Nolasco completed what he started

When Ricky Nolasco last took the mound, he took care of business all by himself.

At Philadelphia last Saturday night, the 27-year-old right-hander turned in a complete game. Scattering five hits, Nolasco worked all nine innings in the Marlins, 5-1, victory.

ricky-nolasco.jpgNolasco takes the mound on Friday night at Colorado, when the Marlins open a three-game set with the Rockies at Coors Field (weather permitting, it’s cold and rainy).

Nolasco was one out away from also tossing a shutout, but Jayson Werth jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a solo home run. Nolasco ended it by retiring Raul Ibanez on a soft grounder back to the mound.

Complete games are rare these days. Not only for the Marlins, but throughout baseball.

Nolasco is the only Marlin to go the distance this season. And in the entire Major Leagues, just 12 pitchers have thrown complete games. Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia each have tossed two. There have been three complete-game shutouts — Halladay, Livan Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez (who no-hit the Braves).

No team, thus far, has had two seperate pitchers go the distance.

How rare have complete games for Florida been? Consider this fact. In 2005, the Marlins had 14 as a team. Since then, Nolasco’s complete game was the 14th total for Florida over the past five seasons.

With so much attention paid to pitch counts these days, pitchers are conditioned — mentally and physically — that six innings is a solid outing.

Another factor is the amount of strikes being thrown. Baseball insiders have noted — privately and publicly — that the strike zone has become so tight it makes it very difficult for pitchers to last deeper into games.

Marlins bench coach Carlos Tosca offered a suggestion to help speed up the game, and improve the action — raise the mound. 

— Joe Frisaro


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