The Miami Marlins won, again, on Saturday night to close out the month of April with a 12-8 mark. More impressively, this one marked their seventh consecutive victory.
Starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo was excellent Saturday night for the Marlins, giving up just one run (a solo homer) on two hits in six innings while striking out five.
It wasn’t an outlier. The Marlins have been riding the rotation during this current streak. In the seven games, the rotation has pitched to a 2.79 ERA while allowing one or fewer runs five times. The first win came despite starter Elieser Hernández coughing up five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, so the group has been even better in the games since.
In all, the seven-game winning streak has only been topped in Marlins history seven times. This is the longest Marlins winning streak since 2008 and they are now two away from tying the franchise record.
This isn’t from out of nowhere, either. The Marlins were expected to have a high-upside rotation this season. If they were going to contend, many believed, it would be on the strength of the starting pitching.
At the top, Sandy Alcantara and Pablo López have looked like a pair of aces. Alcantara has a 1.78 ERA through four starts and he’s not even in the ballpark with Lopez. In fact, if there were a Cy Young award for April, López would absolutely be in the conversation on the NL side. In four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 23 strikeouts against just four walks in 23 1/3 innings. There isn’t much that indicates this is a fluke, either, even if we’re dealing in small samples and he surely isn’t going to post an ERA like this all season.
Trevor Rogers was an All-Star and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting last year. The 2.64 ERA with a 2.55 FIP and 157 strikeouts in 133 innings suggested he was every bit the frontline starter he looked like. After a shortened spring training, he had a decent first start and then a disaster, but in his last two outings, Rogers has given up just two runs on six hits in 11 innings.
Luzardo was a top-10 prospect a few years ago with the A’s and had a really rough 2021, but through four starts this season, he now has 28 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.
That’s a Big Four with high upside.
Hernández can’t match those four, but he’s been good enough for the Marlins to win three of his four starts. That’s about all anyone could ask from a five, no? Of course, there’s also Sixto Sánchez, eventually (maybe? hopefully?). He’s recently started to play catch again as he looks to come back from last July’s shoulder surgery. We caught a glimpse of the former top-10 prospect in 2020 at age 21 and he flashed brilliance.
This is all to say that while the winning streak is ultimately a small-sample, the rotation part of this might well be sustainable all season. There’s true talent behind the early performance — and Rogers hasn’t even been hitting his talent level.
Also, this is the fifth-best April in club history and the best since the 2011 Marlins were 16-9 through April. That team only finished 72-90, however. If the full-season result is to be different this time around, the backbone will be the rotation. They are off to a promising start.