The Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves are involved in the second game of a three-game series, but this game means so much more than that to the Fish. For Miami, this could be the official end of an era. Ricky Nolasco is strutting his best stuff against the Braves, but he could be doing it for the very last time in a Marlins uniform, as trade rumors surrounding Nolasco continue to unfurl.
If it is Nolasco's final start as a Marlin, what a great way to walk out.
Nolasco threw seven innings and struck out seven batters. He also only gave up two runs, one on a solo home run to Brian McCann. While the Marlins climbed back into the game to take a 4-2 lead (6-2 lead now), Nolasco began cruising around the fourth inning. After McCann's homer, he retired seven in a row before yielding another hit.
But one of Nolasco's strikeouts was a milestone achievement for the lifetime Marlin. His strikeout of McCann to ebd the sixth inning was his 1000th career strikeout, He is the 31st pitcher since his debut season in 2006 to reach the 1000-strikeout mark, and he is just the fourth pitcher from a 1993 or 1997 expansion franchise to make it to 1000 strikeouts as well. That list includes names like Randy Johnson, James Shields, and Brandon Webb.
Nolasco already owns the Marlins career records for pitcher wins, strikeouts, and a number of other statistics due to his longevity with the team. He is the most tenured Marlins pitcher of all time, with his 1225 2/3 innings beating the next competitor, Dontrelle Willis, by more than 200 innings. Nolasco is the only Marlins pitcher in team history to be on the roster for eight different seasons. Now he gets to flaunt a team strikeout record that may not go down for some time, depending on how the Marlins handle star pitching talent like Jose Fernandez.
Ricky Nolasco may have pitched his last game as a Marlin, but he certainly saved some of his best stuff for last. Congratulations to Ricky for an excellent career achievement.