Miami Marlins Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi Gets His Last Start for 2012

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer ISeptember 30, 2012

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #24 of the Miami Marlins throws against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on September 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

This has been a strange up-and-down season for Miami Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. And it ends today as the Marlins take on the Philadelphia Phillies in south Florida.

When the season began, he was still in the Dodgers' system playing in Double-A as a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts. Riding the bus around Tennessee, he had no idea about the amount of traveling he was going to be doing that year.

He was recalled to the Los Angeles Dodgers in May and pitched well his first game, letting up two earned runs over seven innings. He got the loss, however, as he had no run support.

The losses would pile up in June. He went 0-4 with a 5.03 ERA and no doubt was headed to Triple-A. Then came July, when he clearly made an adjustment. He went 2-1 but lowered his ERA to 2.61. Perhaps he would be a factor in the Dodgers' playoff push.

He was, but not in the way he was expecting to be. He was shipped to Miami as part of a huge deadline deal that sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Ramirez was the closest thing the Marlins had to a face of the franchise. And while this was not in the category of the Mets trading away Tom Seaver, it was indeed a shock to see the great experiment of Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes in the same infield did not even last until August.

Eovaldi's four losses and 5.65 ERA in August did not make the trade look any better. But, despite being winless in September, he has pitched well.

On the last day of August he got a tough-luck loss against the Mets, going seven innings and letting up only four hits and three runs.

He pitched eight shutout innings against Atlanta on Sept. 18, and in his last start, also against the Braves, pitched six innings letting up only two runs.

He is only 22. He has already had Tommy John surgery and does not need coddling. And he went to Alvin High School, the same school that produced Nolan Ryan.

Eovaldi could indeed be a big piece for 2013 and the future. Today, he faces Philadelphia and another solid start could go a long way with gaining confidence for the future in Miami.