Still starving for their first road series win of the season, the Miami Marlins will send out Henderson Alvarez to the mound for their series opener against the New York Mets on Friday at the Big Apple.
Alvarez will enter the mound looking for a fulfilling follow up to his complete game shutout against the Seattle Mariners last Saturday. Alvarez is the first Marlins pitcher to go all nine innings in a single game this season.
“When a guy with his kind of stuff – good sink, good changeup – is on, it’s a lot of fun,” said Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “You can kind of put any pitch you want.
The combination of his power sinker – a nice way to say two seam fastball with extra break – and changeup has Alvarez sitting pretty with a 2.66 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. His ability to go the distance will be vital in this series because the Marlins will need all their horses when Kevin Slowly starts on Saturday.
Slowly was solid against the Mariners on Easter Sunday but is a long reliever and could only go five innings in a game that had the Marlins use a total of six pitchers. Slowly is also a sinkerball pitcher so it’s safe to assume what works for Alvarez will also work for Slowly.
Then finally Tom Koehler will have his homecoming on Sunday. Koehler is a native of New York and went to college at Stony Brook. The 27-year-old righty went eight shutout innings in his last start at Citi Field in September 15, 2013.
Despite all the additions the Mets have made to their lineup, they are dead last in the National League in batting average (.216), slugging percentage (.308) and OPS (.602). Their 203 strikeouts have them tied with the Marlins for the highest strikeout total in the National League.
The Marlins have had their problems on the road and against the NL East, but if they can’t beat the Mets, then there’s a real problem here.