Marlins starter Jose Urena finding his groove once again

MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Jon Berti #55 of the Miami Marlins hugs starting pitcher Jose Urena #62 after he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park on May 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Jon Berti #55 of the Miami Marlins hugs starting pitcher Jose Urena #62 after he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park on May 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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Marlins No. 1 pitcher Jose Urena has been as good as any pitcher in the baseball, winning his last three games and proving he is still a starter who can dominate on the mound.

Jose Urena is finally hitting his stride. After a 1-6 start this season, the Marlins No. 1 starter has a personal three-game winning streak and showed on Saturday night he can pitch through adversity and remain effective when his team needs him the most.

It looked like it would be a long night for Urena, who gave up a home run to slugger Josh Naylor in the second inning on Saturday night in a 9-3 win over the San Diego Padres. However, the 27-year-old righty settled down to give Miami another effective outing and helping the team get to a 10-5 record in their last 15 games.

This is the Urena the Marlins thought he would be at the start of 2019 – the leader of a young pitching staff that was void of Dan Straily who was released prior to Opening Day and Wei-Yin Chen, who has been used sparingly in the bullpen as a long reliever.

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If Miami is going to continue to gain traction on this season, Urena will need to remain the leader of the young rotation.

"“When you get the run support, it’s pretty good,” said Urena, who improved to 4-6 this season and 1-3 lifetime vs. the Padres. “You just want to hold the game. If you hold the game, good things can happen.”"

His turnaround could not have happened at a better time given Caleb Smith has not been lights out like he was at the beginning of the year. Three straight losses by the lefty after a 3-0 start. It’s as if the pitchers have flopped seasons. While Smith still strikes out batters and has looked good overall in 2019, his last three starts have brought him back down to earth, so to speak.

Urena finished 2018 with a 9-12 record but was one of the best pitchers in baseball the second half of the season. Manager Don Mattingly and his staff hoped their “ace” would continue to build on his 2018 performance. A lack of runs hurt him to begin the season. Whatever the magic elixir is that the Marlins hitters have found must have rubbed off on Urena as well.

"“I hope we’re turning in the right direction. The good thing about this group in here is they’re pretty steady. We’ve got some good older guys that keep things in perspective and go about their business in the right way,” Mattingly added."

Next. Marlins score nine runs in win over Padres. dark

"“This group has hung together and kept fighting. Our pitching has been good pretty much all the time. They give us a chance to win games. Now that we’re swinging the bats a little bit, you feel a lot more competitive.”"

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