.
Yesterday’s win continues to show this team might be better than expected.
"“Alcantara put together the best outing yet in today’s contest. He tossed 92 pitches over eight innings of work, plating 66 of them and surrendering only four hits,” he writes. “Alcantara kept the Rockies scoreless, struck out six, and also pitched in with a base hit in the fifth inning.”"
Caleb Smith came to Spring Training still healing from a lat injury that required surgery but showed no signs of it stopping him. He was dominant at times on the mound and worked to secure his place on the 25-man rotation.
His ability to come back even stronger than he was prior to his injury was one of the reasons Marlins manager Don Mattingly moved Wei-Yin Chen to the bullpen and the team announced the release of veteran starter Dan Straily.
The last time Smith took the mound in a Major League game was June 24 of last year. He was leading all rookie pitchers in strikeouts at the time. The lefty also gives the Marlins a different look on the mound when he faces Mets batters.
Caleb Smith had 88 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings. His fastball is his best pitch, with 25 percent of his strikeouts coming from it. He will be opposed by Steven Matz of the Mets.