Miami Marlins starter Justin Nicolino (5-4) threw seven innings Saturday, allowing two earned runs on six hits while walking none and striking out two in a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies .
The 23-year-old was sharp in his final outing of the season, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced. Nicolino has brought stability to a Marlins rotation otherwise in flux, but possesses limited fantasy upside -- the southpaw's 2.80 K/9 is the lowest in baseball (min. 50 innings pitched).
The rookie southpaw continues to demonstrate considerable promise, with Saturday's effort serving as an impressive rebound from the worst start of his young career. After surrendering seven earned runs in a Sept. 20 appearance against the Nationals, Nicolino was highly efficient Saturday in neutralizing the Braves lineup over seven frames, throwing only 80 pitches during that span.
He also did not surrender a homer after giving up at least one in his last three starts. While his 2.82 K/9 rate is exceedingly below average, Nicolino has helped his cause and limited damage by inducing double-digit ground balls in seven out of his 11 starts. Nicolino will look to close out his largely successful rookie campaign with a strong outing in his final start.
Nicolino looked like he overcame a three-run first inning going into the sixth, but he was promptly chased by allowing five hits to six batters, ending with a Tyler Moore home run. The 23-year-old's career high in strikeouts is still only four, so it's becoming pretty obvious how low his ceiling is. He'll try to bounce back next weekend against the Braves.
Nicolino pitched well, but the Mets' power was on display as home runs by Yoenis Cespedes (solo) and Travis d'Arnaud (two-run shot) accounted for all of the damage against the young left-hander.
Though he did not get a win, Nicolino showed improvement over his last start, when he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings to the Brewers. Aside from that outing however, Nicolino has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins, as he posted a 1.98 ERA in four starts prior to last week's start against Milwaukee.
Nicolino pitched seven shutout innings in Atlanta. He allowed six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third and cruised the rest of the way.
The southpaw has given up on six runs in his last 27 1/3 innings in improving his ERA to 3.07, its lowest point since his first outing on June 20.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/4/2015 vs Philadelphia|
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|2015||AAA-New Orleans Zephyrs||7||7||3.52||20||20||0||0||0||115.0||134||51||45||11||4||29||63|
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