Twenty-five games into the 2019 season, and the rotation has gone five times through.
If you think that Caleb Smith is proving to be the staff ace, then you would be correct. The other four starters have experienced varying degrees of success, each with good games and bad. I had been basing this series of articles on GameScore, but have since adopted Tom Tango’s Game Score Version 2.0, which penalizes equally for hits and walks, equally for runs whether earned or unearned, and adds a penalty for home runs allowed. I use the last 10 starts, weighted so that more recent starts count more than ones from awhile ago. Here’s how the five shake out.
Caleb Smith 65.05
GameScore: 62, 47, 74, 71, 67
In Caleb Smith’s last start, last night against the Philadelphia Phillies, he earned a no decision after six innings of work. During that time, he allowed one walk and three hits (including a solo homer) while striking out eight. Although it was only his third best start of the season, it was the sixth best start (by GameScore) that any Miami Marlins pitcher turned in through this point in 2019.
Through his five games, Smith has collected 37 strikeouts in 29 innings of work, 11.5 K’s per nine innings. He has surrendered 17 hits and seven walks for a 0.828 WHIP. If the rotation continues their current pattern, his next start will be on Wednesday in Miami’s season-finale against the Cleveland Indians.
Pablo López 56.175
GameScore: 60, 35, 45, 58, 76
Pablo Lopez‘ last start, on Tuesday was by far his best showing of the campaign. He kept the Indians hitless until the sixth inning, and after 6 1/3 innings had collected six strikeouts while allowing one unearned run on two hits and two walks.
Lopez is now 2-3 with 29 K’s in 26 1/3 innings. He’s allowed five walks and given up 26 hits for a 1.177 WHIP and a 5.2 K/BB rate. His next start will be Sunday in the series finale of this four-game set against the Phillies.
Trevor Richards 54.05
GameScore: 65, 52, 71, 40, 48
Trevor Richards, who opened the season as the number two starter in the Miami Marlins rotation, actually ranks second in the rotation going by the original GameScore. His last start, this past Sunday, would see him last 6 1/3 innings and notch his fourth Quality Start in five games. He struck out seven and gave up three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. The Marlins couldn’t get anything going offensively, a recurring trend for Richards, who has gone 0-3 this season due to the lack of offense.
So far, Richards has struck out 28 in 29 innings while allowing 20 hits and 16 walks. He’s at 1.241 WHIP so far. He’s slated to start on Saturday against the Phillies.
Sandy Alcantara 51.5
GameScore: 86, 40, 32, 52, 54
Sandy Alcantara walked four and allowed four hits in five innings on Wednesday in a 6-2 loss to Cleveland. Despite those lukewarm results, it counted as his second-best start of the season. He struck out two and allowed two runs, but only one of them earned.
Clearly in ownership of ace potential, Alcantara struggles with his control, but he’s been better this season. He’s struck out 21 in 28 innings while allowing 30 hits and 12 walks. A 1.500 WHIP is the yield of his efforts thus far. His next start is the Marlins series opener against the Indians on Tuesday.
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José Ureña 43.025
GameScore: 26, 37, 34, 66, 44
A lot has already been written about José Ureña and his slow start to the season. Three bad starts and three losses to open the season, a solid no-decision last week, and his first win of the year on Saturday, in Miami’s 9-3 victory against the Washington Nationals. It wasn’t his best start, but it was enough to defeat Max Scherzer. He earned the win despite giving up eight hits and a walk over six innings. Only three runs scored on him, and he struck out four to finish with a Quality Start.
Ureña is still a net-negative for the season, but slowly recovering. He’s 1-3 and has allowed a National League high 39 hits over 26 2/3 innings. He’s got 21 K’s and has walked six, with a 1.688 WHIP. He’s going tomorrow night against the Phillies in game two of the series.
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