Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. could not contain his excitement last week when talking about Pablo Lopez’s development. It only took three innings today for the fans to see why.
Lopez utilized a tremendous changeup/fastball mix to get three strikeouts in just three innings during today’s 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. His only mistake was a home run allowed to Atlanta’s Austin Riley. Lopez also pounded the zone, only allowing one walk, and throwing 25 strikes in 37 pitches.
Stottlemyre Jr. mentioned that he added a cutter to his repertoire, as well as enhanced his sinker and other breaking balls. He used his much improved changeup to strike out Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall.
Unlike the first game against Atlanta, the game was in good hands even after the Fish went to the bullpen. Elieser, who has unofficially won a spot as the No. 5 starter in the rotation, entered in relief and tossed three quality innings of his own. Hernandez and Lopez’s stat lines were essentially the same, except Hernandez threw one strikeout to Lopez’s three. Elieser did give up some hard hit balls though, with six of them registering over 95 MPH. Luckily, all but one of them resulted in outs, thanks to solid defense behind him. And just like Lopez, Hernandez’s lone run allowed came off another Austin Riley home run.
Stephen Tarpley, Sterling Sharp, and Ryne Stanek all combined for three innings and zero hits, which was a huge breath of fresh air from last night’s debacle that manager Don Mattingly called a “disaster.”
After an offensive explosion the night prior, the Marlins didn’t experience any time of hangover in game two. But rather than home run after home run, they showed a great example of situational hitting. After Brian Anderson got a double to lead off the second inning, Isan Diaz ripped a line drive right to Duvall in right field, which was enough for Anderson to advance to third. Jorge Alfaro singled in the next at-bat to drive home Anderson for the first run of the game.
The day wasn’t completely free of home runs, however. Harold Ramirez continued to make his case to be the Opening Day starting right fielder with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. He also had an RBI double in the third.
A few days after the club announced that Monte Harrison would be left off the regular season roster, the 24-year old rookie entered the game in the ninth inning and crushed a ball that hit the right field wall on the fly. He later scored on a Garrett Cooper single.
News and Notes: With the completion of today’s game, the longest offseason in Marlins history is officially over. The Fish open up the regular season in Philadelphia on Friday night at 7 p.m. They return back to Miami on Monday to face the Baltimore Orioles in a two-game set. Fish Stripes will be at the Marlins Park to bring you live updates, news and analysis.
A few minutes after today’s game concluded Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald confirmed that LHP Alex Vesia was added to the Marlins 30-man roster. This news comes just one day after LHP Adam Conley gave up 4 ER in just ⅓ of an inning. When talking to the media Tuesday, Mattingly said that Vesia had thrown as good as any other lefty during camp this year.
Marlins vs. Braves box score (Baseball Theater)