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Trevor Richards dominates Reds, climbs Marlins rookie strikeout list in 6-0 win

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Putting the exclamation point on the best-pitched series of the season.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There have only been a handful of them for the 2018 Marlins: a “complete win.” But Sunday’s 6-0 series finale—which was also the last game that will be played in Miami this season—certainly qualifies. It was an impressive showing from the club’s young players.

  • Michael Lorenzen: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (65 pitches)
  • Trevor Richards: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K (95 pitches)

Trevor Richards’ August/September issues were rooted in his inability to work efficiently.

However, he came out aggressive and precise against a Joey Votto-less Reds lineup. Richards threw nearly 74 percent of his pitches for strikes, way up from his season average of 62 percent.

Yeah, baby, he had the changeup dancin’ around:

Richards recorded eight of his nine strikeouts with that signature pitch.

Though his recent performances weren’t quite at this level, he’s put together a campaign with plenty of swing-and-misses. With one more start upcoming, his 122 total strikeouts rank as the sixth-highest total for a rookie in Marlins history:

Marlins All-Time Rookie Strikeout Leaders

Name Year Innings Strikeouts
Name Year Innings Strikeouts
José Fernández 2013 172.2 187
Scott Olsen 2006 180.2 166
Dontrelle Willis 2003 160.2 142
Jesús Sánchez 1998 173.2 137
Josh Johnson 2006 157.0 133
Trevor Richards 2018 119.2 122
Baseball-Reference

Michael Lorenzen, on the other hand, faced 21 batters, retiring none of them via the strikeout. Quite a contrast in styles between him and Richards, both on and off the field.

Lorenzen’s teammates bailed him out of jams in the first two innings, but couldn’t make all the difficult plays. Lewis Brinson got back on the right side of the Mendoza line and put the Marlins ahead 1-0 in the third:

Then, Chad Wallach(?!) dropped the hammer. His first major league dinger:

(A fun footnote to that: Lorenzen and Wallach were teammates at Cal State-Fullerton.)

Fellow Marlins rookies Brian Anderson and Magneuris Sierra reached base three times each. Their RBI singles against Sal Romano in the fifth extended the lead to 6-0. They both impressed this series after struggling for much of September.

Although Don Mattingly had no tactical reason to bring in J.T. Realmuto as a pinch-hitter during the later innings, I was surprised to see him get the full day off. It’s been widely reported that if Realmuto and the Marlins cannot find common ground on a contract extension this winter, he’ll become a trade chip. This may have been the last chance for fans to see their All-Star at home. Mattingly apparently didn’t consider that context.

Put a gun to Michael Hill’s head, he’ll admit that he would have been fine with losing this game. Once seemingly a shoo-in for a top-three draft pick in 2019, the Marlins’ hot weekend closed the gap with Cincinnati (seventh-worst MLB record). Determining which teams pick from No. 3-7 will come down to the wire.

The season wraps up on the road. The Marlins open a three-game set against the Nationals on Monday (7:05 p.m. first pitch) with an intriguing starting pitching matchup: Sandy Alcántara vs. Stephen Strasburg.

September 23, 2018 win probability chart
FanGraphs

Attendance: 13,595