A pair of promising young left-handed pitchers square off Monday as the visiting Miami Marlins open a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Marlins send Trevor Rogers (4-9, 5.46 ERA) to the mound, looking to snap a personal three-game losing streak covering his last three starts. In three losses to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Angels, the Marlins scored just three total runs.
Rogers, in just his third season, will be making his first career appearance against the Reds.
The Reds, winners of seven of their last 11, counter with Nick Lodolo (2-3, 5.81), making his seventh start of his rookie season.
Lodolo will take the mound for the fourth time since a 69-day stint on the injured list with a lower back strain. In his last three outings, Lodolo has labored to a 1-1 mark with a 6.17 ERA.
Reds manager David Bell said he wanted to use a six-man rotation after the All-Star break with a long stretch of games leading up to the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 2. That plan may be reassessed in the coming days after lefty Mike Minor was roughed up Saturday in a 6-3 loss to St. Louis.
“I didn’t feel great from the get-go,” Minor said. “I didn’t feel like the location was there, and I didn’t feel like the pitches were there. I knew it was going to be a grind with that lineup, a lot of good hitters over there, and they don’t give in. They hit good pitches and hit bad pitches. It doesn’t matter.”
The lefty Minor, who was considered a potential trade chip at the deadline, fell to 1-7 with a 6.65 ERA after missing the first two months with a sore left shoulder. The Reds have lost eight of his nine starts this season.
“Mike, if anything, just kind of was missing his spots,” Bell said. “Had to come back to the middle a few times and they didn’t miss it when he did.
Leading the six-man rotation is ace and prime trade chip Luis Castillo, followed by Tyler Mahle, Minor and rookies Hunter Greene, Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft. Should Castillo be dealt, the Reds likely would promote rehabbing Justin Dunn, acquired from Seattle in the trade for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez.
The Marlins are finally getting a first-hand look at their first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2019 MLB Draft. Outfielder JJ Bleday made his major league debut Saturday in a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh, entering the game in the seventh in left field and walking in his first career plate appearance in the ninth.
“It looked like he fouled one back that he just missed and took some pitches,” manager Don Mattingly said. “A really quality at-bat, and I think that’s really been the trademark of JJ — he’s going to put at-bats together.”
On Sunday, Bleday made his first career start, getting the nod in center field, batting fifth and collecting his first big league hit on an infield single to short.
“It’s been surreal the past 24 hours,” Bleday said Sunday.
The Marlins Sunday placed right-handed pitchers Max Meyer (right elbow sprain) and Tommy Nance (right groin strain) and third baseman Brian Anderson (left shoulder) on the 15-day injured list. The Meyer news is particularly concerning since he is regarded as a top-three prospect in Miami’s organization.
–Field Level Media