As Caleb Smith gets set to take his last turn in the Marlins rotation, he could become the only starter on the staff this season to post a winning record.
Can Caleb Smith do something no other Miami Marlins starting pitcher has done this season? Can the veteran get to 11 wins, which would give him an above .500 record for 2019. Right now, Smith sits at 10-10, which was not how it looked he would finish the season after a blistering start and a 3-0 record.
The way the Marlins staff has looked this season – like aces stacked in a row at one point in the year, and inconsistent neophytes looking for direction the majority of the time, Smith’s accomplishment is something for himself and the franchise to be proud of.
The left-handed pitcher stands on the rubber tonight trying to erase his issues on the road this season. He also faces Zach Eflin, who has a losing record for the Philadelphia Phillies this season.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
Smith, who was acquired last season in a trade with the New York Yankees, has been more than expected once he joined the team’s roster and dealt with a season-ending injury in 2018.
The dominance on the mound has been apparent at times as Smith as 167 strikeouts in 150 2/3 innings, but the long ball has been one of his weaknesses this season. He has a 5.03 ERA on the road this season and 21 of the 31 home runs he has surrendered in 2019 have come away from Marlins Park.
While Eflin has not had a stellar season, he has been more consistent of late. He is 2-2 in his last seven starts with a 3.13 ERA. For 2019, he is 9-13 with a 4.16 ERA and 123 strikeouts.
This is game No. 161 for the ball club, who close out the season tomorrow in Philadelphia.
Smith’s last start of the season could also be an audition of sorts for next year. Manager Don Mattingly must decide where he fits in the rotation. He could clearly be the team’s No. 1 starter or fall in line behind Sandy Alcantara.
At the beginning of the season, Smith was Miami’s No. 5 guy, right behind Alcantara in the rotation.