National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, March 31st
(All times Eastern)
Colorado Rockies (0-0) at Miami Marlins (0-0), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Jorge De La Rosa (0-0, 0.00)
Miami - Jose Fernandez (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jose
Fernandez will become the youngest Opening Day starter in Miami Marlins
history on Monday when they lift the lid on the 2014 season in the first of a
four-game series versus the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park.
At 21 years, 243 days old, Fernandez is younger than Josh Beckett, who was 22
years, 320 days old when he got the Opening Day nod for the club in 2003. He's
also the youngest Opening Day starter in the big leagues since Felix Hernandez
of the Mariners took the ball at 20 years, 359 days old in 2007.
Fernandez turned in perhaps the best rookie season in team history a year ago,
going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. He also struck out a team rookie record 187
batters, and he posted a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 0.98.
From June 1 to the end of the season, Fernandez's 1.50 ERA was the best in the
NL. The Marlins were also 18-10 in his 28 starts and Fernandez was 9-0 at home
with a 1.19 ERA, while holding opponents to .164 clip at Marlins Park.
Aside from Fernandez, though, not much went right for the Marlins, as they
went just 62-100 under first year manager Mike Redmond. The Marlins finished
with the worst record in the National League while posting their third
straight last-place finish in the NL East.
Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton shook off an injury-plagued season to hit 24
homers in 116 games. Still, it was an offense that finished last in the league
in runs scored, homers, batting average and slugging percentage among a number
of other categories.
In response, the Marlins were very active in free agency, though it didn't
feature many eye-catching names. The biggest was catcher Jarrod
Saltalamacchia, signed for three years.
While all the moves the Marlins made last summer involved getting prospects
for the long rebuild, this past offseason saw management sprinkle in a number
of free agents over 30 in attempt to move forward. Those brought in include
infielder Rafael Furcal, first baseman Garrett Jones and third baseman Casey
Colorado, meanwhile, also struggled last season in Walt Weiss' first year at
the helm. The Rockies actually increased their win total by 10 games.
Unfortunately, that jump only brought them to 74 victories.
If you look at Colorado's lineup there is plenty to like. Troy Tulowitzki and
Carlos Gonzalez are two of the more dynamic players in the game. The only
problem is that they can't seem to stay on the field.
Also, for the first time since 1998 the Rockies will have a new first baseman
on Opening Day following Todd Helton's retirement after last season. That job
now falls on former American League MVP Justin Morneau, who will try to
resurrect a once impressive career.
Oft-injured lefty Brett Anderson was also brought in to give depth to a
rotation that last season was battered by injuries. Anderson seems to be a
curious case to fill that bill given his own history.
Another pitcher the Rockies will need to stay healthy is lefty Jorge De La
Rosa, who was 16-6 with a 3.47 ERA last season, and the club went 21-9 in his
"He's worked really hard, and he deserves it," Weiss said earlier this spring.
"He's a great pitcher for us, a great pitcher at our park."
De La Rosa, though, has only started more than 30 games and pitched more than
130 innings twice in his 10-year career
The Marlins edged out the Rockies, 4-3, in the season series a year ago.
03/31 10:26:52 ET