Offense Fails to Impress
The Marlins offense was as stagnant as it has been all season on Monday. Paul Maholm surrendered only one hit, a single up the middle by Placido Polanco in the third, striking out seven in seven innings of work. The Marlins hitters seemed to struggle the most connecting with Maholm's offspeed pitches. Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth, and the Marlins showed minor signs of life, advancing runners to first and third with two outs. However, Kimbrel was able to seal the deal for Atlanta, striking out Adeiny Hechavarria on four straight fastballs. Teams have been figuring out that by walking Giancarlo Stanton, they eliminate pretty much all of the Marlins hope to score any runs. Stanton walked three times today, adding to his total of seven for the season. Overall, it was obvious coming into the season that the Marlins lineup was going to struggle at the plate, but what they've done so far has to be worse than what anyone could have expected. It's still very early in the season, so hopefully a couple of the Miami hitters can start creating runs sooner rather than later.
Justin Upton Continues His Tear
Justin Upton is probably the hottest hitter in the Majors right now. Upton went 4 for 4 Monday with a homer and a double. Upton's homer came off of a 1-0 88 MPH fastball from Kevin Slowey in the sixth inning. Upton destroyed this pitch and sent it all the way to the brick wall in the upper deck in left field. Aside from this one mistake, Kevin Slowey was actually pretty dominant, keeping the rest of the Braves lineup off balance all day long.
Kevin Slowey is quietly having a very nice start to the season. On Monday, Slowey went seven strong innings (he probably could have gone eight if it wasn't just his second start of the regular season), allowing only six hits and two earned runs. While it would be nice to see Slowey rack up some more strikeouts (he only has 7 in 12.1 IP in 2013), he's never really been a strikeout pitcher and it's nice to see him rely on his defense to make outs. If Slowey can keep this up for the rest of the season, the Marlins will have found themselves a very strong back of the rotation pitcher from the offseason free agent bargain bin.
Tomorrow, the Marlins will take on the Braves again at 7:10 PM. Wade LeBlanc will face off against Kris Medlen. Medlen struggled in his debut with his rhythm. Apparently, Medlen felt like he was rushing himself in between pitches. The Marlins should try to stay in the box and force Medlen to move at a quick pace. Hopefully, the Marlins can string together some hits and gave LeBlanc all the run support he needs.