A quick exit by Caleb Smith in a 9-6 loss to the Washington Nationals is one of the reasons the Marlins might be worried about their starting pitching.
No sooner are we done talking about how the Miami Marlins are a better team than their record indicates, and a six-game winning streak is a sign of improvement, the team goes and loses three games in a row. All that discussion of being better than their record indicated is thrown out the window.
Now, it’s starting rotation the front office and coaching staff has to worry about while the hitting is coming around. It’s called baseball growing pains, but in the case of the Marlins, it might be an illness there is no cure for over the next couple of seasons.
The Marlins dropped their third of a four-game set with the Washington Nationals 9-6 on Sunday. But instead of Caleb Smith coming through and making things better, the team’s ace this season was rocked for four runs in the third inning and Miami fell behind by nine runs before trying to mount a comeback.
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"“Smith (3-2) turned in his shortest start of the season, allowing a season-high five runs on five hits and two walks over three innings as his ERA climbed from 2.38 to 3.05,” writes Harvey Valentine of MLB.com. “Smith had allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his nine previous starts.”"
All of this Jekyll and Hyde this past week has us confused as to which team the Marlins have become. And when a 16-34 record so far, what happens the remaining 112 games of the season? There is plenty to talk about with this franchise. In many cases, losing means stagnation. Now, we can sit and analyze whether Smith is truly the No. 1 guy on the staff, if Sandy Alcantara can only give the team a masterpiece once a month and if there is going to be a move to bring minor league sensation Zac Gallen to replace one of the starters?
The scene in Miami might make for a good move with its colorful beauty and great nightlife. At the ballpark, the roller coaster is more like a nightmare.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote the other day the pitching is getting better for this franchise. That has been the focus of the organization since new ownership lead by Derek Jeter took over the business. But as the Marlins hover around the middle of the pack in terms of innings pitched by its starting five, let’s not lose sight that Alcantara, Smith and Pablo Lopez all struggled the last three starts.
Let’s also not lose sight of the fact Wei-Yin Chen gave up four runs on six hits in three innings. His ERA is now 9.33 for the season.
The Marlins continue with the final game of the series today at 1:05 PM. Jose Urena, 2-6 with a 4.30 ERA, tries to gain the victory as he goes to the mound. Max Scherzer takes the ball for the Nationals. He has a 2-5 record with a 3.41 ERA this season.