Miami Marlins: Four Lessons Learned in Series Loss to Atlanta Braves

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 01: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on April 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 01: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on April 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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In no big surprise to anyone, the Miami Marlins dropped the rubber match of their three-game series at SunTrust Park, against the Atlanta Braves.

The Miami Marlins played the Braves solid for eight-and-a-half innings, entering the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at three. Adam Conley didn’t have his best stuff, however, and the Braves walked it off with a 4-3 victory. Here’s a few things we learned.

KKKKKKKaleb Smith’s Quality Start

In Caleb Smith‘s first start, he struck out eight over five innings of work. Today, he whiffed seven over six frames, giving him 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, or a K/9 rate of 12.27. Is that really sustainable? My sources say yes.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 7: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins throws a first inning pitch against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 7, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Smith allowed three earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Unfortunately, half of those hits were over the fence, courtesy of a Freddie Freeman two-run shot in the first and a two-out solo homer by Dansby Swanson in the fourth.

Smith put 57-of-86 pitches over the plate, and left the game as the losing pitcher of record, trailing the Braves 3-2.

Tyler Kinley is a Major League Pitcher

The early returns are in, and Tyler Kinley is showing that he belongs.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 4: Tyler Kinley #39 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

After surrendering nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings with the Minnesota Twins early last season, Kinley, lost to Minnesota via rule 5 draft, was returned to the Miami Marlins. In 7 2/3 innings, he allowed another six earned runs, to close the season with a 12.27 ERA. But that was a pretty small sample size.

Since opening the 2019 campaign with the Miami Marlins parent club, Kinley has struck out eight, walked two, and allowed only one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. It’s also a small sample size, but Kinley (along with Sergio Romo) may be exactly what the Miami Marlins need to fill the void left by Nick Wittgren and Kyle Barraclough.

Starlin Castro is, Once Again, a .300 Hitter

Starlin Castro was the lone Miami Marlins to put up multiple hits against the Braves, going two-for-four with a double and a strikeout. The performance gives Castro 12 hits in 40 at bats to start the 2019 season, a .300 average.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FLORIDA – APRIL 01: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins hits an RBI single in the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on April 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Castro, who is a four-time all-star, has hit .300 in three full major league seasons, last in 2017 while playing for the New York Yankees. There’s no reason to think he can’t repeat the trick in Marlins’ black-and-blue.

Minor Setbacks

The Miami Marlins minor league affiliate system had five games on tap on Sunday afternoon, and lost four of them. Only the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp earned a win, one-of-two in a doubleheader against the Jackson Generals.

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Notable: Parker Bugg pitched two perfect innings of relief with the Shrimp. Riley Mahan and Jeff Nelson each went two-for-four for the Jupiter Hammerheads. Austin Dean was two-for-four with three RBI for the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Jerar Encarnacion (two-for-three, .571), Bubba Hollins (two-for-four, .364), and Demetrius Sims (two-for-three, .429) remained hot for the Clinton LumberKings. Peyton Culbertson was lifted one out from a “Quality Start”, and struck out six while allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings.

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