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New pitcher, similar struggles for back of Marlins’ rotation

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Although he didn’t factor into the decision last night, new Marlins pitcher Paul Clemens gave up three home runs in five innings as Miami continues to look for ways to solve their rotation woes.

Colorado Rockies v Miami Marlins Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

It is not often that a pitcher can give up three home runs in a game and not be charged with a loss.

The fact that Paul Clemens had such a start in his first appearance in a Marlins uniform last night may suggest that he was able to stay in the game, battle back, and limit the damage inflicted by the Rockies, or it might have been a red flag indicating that Miami has not found the solution to their back-end of the rotation woes just yet.

It may be too soon to jump to conclusions (especially on a night where the ball was flying out of Marlins Park), but Clemens could be about to join the likes of Jarred Cosart and Justin Nicolino as pitchers who have failed to succeed in rounding-out the rotation for Miami this season, if he endures another shaky start.

The Marlins actually rank 12th in the league in starters ERA in 2016 with a mark of 4.23, which is just slightly better than the MLB average (4.27). However, that figure will be highly skewed by 80.2 innings of 2.57 ERA baseball from staff ace, Jose Fernandez.

Other than Fernandez, Adam Conley, and Tom Koehler (despite his ugly 5.08 BB/9), no Marlins starter who has pitched five innings or more this season has an ERA under 5.00. To make things worse, the team does not have many starters which they can turn to in the hopes of upgrading the rotation.

In the minor leagues, Jarred Cosart and Jose Urena are struggling to find success at Triple-A New Orleans, Kendry Flores is recovering from an injury, Justin Nicolino was just sent down and, well, that is the sum of Miami’s options for big league-ready arms, really.

Considering that the Marlins are playing with such an inconsistent rotation this season, it is amazing that they are sitting at 37-33. If they want to improve that mark and compete for a playoff spot, though, they seriously need to find some rotation help.

Miami could well be buyers at the trade deadline, and there are many pitchers that the organization could target, but the lack of minor league talent this team has could prove to be a problem during any negotiations.

We will have to see what materializes over the next few weeks but, unfortunately, it appears that the solution to the struggles of the back-end of the rotation is not currently on the major or minor league roster.

Jose Fernandez cannot pitch every night for this team, and in a division dominated by Cy Young-caliber pitching, Miami is sticking out like a sore thumb. If the Marlins can acquire another dependable starter, then they can be a contender for a playoff spot this year. If not, don’t look for them to improve much upon four games over .500.