The World Baseball Classic has affected the Miami Marlins. Two starting pitchers had big starts yesterday for their WBC teams... Jesus Luzardo for Venezuela and Johnny Cueto for the Dominican Republic. Both starts stood out to me and I'd like to explain why, as well as take a look at how these starts may be previewing their performances this upcoming season. Luzardo and Cueto are integral parts of The Fish's rotation this season.
Jesus Luzardo and Johnny Cueto had two very different starts yesterday.
Jesus Luzardo lived up to his future ace billing with a dominant performance against Israel. In the 5-1 Venezuela win, he delivered 4 innings of shutout ball, giving up 4 hits and a walk, and adding 5 strikeouts to the performance. Luzardo naturally earned himself a win as well. This is everything that Venezuela could've hoped for, and is a sign of what the Miami Marlins can expect this season as well.
Luzardo hadn't been as great in Spring Training unfortunately, having a 5.19 ERA in his 3 games so far. I fully expect the ace version of Luzardo to show up during the season, as he likely steps in as The Fish's #2 starter and second ace. It's having the likes of Jesus Luzardo in the rotation that keeps me very optimistic about the Miami Marlins this upcoming season.
Johnny Cueto wasn't as sharp to say the least. He gave up 4 hits and 3 runs in 2 innings of work, though he did get 2 strikeouts as well. He was also credited with a loss. Making things worse, his start directly led to the Dominican Republic being eliminated from the WBC by their rivals Puerto Rico. Dominican Republic were actually one of the favorites going into the tournament! This was a stunning elimination and Cueto unfortunately has to take some of the blame.
Cueto hasn't been particularly good all of Spring Training in fact. He has a 27.00 ERA in 2 games so far. This isn't very promising for one of the Miami Marlins' biggest off-season acquisitions. Can Cueto turn it around by the time the season starts? I sure hope so.