Super late recap courtesy of editorial staff, not Andrew. - TB
Is Jose Urena the new ace of a battered and beleaguered Marlins staff? Given the recent demotions of Tom Koehler and Adam Conley to triple-A New Orleans and Wei-Yin Chen being out indefinitely, the Marlins definitely need a stopper (or even a competent starter) in their rotation. Ureña would have to prove it against the potent Astros lineup in an afternoon affair at Marlins Park.
Jose Altuve would have something to say about that early on. In the first inning, he chopped an RBI double over Derek Dietrich at third base to score George Springer and give the Astros a 1-0 lead.
After two hit batsmen and a walk to Giancarlo Stanton loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first, Derek Dietrich grounded out to second to spoil the threat. This would be the biggest threat that the Marlins would mount all day.
Lance McCullers Jr. and his knuckle-curve ball kept the Marlins bats hitless through the first four innings until J.T. Riddle hit a single to left to lead off the fifth.
Ureña was hitting his spots and showed confidence and command on the mound as well, all good signs. He was up to 98 mph on his fastball and mixed it well with solid secondary pitches.
The wheels fell off with two outs in the fifth when an easy inning-ending grounder to Dee Gordon that was hit by McCullers was fielded and then flipped back-handed by Dee Gordon for the force at second base. The throw was a little short, and Riddle was unable to come up with the ball which hit his glove and dribbled away from him.
Everybody was safe, and the bases were loaded.
Then, to add insult to injury, George Springer hit a broken bat grounder past Dee Gordon to score two runs and increase the Astros’ lead to 3-0, which would be the final score in today’s loss.
The Marlins anemic hitting continued, as they only mustered three hits against McCullers over six innings. They then went hitless over the last three innings against their three Houston relievers.
On the flip side, Altuve would go on to go four for five, thereby getting more hits than the entire Marlins team. In total, Altuve went four for five with two doubles and two triples for a slugging percentage of 2.000 for the day.
Ureña, once again, deserved better. He went 5 2⁄3 and gave up only one earned run, lowering his ERA to 1.91 for the year. As a starter he has thrown 15 1⁄3 innings this season, with an ERA of 1.50, with batters only hitting .175 and slugging .250. His WHIP as a starter is 0.92 with a BABIP of .182. Its a small sample size, but Ureña has excellent stuff and is fun to watch. Like many pitchers throughout the league, he has to get more efficient and last at least six if not seven innings to start to be the effective “ace” of this staff.
At the end of the day, the Astros sweep the Marlins and leave Miami with a record of 29-12, the best record in baseball. The Marlins sit at 14-25 which is the worst record in baseball.
Turning point of the game: The Springer two run single to put the Marlins up 3-0.
Kingfish: Clearly Altuve!
Flounder: Dee Gordon: his error led to the turning point single by Springer.