Grandy shows off value on eve of Deadline

Gallen strikes out eight in second straight seven-inning start

July 31st, 2019

MIAMI -- They were brought in to be leaders and mentors, while setting an example for a youthful Marlins squad. And they came as advertised.

The contributions of veterans like and Neil Walker haven’t completely shown up in the box scores or stat sheets. But their influence has been invaluable in the development of the organization.

On Tuesday night, Granderson delivered two doubles and drove in a run in the Marlins’ 2-1 loss to the Twins at Marlins Park.

For a veteran like Granderson, his tenure with the club remains uncertain. Signed through the end of the season, the left-handed-hitting outfielder may not even be with the Marlins in the next couple of days.

“I'm going treat tonight like normal,” Granderson said. “I'm going to take some food home, watch some TV. Chill. Eat. And then get up in the morning. Come to the ballpark. We've got a meeting set at 3:30 that I'm excited to chat with the guys about. Everything is going to be normal.”

In the series-opening defeat, the Marlins continued to find a silver lining with their starting pitching. Rookie Zac Gallen was spot on, working seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. He surrendered a home run to Byron Buxton in the third inning, and Miguel Sano crushed an RBI double in the fourth inning.

Other than that, Gallen had his second straight seven-inning start, including a win on July 24 at the White Sox. In his last two starts, the right-hander has allowed two runs in 14 innings with 17 strikeouts.

“Just being able to go seven any time in the big leagues, it means you're being pretty efficient with your pitches,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “And he's not a one-trick pony. He's got the breaking ball, got a pretty good changeup, a little bit of a cutter, cutter-slider thing and then to be able to look at a fastball. ... He’s got some weapons. When you do that, you're able to keep teams off balance a little bit and get some easy outs in there.”

Rookies like Gallen give hope for a brighter future for the Marlins.

"The more you're here, you believe your stuff can get these guys out in the zone, you don’t have to pitch around them as much," Gallen said. "That's what I felt like I kind of did a little bit, just feel my way through being up here. I think now I’m starting to have more confidence in my stuff."

The MLB Trade Deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and the Marlins are open to moving players with expiring contracts, like Granderson and Walker, who started at third base on Tuesday, but moved to first base in the third inning because Garrett Cooper was replaced with a tight left hamstring.

Mattingly has regularly gone with Granderson, Walker and second baseman Starlin Castro in his starting lineup. All three could be on the move by the Deadline.

Walker has provided flexibility, being able to play first, third and second base.

“It’s important for guys like me and Martin [Prado] to be able to play the corners and mix in at second, if we absolutely have to," Walker said. "Unfortunately Coop left the game early. Luckily, we were kind of covered.”

Granderson, batting .185 with nine homers and 28 RBIs, drove in the lone run against Jake Odorizzi, who worked 5 2/3 innings.

Granderson has been around long enough to not worry too much about the Trade Deadline. He’s planning on treating Wednesday like just another day, until he is told otherwise.

“Early on in my career, it was weird, because you think, especially coming up through an organization, that you're going to be there forever,” Granderson said. “Especially if it's a guy on an extension, or a guy who is two or three years in. Then your name gets thrown out there, especially now with social media, and bits of information that are available to you.”