Monday, June 13, 2022

Tale of Two Starts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

During the Miami Marlins final game of their four contest series vs the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, June 5, 2022, there was no doubt that I could sense some nervousness from starting pitcher Braxton Garrett. 

The 6-2, 202 pound left-handed hurler from Foley, AL, was trying to help the Marlins win the series and replaced Elieser Hernandez in the starting rotation. 

The Marlins optioned Hernandez to Triple-A Jacksonville for good reason. 

In 11 appearances (nine starts) this season, Hernandez was 2-5 and posted a 6.75 ERA, facing 218 batters. In 48 innings, he gave up 18 home runs.

More importantly, he’s earning a $1.325 million salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

How would Braxton perform in this match-up with the Giants?

Prior to his start against San Francisco with Jacksonville, on May 29th, Garrett pitched five scoreless innings, allowed one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts.

It turned out to be tough afternoon at the LoanDepot Park as he gave up four runs in 3.1 innings which included a grand slam home run to Donovan Walton to give the Giants a 4-0 lead. 

This was Walton’s first career home run.

In this outing, Garrett hit two batters and one walk, yielding five hits and amassed five strikeouts. He threw 72 pitches and 50 for strikes. He also allowed a double steal in the fourth inning that put runners at second and third base.

The Giants won the game 5-1.

What earned Garrett the promotion from Jacksonville? 

The 24-year old made five starts and was 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 26 innings, gave up nine earned runs, 21 strikeouts, seven walks and allowed three home runs.

Garrett was selected by the Marlins as the seventh overall pick in the first round in the 2016 MLB Draft. He is signed through the 2022 season.

You talk about a guy that’s overcome adversity, Garrett has due to the fact that he missed all of the 2018 season from Tommy John Surgery. 

He would bounce back to make 20 starts for Advanced A Jupiter in 2019, plus made one start for Double-A Jacksonville.

Garrett made his MLB debut on 9-13-2020 becoming the 20th Marlin to make their Big League Debut that season, an MLB Record, over the teams first 60 games during the pandemic.

In 2021, he was 5-4, with a 3.45 ERA, starting 18 games in 85.2 innings. He also spent time with the Marlins by pitching eight games, seven starts, and was 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in 34 innings and gave up 19 earned runs.

The Marlins would earn a split with the Giants and in a year where the Marlins need answers from Garrett, they got more in his second start on the road against the Houston Astros on Saturday June 11. 

The results were much different as Garrett rebounded nicely by earning his first win of the season and improved his record to 1-1 as Miami defeated the Astros 5-1. He pitched 5.1 innings, gave up six hits only walked one and struck out five.

This was a much needed win for the Marlins as they defeated an Astros team that leads the AL West by 8 1/2 games but had struggled in the past week, dropping five of its last seven games.

The win ensured that Miami would win its second series of the week as the Marlins took care of business versus the Washington Nationals by sweeping the team 3-0 that resides in the Nations Capital. 

Despite losing on Sunday to Justin Verlander 9-4, the Marlins were 5-1 for the week and take a 27-31 record into Monday Night’s action against the surging Philadelphia Phillies, who are now 30-30 and dismissed Manager Joe Girardi last week. 

The Phillies are 9-1 in their past 10 games and are in third place in the NL East as of Monday Night.

When you have a long season, there are a couple things that occur. 

First, pitchers underperform as was the case with Hernandez. 

Second, hurlers get hurt so during this marathon, you find out short and long-term answers about your club and Miami will have a decision to make on Garrett at the end of the campaign as well as Hernandez.

Manager Don Mattingly hasn’t announced his next start, but you can rest assure that the skipper had to be pleased with the improvement between the two starts.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, to see his broadcasts, Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel to see all of the shows on the WSFT Network,

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