Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Only two games into the season, the Miami Marlins are living down to the expectations many fans and pundits had ahead of the season. Through 18 innings of play, the Marlins have yet to score a single run.
“Two good pitchers. Those guys, they did their job,” rookie Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We’ve got a couple of guys that may be pressing a little bit, too. But, you know, we’ll be fine.”
The back-to-back shutouts to start the season were only the 13th time such a feat had been accomplished since 1900. Not only that, but the Marlins have managed to get just seven hits in the two games.
The Marlins have been hamstrung by management’s insistence on one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and have little, if any pop in the lineup outside of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins also didn’t get a good opening draw having to face arguably the best team in baseball right out of the chute.
“It’s not really hard to fathom. I look at this staff and that’s what I expect,” said the Nationals’ Ryan Mattheus. “I see (starting pitchers) 1 through 5. And then the bullpen down there, the seven guys we’ve got. I think there’s going to be a lot of shutouts.”
It’s not just the pitchers that are dominating the Marlins in the opening series of the year. 2012 Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper started out the season with two home runs and was 2-4 on Wednesday as well. Even pitcher Gio Gonzalez got in on the hitting display, belting out a homer against Kevin Slowey.
Thursday night the job of getting a runner across home plate doesn’t get any easier. The Nationals will roll out Jordan Zimmerman against the Marlins lineup. Zimmerman gets opponents to strikeout, groundout, or flyout roughly 51 percent of the time in 2012, according to Pitch F/X.
Zimmerman relies heavily on a four-seam fastball, which he throws about 62 percent of the time in 2012 and a nasty slider that he throws about 23.6 percent of the time in 2012, according to Pitch F/X.
The Marlins will throw out left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc who has a career ERA of 4.38 and a WHIP of 1.40. LeBlanc averages giving up roughly one hit for every inning pitched and has a career record of 19-27.
Needless to say, the Marlins may not be able to get that elusive first run of the season on Thursday night against Washington. The Marlins leave Washington and head for Citi Field and a series with the Mets starting Friday.
Marlins second-year player Alex Sanabia will pitch for Miami. He has a career record of 5-3 and an ERA of 3.67. Ricky Nolasco will get the start on Saturday followed by the Major League debut of the Marlins’ top pitching prospect, Jose Fernandez on Sunday.