Tonight at 8:15PM EDT, the Miami Marlins will open a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, at Busch Stadium.
The Miami Marlins play the St. Louis Cardinals seven times every year, but this year those seven games happen over a 10-day span. The two clubs faced off last week and Miami lost two-of-three. Elieser Hernandez (0-1, 5.87) pitched well but took the loss in the first “replacement” starter start of the season. Jordan Yamamoto (1-0, 0.00) made his major league debut the following night, tossing seven scoreless innings and giving up only three hits in a 9-0 Marlins victory.
Hernandez is looking to settle a score with the Birds after whiffing seven in 5 2/3 innings but surrendering three earned runs. Aside from Caleb Smith (3-4, 3.41) sitting on the 10-day injured list and Jose Urena (4-7, 4.70) getting transferred to the 60-day list, the rotation has remained unchanged since opening day. Yamamoto will follow Hernandez, then Trevor Richards (3-7, 3.68) and Pablo Lopez (5-5, 4.23) will finish up the series before the Marlins head to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies. The three games against the Phils start an 18-game span where the Marlins will remain in-division, with two series each against the Phillies and the Nationals, as well as one series each against the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves.
Urena is expected out for at least eight to 10 more turns in the rotation, while Smith should return much sooner. With the other three principles in the rotation putting up solid numbers, it looks as if Hernandez and Yamamoto will be competing for Urena’s spot for the time being. Look for developments in that in-team battle over the next start or two.
Hernandez can make a strong case with a dominant performance tonight. Here’s the analysis from rotowire.com:
"Hernandez made his first big-league start of the season and pitched well, generating 14 called strikes and 18 swinging strikes. He held the Cardinals to just one run through five innings before allowing a double and infield single early in the sixth frame. He exited after getting the second out of the inning, though a throwing error allowed his second earned run to cross the plate prior to his departure. Overall, it was an encouraging outing for 24-year-old who has also posted an impressive 1.13 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 69 strikeouts across 48 innings at Triple-A New Orleans. He’ll likely get another turn in the rotation, with both Caleb Smith (hip) and Joe Urena (undisclosed) hitting the injured list. His next scheduled start is currently Tuesday at St. Louis."
The prognostication specialists at rotowire were more bearish on Yamamoto:
"The Marlins’ decision not to send Yamamoto back to Double-A Jacksonville immediately following his MLB debut Wednesday telegraphed the organization’s intention of keeping him in the big-league rotation. With Jose Urena (back) recently joining Caleb Smith (hip) on the injured list, there will be room for both Yamamoto and Elieser Hernandez to make another turn versus the Cardinals during the upcoming week. With the rematch coming on the road, Yamamoto may be hard pressed to replicate the seven shutout innings he delivered in Miami a few days ago."
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Whatever happens, I’ll be watching. The Miami Marlins fascinating transition from a laughing-stock to a legitimate contender is well underway, although casual observers will not realize it by just scanning the box scores. Brian Anderson is proving a defensive dynamo at both third base and in right field, Harold Ramirez is hitting everything in sight and playing his way into the National League Rookie of the Year conversation, and the rotation has been better than advertised.
"He is an offensive threat every time he stands in the batter’s box and with the emergence of Garrett Cooper since returning from the I.L., the ball club has counted on their bats to help matters when the team has needed them most. – David Levin, Marlin Maniac"
The Miami Marlins have 34 Quality Starts thus far this season, which just over half of the 67 games the Marlins have in the books and tied for fourth in the major league behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (44), the Houston Astros (42), and the Washington Nationals (36). Sandy Alcantara (5), Richards (7), Lopez (7), Urena (8), and Smith (6) performances indicate that the talent is – if not uniform – then at least comparable, and surely of major league caliber.
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