Showing faith in the pen
Leo Nunez didn’t have to do much of a sales job to get an opportunity to close on Thursday.
Shortly before the Marlins faced the Mets in their series finale in New York, Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire checked with Nunez.
“I’m ok,” Nunez said. “I can go.”
The message was relayed to manager Fredi Gonzalez. It’s all he needed to hear to throw his closer back into action a day after he threw 40 pitches on Wednesday night.
If there was any signs of fatigued based on 40 pitches in 1 1/3 pitches the night before, Nunez didn’t show it. Instead, he neede 10 pitches (with seven strikes) to collected his first save of the season.
Gonzalez says he doesn’t talk to his pitchers about their well being because he doesn’t always get a straight answer. So he leaves that to St. Claire.
“I don’t talk to those pitchers,” Gonzalez said. “Randy and them have a good rapport. I hope they’re honest with Randy. When I come up, they say, ‘I feel good.’ “
The bullpen had a rough time on Wednesday, especially Renyel Pinto and Jose Veras. Gonzalez says when a players struggles, he tries to throw them back in as soon as possible to build back their confidence.
“I’m a big believer in putting guys in positions where they can succeed,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a believer in run those guys out there, and build their confidence. We can sit here and talk about how much confidence we have in that bullpen, but you have to show it. Those guys, the Pintos, the Verases, get ready to pitch, because you’re going to be used.”
— Joe Frisaro