Unfazed by the Washington Nationals’ potential Opening Day lineup, Pablo López and Wei-Yin Chen carried a perfect game into the eighth inning Saturday night. Adam Conley nailed down the save in the 2-1 victory.
The FITTEAM Ballpark crowd in West Palm Beach had very little to cheer about through two hours of action. That Marlins’ trio combined for eight strikeouts while issuing zero walks and faced just two batters over the minimum despite matching up with Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and more of Washington’s stars.
López continues to show no ill effects from the shoulder issue that ended his 2018 season prematurely. He had an especially nasty changeup to entice experienced batters to chase below the strike zone.
Pablo's split action reaction dot mp4 pic.twitter.com/q6NAYV4eEn— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) March 10, 2019
Boasting a 1.00 earned run average and better-than-advertised fastball velocity midway through the Grapefruit League schedule, he’s making it difficult for the Marlins to exclude him from their starting rotation.
True to form, López was modest about his dominance post-game:
Chen followed the 23-year-old’s four perfect innings with four scoreless of his own.
The only blemish? A Pedro Severino opposite-field single.
The veteran left-hander had disastrous results in his previous spring outings. Even with this nice night accounted for, he heads toward the final two weeks of exhibitions with a 11.05 ERA.
These were conditions that you wouldn’t see during the regular season, and Chen was the beneficiary. He faced 13 total batters, all of them different players. Nobody got more than one look at him—maintaining effectiveness multiple times through the batting order was a challenge for Chen last season.
Conley came so close to finishing off the shutout, but down to their final out, the Nats got on the scoreboard courtesy of No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom. His solo homer barely eluded Gabriel Guerrero, who leaped at the center-field wall to no avail.
The Marlins are back in Jupiter to host the Braves Sunday afternoon. Fish Stripes will have lead reporter Ian Smith and international editor David Phillips on live coverage duty! First pitch approximately 1:05 p.m.