MIAMI, FL—Right-hander Jose Urena got the Opening Day nod for the second consecutive year as the Marlins hosted the Rockies Thursday afternoon. He clearly didn’t have his best stuff, though, laboring until the wheels finally came off in the fourth. A couple of errors in the inning proved too costly and the offensive firepower arrived too late in the 6-3 loss.
Simply showing up for work on the first day of the 2019 season put Urena is some exclusive company:
OPENING DAY FACTS:— Alex Contreras (@TheRealACoN) March 28, 2019
Today Jose Ureña (18-19) joins exclusive group of Marlins SP’s to start multiple Opening Days.
Charlie Hough (93-94)
Kevin Brown (96-97)
Alex Fernandez (99-00)
Ryan Dempster (01-02)
Josh Beckett (03-05)
D. Willis (06-07)
Josh Johnson (10-12)
He also became the first Marlins pitcher to model the club’s new colors in a meaningful game.
David Dahl lined a comebacker off of Urena’s lower left leg in the second inning. The game paused for several minutes so the team trainer could come out to the mound and evaluate him, but Jose stayed in and completed his outing.
He wasn’t the same guy after that, unfortunately. Urena’s fastball velocity, which had been sitting in the mid-90s, dropped mostly into the 92-94 mph range from the third inning on. He allowed nine hits to Colorado in 4 2⁄3 innings, plus defensive miscues from Miguel Rojas and Lewis Brinson made things even more challenging.
Urena’s career-best six-game winning streak came to an end. His final line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 2 K (94 pitches).
JT Riddle delivered a pinch-hit solo blast in the sixth to get the Marlins on the scoreboard for the first time in 2019. If that pinch-hit magic wasn’t enough for you, Neil Walker crushed a no-doubter to right-center field in the eighth. Then...hip hip Jorge! Marlins new catcher Jorge Alfaro went oppo taco in the bottom of the ninth.
Keep in mind, the Marlins ranked dead last in the National League with 128 home runs in 2018. They went the whole season without homering more than twice in any home game, so Thursday was a refreshing change.
Brinson still expects the Fish to rely mostly on small ball moving forward. He would’ve liked to see the team get on base more against Kyle Freeland and Colorado’s staff. That way, those surprise home runs would’ve done extra damage and given them an opportunity to win.
Perhaps the most important development of the day was seeing how well represented real Marlins fans were in the crowd (rather than Rockies fans or tourists). Were team officials aiming for more than a 25,423 announced attendance? Sure, but those who showed made their presence felt and had a great experience.
Don Mattingly is committed to giving the fanbase a team that they can take pride in, on and off the field:
The series between the Marlins (0-1) and Rockies (1-0) continues Friday night. Trevor Richards and German Marquez are the probable starters. First pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.