Koehler takes positives from outing

Righty working on changeup and is pleased with the progress

March 7th, 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- It wasn't the result he wanted, but Marlins starter Tom Koehler basically got what he wanted out of the outing in a 9-2 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

The right-hander went 2 2/3 innings, yielding five hits and three runs while walking two, hitting a batter and striking out one. He threw 50 pitches, 29 of those for strikes.

"Minus the runs and the hits, I would call it a productive day," Koehler said. "I threw a lot of changeups. I don't know the exact number, but I was trying to throw them in every situation, every count, just to get comfortable. It's something in the past I haven't done. That's about it; I only threw, like, five breaking balls today."

Things started out rough after Koehler gave up a single to the first batter he faced and fell behind 2-0 on the second batter. But he battled back to get the next three Cards in order, finishing the first inning on 13 pitches -- eight of those were strikes.

Things got progressively worse from there. Koehler gave up a lead-off single in the second inning and later walked a batter before Cards shortstop lined an RBI single that produced the first run of the game.

Koehler escaped further damage by coaxing a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning, but for the third consecutive inning he allowed a single to the leadoff batter and that opened the door for a two-run inning.

Cards third baseman lined a triple down the third-base line, scoring one run. Koehler hit the next batter, walked one, and then gave up a single as the Cards took a 3-0 lead.

"I think all their hits were on fastballs today," Koehler said. "So you've got to go back and evalutate whether they were good pitches or what. Three first-pitch fastballs for hits, so I've got to go back and see if I spotted them where I wanted or did they catch too much middle [of the plate]. Just things like that."

It was Koehler's second start and third appearance this spring. He got the start and went two innings on March 1 against Houston, allowing a run on one hit. He struck out one and walked two.

Koehler said that it isn't until the next start that he will begin to throw like a regular-season game.

"You still want to make sure you're working on everything, but you don't want to get away from the things that you do well to the point that all of a sudden you've got to figure that out," he said. "As we get closer [to the regular season] we'll start doing more game-like sequences. But for the most part right now you go out there and you're trying to work on things that maybe you're not comfortable doing. You still want positive results. As a competitor you always want good results."

Koehler said that, physically, he felt good and took positives from the outing.

"The ball feels like it's coming out how I want it to right now," he said. "And the changeup is progressing."