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Pablo Lopez Returns to Marlins

Prior to tonight’s game, the Marlins activated RHP Pablo Lopez from the 10-Day IL and optioned LHP Jose Quijada to Triple-A New Orleans. Lopez has been on the injured list since June 19th with a right shoulder strain. Tonight, he finally makes his return after more than two months out of Major League action.

Before being put on the injured list, Lopez accumulated a 5-5 record with a 4.23 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched. Those are not terrible numbers, in fact, he would have a sub-4 ERA if it weren’t for his disastrous start against the Mets back in May where he allowed 10 earned runs in three innings of work.

Pablo’s time rehabbing in the minors was definitely rough. In five games started, he has an 8.79 ERA and only 14.1 innings pitched. However, he did finish his time in the minors on a positive note. His last start, he logged six innings, allowing one earned run with five strikeouts.

Shoulder injuries are one of the toughest injuries to come back from. Pitchers have to get a feel for their pitches again and have to make sure their mechanics are in sync. It’s definitely a tedious journey but Pablo can definitely bounce back from this injury, he done it before.

In order to make room for Pablo on the roster, Jose Quijada had to be optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Quijada has been struggling lately at the Major League level. In his last seven games, he’s pitched five innings of relief and allowed 8 earned runs with 7 walks. His last appearance against the Phillies didn’t do him any favors. He pitched 0.2 innings, walked four and allowed two earned runs. He has good stuff, just needs to work on his control, like many young pitchers.

Let’s see if we see the same Pablo Lopez tonight who throws pitches like this… (via @IanPostPL)

What Should Marlins do With Surplus of Starting Pitchers in MLB?

The Miami Marlins have one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball. They currently own the 7th best rotation ERA in the league, not just National League, but in all of Major League Baseball. With a 3.92 rotation ERA, they place behind the Rays, Dodgers, Nationals, Reds, Twins, and Astros. 

With the current rotation doing as well as they have, what should the Marlins do when Jose Urena and Pablo Lopez return from the IL?. Personally, I think the Marlins should trade Trevor Richards before/at the deadline. 

Between the staff, Richards has the fourth highest ERA behind Jose Urena, Zac Gallen, and Pablo Lopez. Jose Urena and Pablo Lopez have been on the injured list so they haven’t had a chance to lower their ERAs. Zac Gallen only has twelve major league innings to his name so there’s not much to go off of there. Gallen has shown a lot of promise, just needs to limit his walks.

  • Jose Urena (4.70 ERA)
  • Zac Gallen (4.50 ERA)
  • Pablo Lopez (4.23 ERA) 
  • Trevor Richards (4.18 ERA)

Let’s say Richards has been traded at the deadline, and Urena and Lopez are back from the IL, what should the Marlins do now? Well, there are now seven starting pitchers that could get a rotation spot, but there are only five spots. I say move Urena and Elieser Hernandez to the bullpen.

Urena has the stuff to be in a middle relief type of role and Hernandez already has bullpen experience so I don’t think this is a bad situation

What Could The Rotation Look Like?

Use the rotation that will give the club the best opportunity to win a game, and in my opinion that rotation looks like this:

  • Caleb Smith
  • Sandy Alcantara
  • Jordan Yamamoto
  • Pablo Lopez
  • Zac Gallen

I could make the argument that Yamamoto should be the number one starter or the “Ace” of the staff because of how amazing he has been but he only has 29 innings pitched. As a result, Caleb Smith seemed like the more obvious choice as the front of the rotation pitcher. 

This is a Top 10 in the league rotation, possibly even Top 5. I mean they’re already Top 7 so Top 5 is definitely doable. All the team needs now is some run producing bats and in fact, they’re on their way. A trade for a very highly regarded Cleveland Indian (I won’t say any names) may be possible this offseason if Cleveland decides to sell.

Some impactful free agent bats are also on the Marlins’ radar this offseason as well. Players eligible for free agency this offseason that could be targeted by the Marlins include:

  • Jose Abreu
  • Didi Gregorius 
  • Marcell Ozuna
  • Yasiel Puig
  • Nicholas Castellanos

It’s going to be a fun offseason and the trade deadline is only the beginning. 

Alcántara’s impressive shutout sweeps the Mets

Sandy Alcántara needed only 89 pitches to throw nine shutout innings and complete the sweep for the Miami Marlins against the New York Mets.

Alcántara only allowed two base hits (soft liners) by J.D. Davis and only one runner reached second base, because of his own error in the eight after a chopper hit right to him that caught Starlin Castro in between him and Miguel Rojas.

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The very next hitter swung at the pitch Sandy and Chris Wallach wanted and grounded into the third double play of the night for Alcántara.

That was the only hiccup of his outing, which reminded the few fans that still follow the team how much fun is to sweep a series.

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This was his first career complete game and, of course, the best outing of his career so far.

Sandy struck out eight batters, and lowered his ERA to 4.25, winning his second game of the season, to bring the Marlins’ record to 13-31.

Just enough for Alcántara and López

The Marlins were productive enough with the few hits they got Saturday and Sunday.

Two runs for Pablo López, who was also impressive after getting drilled a week ago by the same team in New York, and three for Sandy to complete the job.

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Rosell Herrera, who got to start in center field after Berti was scratched out of the lineup an hour before the game, started things in the sixth inning with a double and then scored when Granderson hit into a double play.

The second run came thanks to Neil Walker’s double, and a great slide to avoid Nido’s tag at the plate after a Miguel Rojas fly ball to short center field.

Just enough for Alcántara, who got his third insurance run thanks to another Carlos-Peña-like journey by Curtis Granderson.

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Great pitching backing clutch hitting

Friday night’s laser show against Jacob DeGrom after getting shutout twice by the Tampa Rays got Trevor Richards his first win of the year, after several great outings that didn’t reward him.

Nick Anderson couldn’t do his job, but Sergio Romo came back again and pitched two great innings to get the save and cut the losing streak in seven.

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On Saturday we saw Pablo López going back to it, making adjustments and dominating an offense that hit him at ease on his previous outing.

Berti’s homer leading off and Brian Anderson’s clutch RBI with two outs in the third were the only support the Marlins needed that day.

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Pablo López allowed a double to open the game, and that was the only hit the Mets had against him, Tyron Guerrero and Adam Conley.

On Sunday, Sandy Alcántara did even better, allowing just two hits and getting it done all by himself.

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Three hits in eighteen innings against hitters like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Wilson Ramos, and Robinson Canó is just very impressive.

The Marlins scored only five runs with eleven hits between those two games, but that’s what great pitching and defense do. Hide those bad spots.

Now they’ll be traveling to Detroit and Washington, two teams way under .500, to play seven games on the road.

Caleb Smith is the first one in line to pitch. You all know what that means…

Was this Callaway’s last call?

The Mets got to Miami with a 20-22 record thinking about sweeping to try to get back to the race in the National League east.

However, everything went south.

Jacob DeGrom was ambushed by the worst offense in baseball and the late comeback wasn’t enough to get the Mets a win in the first game of the season.

Then, they only had three hits in games two and three of the series.

Mickey Callaway is in a hot spot in New York now. After all, getting swept by the worst time in baseball is never positive.

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Enjoy our Marlins coverage listening to Swings and Mishes and Cinco Razones Podcast, and sometimes, The Flagship, since they now care about the fish