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May 18 Marlins links: overpaid mop-up man, underrated big bat

Lots of baseball business to get caught up on heading into the weekend.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins
One of the final photos ever taken of Junichi Tazawa in a Marlins uniform.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

KKKKaleb Smith disappoints

It’s hard to sweep a series! At least, the Marlins make it look hard, as they still haven’t done it to any opponent in 2018. Left-hander Caleb Smith labored to put away batters on Thursday afternoon (only four strikeouts) and allowed the Dodgers to plate four runs in the third inning. His teammates didn’t provide any offensive support, anyway.

Marlins Park was louder than usual with thousands of school children in attendance, but if you couldn’t tune in for the awkward start time, mop-up man Tyler Cloyd had a notable performance.

Minor league scoreboard

Sandy Alcántara pitched eight strong innings in a New Orleans Baby Cakes win.
Photo courtesy of

Triple-A: Round Rock 2, New Orleans 3 (21-19 record)

Double-A: Mobile 3, Jacksonville 7 (17-23)

High-A: Fort Myers 2, Jupiter 5 (26-14)

Low-A: Lakewood 4, Greensboro 1 (16-20)

May 17 box scores courtesy of

Not complaining, but....

The only other times that Smith struggled to this degree, he had been affected by inclement weather. In this case, however, he noted the unusually long layoff between starts (h/t Joe Frisaro,

“I don’t want to make excuses or anything, but seven days off is a lot,” Smith said after the game.

The 26-year-old originally planned to take the mound on Wednesday before the Marlins pushed him back a day to accommodate Elieser Hernández.

Roster shuffle

The end of an era: fans everywhere rejoice with the news that Junichi Tazawa was designated for assignment. The veteran reliever pitched to a hideous 9.00 ERA and 6.59 FIP this season, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.40 FIP in 77 total games for the Marlins. He was paid $12 million for his efforts.

With Cloyd forced to clean up the rest of Thursday’s mess, he was optioned to Triple-A in favor of a fresher arm. According to Daniel Álvarez Montes of El Extrabase, their replacements will be Adam Conley and Dillon Peters.

The Fish Stripes roster tracker is updated to reflect these changes.

Marlins active roster entering May 18.

Both Conley and Peters had been fixtures in the Triple-A rotation prior to their call-ups. It’s unclear how exactly they’ll be utilized by the Marlins.

Big man in the middle

Flying under the radar a bit, Justin Bour has come on strong since a season-opening slump. Matthew DeFranks of the Sun Sentinel explores how the slugger is producing despite lacking the kind of lineup protection he had in previous seasons.

Fish Stripes original GIF

Tough road ahead

The Marlins will play 15 of the their next 18 games away from Miami, beginning Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. These NL East rivals matched up last weekend with the Braves winning three of four in the series.

Your probable starters? Dan Straily and Sean Newcomb. First pitch at 7:35pm ET.