Miami Marlins reliever turned starting pitcher Tom Koehler proved that he could handle a spot in the rotation with his dominant performance on Mother’s Day. It was his first start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season and the second of his very young career.
Even though Koehler took the 5-3 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series finale on Sunday, it was not because of a lack of an effort on his part. The 26-year-old allowed two earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Once again, Miami failed to provide any early run support, which has taken a toll on the team’s pitching staff.
“It’s the same stuff we’ve been talking about all year,” manager Mike Redmond said, according to Marlins.com. “We’re pitching on pins and needles in 2-1 games, trying to hold them down just to give ourselves a chance to make a rally, whether it be the ninth, eighth or seventh, whatever it is. That’s tough. That’s tough on your bullpen and tough on your offense.”
Koehler posted a 3.18 earned run average with nine strikeouts and only five surrendered hits in six appearances prior to Sunday’s start. Miami lost every game Koehler has appeared in but once this season. In that particular contest, the right-hander gave up just one hit and struck out a career-high five batters in three scoreless innings against the New York Mets.
The entire reason Koehler made the start was because he replaced the struggling Wade LeBlanc in the rotation. LeBlanc is 0-5 with a 6.11 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings this season. Considering the Marlins got zero production out of him, the team decided it was best to give someone else a shot. The left-hander must now prove his worth in the bullpen in order to stay on the active roster.