Miami already lost one ace this season, and there is a possibility they can be losing another.
Henderson Alvarez, Miami's most consistent starter since Jose Fernandez went down, left Monday afternoon's game with an oblique injury, and the Marlins may be in a position to shut him down for the year.
The Marlins' rotation has taken plenty of hits this season. Just when it seemed like the club was past all the injuries, Henderson Alvarez left Monday's 9-6 win over the Mets in the third inning with a left oblique strain.
Whether Alvarez will be able to return from the injury has not been determined, but the 24-year-old was listed as day to day.
Alvarez is listed as day to day, but if the injury will affect his health moving forward, the Marlins would be making the right move to end his year. After a consistent start, Alvarez has had several injury issues, most recently shoulder inflammation.
In 26 starts, Alvarez is 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA and 3.64 FIP in 159.1 innings. He has reportedly been in pain since his last start against the Angels, but "didn't want to miss another start."
Pain has nagged Alvarez since his last start against the Angels on Wednesday, when he allowed five earned runs over 6 1/3 innings and felt a tweak in his side.
"I didn't want to miss another outing," Alvarez said. "I wanted to keep pitching the way I know I can. ... I wasn't 100 percent, but I went out to battle."
While the Marlins are still in the Wild Card conversation, it is in the organization's best interest to make sure Alvarez is healthy heading into 2015. Jose Fernandez likely won't return until the All-Star break, and the Marlins are still going to need a front of the rotation arm. Jarred Cosart has pitched well since being acquired and a Alvarez/Cosart/Heaney front three in Fernandez's absence would likely be ideal for the Marlins.
Losing Alvarez for the last month of the season would hurt Miami's rotation, although the Marlins do have several internal options. If Alvarez is unable to make his next start, the Marlins would likely call upon Andrew Heaney, who was recalled prior to Tuesday night's contest against the Mets.
If Heaney doesn't take Alvarez's spot, he may take that of Brad Penny. Brian Flynn, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brad Hand could also be slotted into the rotation if an arm is necessary.
Without Alvarez, Miami's young rotation is without arguably one of its better arms. But it is better for Alvarez to be healthy for next year than risk making his situation worse.