83 days. That’s how long it had been since Jesús Luzardo last took the mound for the Miami Marlins.
Luzardo was placed on the 15-day IL on May 15th with a left forearm strain. Initially, Miami was quite optimistic that Luzardo would only miss a minimum of 15 days and that the injury was not too serious. However, a month later, he was transferred to the 60-day IL as he still hadn’t begun throwing.
He was finally back on a big-league mound on Monday night as he and the Marlins took on the Cincinnati Reds the day before the trade deadline.
[Fish Stripes has placed Isaac Azout on the IL with a sore throat—Noah Berger will take over the recap from here.]
Luzardo was sharp the whole way through. Two strikeouts in the first, two in the second, and one in the third for a total of five on the night. His first three were courtesy of the slider, and the last two were on beautiful changeups. His only blemish was the two-out, two-strike, two-run double he gave up to Albert Almora Jr. in the second inning.
Besides for an error by Leblanc in the 4th, Luzardo did not allow another baserunner following the run-scoring double. He was pulled after his planned five innings, and his final line read: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 81/49 P/S.
Would the Marlins hitters give him any support offensively? To the surprise of absolutely no one, they did not. They recorded only a single hit against rookie Hunter Greene and didn't have two men on base at the same time until the ninth inning. Greene carried a 5.78 ERA into the All-Star break. Two quality starts since then—both against the Marlins—have lowered that to 5.26.
There was hope in the ninth as Lewin Díaz singled and Avisaíl García walked. But Bleday and De La Cruz both struck out. And with two outs, Nick Fortes came up clutch with a pinch-hit RBI single to plate the Marlins first run of the night. It would be their last. Charles Leblanc loaded the bases thanks to Brandon Drury forgetting how fast Billy Hamilton, who pinch ran for Fortes, runs. With the bases loaded, all hope was lost when Jacob Stallings popped out to center field to end the game.
Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference
Noah’s [Pinch Hit] Notes and What’s Next
- Jesús Luzardo didn’t walk a single batter, and that makes me smile.
- Jacob Stallings has an eight-game hitting streak, but I will withhold my comments on his current streak without a “passed ball.”
- Miguel Rojas’ hitting streak ends at eight games.
- Charles Leblanc was hitting NUKES in batting practice.
- So was Garrett Cooper.
- Braxton Garrett takes the mound on Tuesday.
- I’ll be here with Daniel Rodriguez, and Alex Krutchick will have your recap.
- Trade Deadline is at 6:00 PM. Buckle up.