Hero of the Game: Justin Ruggiano (0.077 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Carlos Lee (-0.255 WPA)
Play of the Game: Carlos Lee grounds into a double play in the sixth inning with runners on first and second. Donovan Solano advances to third base. Jose Reyes out at second. (-0.169 WPA)
With the runs flowing between the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks in the first two games, it was difficult to foresee a low-scoring affair in game one of a doubleheader on Wednesday. It was especially difficult given the fact that two 21 year-old pitchers were making their debuts for their respective teams. Jacob Turner and Tyler Skaggs were making their first starts for their respective ball clubs; it was Turner's seventh career major league start and Skaggs's first. Given the situation, you would expect a ton of runs.
That was not the case, as Skaggs and Turner delivered good performances for their teams. Turner actually outdueled Skaggs, and that has to be a comforting thing for Marlins fans that he performed as well as he did. Even though the team took the loss, this has to be considered at least a #minorvictory for the Fish.Turner's Debut
We will have more on Jacob Turner's debut tomorrow on its own, but needless to say, he impressed plenty of folks in this game with six well-pitched innings. He threw what appeared to be three pitches with a potential fourth pitch of a cutter that was close to his fastball velocity. Brooks Baseball saw five pitches including a mid-80's cutter, a changeup, curveball, and two different fastball types. I was unable to spot differences between his supposed four- and two-seam fastballs, as they were generally the same velocity. Both of his fastballs sat at 90 mph with a high of 92.
Turner's biggest concern coming into this game was his strikeouts. He had always been unspectacular in that category but more than acceptable in the minors, but in this season, he struggled to get hitters out via the K. Today he showed he still had the skills and repertoire to get them out via strikes, as he whiffed five batters in six innings. Almost a quarter of the 21 batters that Turner faced went down on strikes, and that was because he was able to show us again that his swinging strike rate was significant.
As for command, very few balls were left out in fat areas of the plate, though Turner got away with a couple of pitches here and there. Certainly the home run he did allow showed that he can be beaten in the zone. But not too many pitches ended up way out of the zone, and Turner threw enough strikes to avoid walks altogether. Overall, an excellent first start for Turner, and an encouraging sign for Marlins fans looking for positives in a close loss.
Justin Ruggiano Blasts Another
Just when you think Justin Ruggiano is beginning to regress to the mean, he jumps out at you with some well-hit balls. He hit another home run today against Skaggs, a two-run shot that just got over the yellow line that delineates homers from the official "wall" down in center field in Chase Field. Two nights ago, in the Marlins' 12-3 romp, he hit a similar homer that went past that area, a distance of over 440 feet.
Ruggiano now has 12 homers in 212 PA as a Marlin, an astonishing rate of 17.7 PA per home run. If you'll recall from my earlier article on Giancarlo Stanton's chances at the home run crown, he's only hit homers at a rate one per 16.9 PA in his career, so Ruggiano has gotten off to a Stanton-esque start to the 2012 year.