DeSclafani aces audition with Marlins
LOS ANGELES -- Aspiring actors flock here in hopes of fulfilling dreams. Anthony DeSclafani on Wednesday night arrived in the City of Angels looking to prove he belongs among the Major League stars.
If first takes are any indication, the 24-year-old passed his first audition.
DeSclafani rose to the occasion in his big league debut, allowing two runs in six innings and driving in two runs in the Marlins' 13-3 rout of the Dodgers.
Called up from Double-A Jacksonville to fill the rotation slot vacated by Jose Fernandez, DeSclafani lived up to his ranking as the No. 6 Marlins prospect.
"Dreaming as a kid [that] you get the callup and make your debut, you picture yourself doing pretty well," DeSclafani said. "It was cool to throw the way I did. Just to get the win and get the Marlins a win. We had great defense and offense. It was an awesome night."
The night was made easier because of homers from Ed Lucas, Reed Johnson and Jeff Mathis. Miami raced to a six-run lead off Paul Maholm and never looked back.
"Great night for him," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think with any young guy, you're not really sure what you're going to get out there, with all the emotions that go with a Major League debut. Wow! He was fantastic. Pounded the strike zone."
The blowout snapped the Marlins' five-game losing streak and enabled them to avoid a sweep. Miami, now 2-5 on the trip, improved to 21-20 on the season and 4-15 on the road.
The Marlins and Dodgers split their season-series, 3-3.
"It's tough in a game like this," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "He was throwing strikes with a big lead. After a couple of the innings we went through, I really wasn't paying attention to their guy."
Miami also set a season high for runs, surpassing the 11 scored on April 15 against Washington. The 17 hits set a season high as well.
The run-fest also featured another first.
Left-hander Randy Wolf, 37, signed a one-year deal on Wednesday, and was back in the big leagues for the first time since 2012. Over his career he has appeared in 377 games, with 368 starts, but because he worked at least three innings and finished out the game, he earned his first Major League save.
The wild game also saw the Dodgers use a position player, backup catcher Drew Butera, to pitch the ninth inning. Butera retired the side in order, and struck out Marcell Ozuna.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Redmond said. "You never know what you're going to see. A guy 37 years old getting a save, and a rookie getting his first Major League win, and Drew Butera getting to pitch the ninth. It was fun."
A 24-year-old from Freehold, N.J., DeSclafani is the ninth player in franchise history to start and win in his MLB debut. The last was Adalberto Mendez, on Sept. 6, 2010, at Philadelphia.
Nicknamed "Disco," DeSclafani was able to share his memorable night with his parents, brother, girlfriend and close friends in the stands.
"I couldn't believe I was facing the Dodgers lineup going from Jacksonville to the big leagues," he said. "I wasn't expecting a callup at all and trying to control my nerves."
Admittedly, his emotions ran high.
"I was nervous, really anxious, sitting in the dugout waiting to go out and pitch," he said. "I got on the mound and the first few fastballs were up. 'All right, I've got to calm down and stay within myself and try to pound the strike zone.' Once I got the first out, I settled down a little bit. Once I got through the first inning, it felt like any other regular game."
DeSclafani struck out seven, walked one and scattered seven hits, showing that he was up to the moment. Yasiel Puig hit an RBI double off him, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, and Carl Crawford homered, but those were the only runs he yielded.
After a quality start, what's next?
The Marlins are weighing how to fill the huge gap left by Fernandez's season-ending elbow injury. DeSclafani, as of now, is in the rotation, though the organization will reassess whether to give him another shot or go with Wolf, who eventually projects to be a starter.
DeSclafani was helped greatly by working with Mathis behind the plate. It was an interesting matchup, because DeSclafani attended the University of Florida and Mathis went to archrival Florida State. But on the field they worked together as one.
"I caught him a couple times in Spring Training," Mathis said. "I knew he had a good fastball and he could locate it on both sides of the plate, so I wanted to establish that, and he did a really good job of that the first couple of innings,. and then we started mixing in some offspeed [pitches]."
From the plate DeSclafani drove in two runs, one of them on his first big league hit, a single in the sixth.
After averaging 2.8 runs per game during their five-game slide, the Marlins took out their frustrations against Maholm.
The lefty was knocked out after 3 2/3 innings, surrendering 10 runs, only five of them earned. He also was tagged for home runs by Lucas and Johnson. Mathis' three-run shot came off Chris Perez.
It was a night of firsts for DeSclafani. He notched his first strikeout by getting catching Hanley Ramirez looking in the first inning. His first RBI came in his first big league at-bat, which opened the door for a six-run second.
DeSclafani tapped what could have been a double-play ball to second, but Dee Gordon booted the ball, which directed into right field. Two runs scored, and DeSclafani was credited with one RBI.
Because of Gordon's error, five of the six runs in the inning were unearned.
Giancarlo Stanton collected three hits and extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
"I can't believe I got the win," DeSclafani said. "I can't believe I'm in L.A. pitching against the Dodgers. It still hasn't hit me."