The Marlins have more pitching decisions to make after this past weekend’s showcase of young talent.
Three solid pitching performances over the weekend by the Miami Marlins. Only one win to show for the players’ efforts. Once again, the continuity between good pitching and good hitting was lost in a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants that the visiting team dropped.
It was yet another series the franchise could have easily won if manager Don Mattingly could muster some support from the team’s starting lineup.
In reading Chris Haft’s story on MLB.com, the outings by Sandy Alcantara, Robert Dugger, and Elieser Hernandez were solid and showed more progress in the rotation for the future. But at some point, when is there going to be accountability for the hitters who have let this team down on many an occasion this season?
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"“The Marlins dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Giants, 2-1. Reliever Ryne Stanek’s bases-loaded wild pitch enabled Mike Yastrzemski to score the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning,” Haft wrote. “But the setback did not reflect poorly on Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez, who yielded one run and three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out a career-high nine.”"
Hernandez, like Dugger, is attempting to make a statement heading into the offseason, trying to win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, and unseating any one of the four starters entrenched for next season. It’s hard making an impression when you have more losses on your record than victories.
The Marlins hierarchy will take their time in assessing which young arms may jump over existing starters in the rotation. Despite the outcome of the game, Sunday may have been Hernandez’s best start of the season. Dugger has also been effective in his past few starts.
"“For the series, Hernandez and fellow starters Sandy Alcantara and Robert Dugger combined to allow four runs in 18 1/3 innings,” Haft adds. “That’s a 1.96 ERA. They also struck out 18 batters while walking just three and allowing 17 hits.”"
The Marlins have also had issues in starts by Caleb Smith, who has pitched well but has dealt with high pitch counts of late. Alcantara has had some of the best pitching performances of the season in a Miami uniform, but outside the state of Florida, you would not know that by his win-loss record.
"“Alcantara has resembled a National League Cy Young Award candidate in recent weeks, working at least seven innings in six of his past seven starts. He has compiled a 2.49 ERA in that span,” Haft wrote.“Dugger has benefited from the attrition in the Marlins’ rotation, rising from Double-A Jacksonville since the beginning of the season.”"
It makes for interesting conversation this offseason and more work for the Marlins front office and coaching staff. If anything, it speaks to the measures this organization has taken in the past two seasons to make sure there is enough pitching depth for the foreseeable future.