Miami Marlins looking to define bullpen roles

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Over a month into the season, Manager Mike Redmond and the Miami Marlins are looking to create defined roles for each relief pitcher. The eighth inning has given the Marlins trouble, and closing the gap to closer Steve Cishek has been a challenge.

The bullpen wasn't supposed to be a weakness of the Miami Marlins in 2014, but over a month into the season, Manager Mike Redmond is still looking to define roles for each of his relief pitchers. Closer Steve Cishek has been consistent when called upon, but getting the ball to him with a late lead has been a struggle.

Jacob Turner's return to the starting rotation has helped the Marlins' bullpen in that it allowed Brad Hand and Kevin Slowey to both slide back into a long relief role. Both Hand and Slowey saw time in the Marlins' starting rotation while Turner was on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder.

After designating Carlos Marmol for assignment on Sunday, Miami is hoping for late inning consistency from its core of relievers.

"I think it's just continually pounding the strike zone and executing the pitch," Mike Dunn said. "I look back at that homestand, there weren't a lot of walks. We weren't shying away from anybody. We were going right at everybody and attacking them. We've got to keep doing that."

Both on the road and at home, Miami's seventh and eighth inning choices haven't proven that they can be consistent.

A.J. Ramos

After a solid year in the Marlins' bullpen in 2012, Ramos was thought to be a favorite to pitch late in ballgames. He is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 2.65 FIP in 16 innings, and could see more time later in games as the season progresses.

Ramos can get a bit wild at times, losing control of a quality fastball and a solid slider. At the moment, he may be Miami's best seventh or eighth inning option.

Carter Capps

Capps was acquired in the Logan Morrison trade with Seattle, primarily to give the Marlins evidently necessary bullpen depth. He has posted a 1.50 ERA in six innings at the major league level this year, and has experience pitching late in games.

While Capps posted an ERA over five with the Mariners last year, when he keeps his fastball down in the strikezone, he has the ability to thrive.

Although he hasn't seen a lot of big league action this year, a few scoreless outings and Capps could slide into the eighth inning role immediately.

Mike Dunn

With Dan Jennings recently demoted, Dunn remains the only "situational" type left-hander in the Marlins' bullpen. In 14 and a third innings, he has posted a 5.02 ERA  but has had difficulty getting left-handed hitters out.

Dunn has also been plagued by the long ball in his career, but he too can emerge as a candidate if he can turn things around quickly.

Henry Rodriguez

Rodriguez made his Marlins debut on Sunday afternoon and pitched a scoreless inning in relief against the Padres. He has experience as a closer and may be the eighth inning man the Marlins thought Carlos Marmol was going to be.

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