Breaking down Nolasco
When his pitch count went up, the Marlins decided on Friday to take the 26-year-old out after four innings.
A telling at-bat was a 10-pitch encounter with Washington pitcher John Lannan, who eventually grounded out to shortstop. Yet, that sequence left Nolasco at 87 pitches, which was enough in the eyes of manager Fredi Gonzalez.
On Saturday, pitching coach Mark Wiley said physically Nolasco is fine. There is no dead-arm period, which is common for pitchers at some point.
“I don’t think it’s a dead-arm period, because he’s throwing 92, 91, 93, and that’s nice for him,” Wiley said. “I’m pleased that he’s at that point. Right now, in finishing his pitches with his fastball, he’s not as good as he’s been. His location is not right.
“He can battle out of it. But his pitch count got a little bit high.”
Also in that fourth inning where Lannan tacked on 10 pitches, Josh Willingham had an eight-pitch showdown with Nolasco.
Since Nolasco faced the Nationals on Opening Day, he has seen them twice in 10 games.
“I think with Ricky, he faced the same team twice,” Wiley said. “He was trying to do too much maybe with his breaking ball. He’s fine. I think it’s just a little bit of an approach. But he’s carrying out counts a little too deep. Not that he’s not getting ahead in the count, but he’s not getting that put-away pitch like he’s used to.”
The encouraging thing about Nolasco, who will next pitch on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, is his struggles are easily correctable. For example, sometimes he would throw three straight breaking balls, with two of them crisp but maybe the third one not being.
“I think that’s just a matter of a touch-up here and there, and he will be fine,” Wiley said.
– Joe Frisaro