Weathers finds rhythm as Marlins' bats groove

Southpaw strikes out career-high 10 with backing from Arraez (2 RBIs) and offense

April 17th, 2024

MIAMI -- Marlins left-hander can’t recall feeling more comfortable on a big league mound than he did on Tuesday night in a 6-3 victory over the Giants at loanDepot park.

If you don’t believe him, take his manager’s word for it. Or his former manager’s word for it. Both had a great vantage point for Weathers’ career-high 10 strikeouts across six innings of two-run ball.

“Weathers had a really good mix of pitches today,” said San Francisco skipper Bob Melvin, who managed Weathers in San Diego from 2022-23. “I’ve seen him in the past where he was pretty fastball-heavy. But he found a way to throw some strikes with his breaking ball today and his changeup. It was the best I’ve seen him throw. He struck out 10 for a reason. He threw the ball well."

After allowing six runs (four earned) over nine innings across his first two starts of the season, the 24-year-old Weathers has permitted just two runs across 11 frames in his past two outings. He gave up a pair of two-out knocks -- a solo homer to Matt Chapman in the second and an RBI double to Wilmer Flores in the third -- and not much else.

At 90 pitches, manager Skip Schumaker sent Weathers out for the seventh in what would have been the longest outing of his career, but he exited as a precaution with a cramp in his left hand after throwing his final warmup pitch.

“Just that rhythm with the delivery, I think that's the best command I've ever probably had in a big league atmosphere,” Weathers said. “So just to be able to do that, it was very positive. I've definitely shown myself when I'm ahead in the count early, it creates a lot of options for me, especially throwing five pitches now. Just got to stay ahead.”

Between Edward Cabrera (10 strikeouts on Monday) and Weathers, Marlins starters recorded double-digit strikeouts in consecutive games for the first time since July 14-15, 2022 (Braxton Garrett and Sandy Alcantara).

Until Cabrera’s start on Monday, No. 3 prospect Max Meyer had tallied the only two quality starts for Miami’s rotation. The club has doubled that total in the series vs. the Giants. A big reason for that success is because Cabrera and Weathers -- both known for having command issues – walked just once batter apiece. It marked Weathers’ fewest walks in a start of more than two innings since April 3, 2023.

“I think that's the frustrating part early on, is our guys have really good stuff,” Schumaker said. “I've said it before: We hurt ourselves when we walk guys. We have plus stuff in the rotation and we have plus stuff in the bullpen. The only time we get in trouble is when we put guys on base via the walk. So as long as they do that, we'll be in every game. Our offense is starting to roll. We should be OK once we figure out the roles in the bullpen, and that's on me. I have to figure that out. And then we'll be OK.”

The lineup appears to be finding its groove despite Jake Burger (left intercostal muscle strain) on the injured list and slugger Jorge Soler cemented in the opposing dugout. Bryan De La Cruz continued to drive in runs and Josh Bell collected his second multihit game in the past four days.

Most importantly, two-time reigning batting champion Luis Arraez has regained his form. He has hits in 13 of his last 16 games, raising his average from .071 to a team-leading .292. Since going hitless in his first 13 at-bats to open the season, Arraez has a .356 average (21-for-59) during a modest six-game hitting streak, with three multihit games in that span.

“I feel good,” Arraez said. “Baseball is hard, man. Hitting the ball is hard. So I just need to put [in] my mind that I can do it again.”

A curly-haired Arraez laced the go-ahead two-run single off lefty Taylor Rogers with two outs in the sixth to help Miami pick up its first comeback win of the season. The club had lost its previous 10 contests when allowing the first run of a game.

“It doesn't matter what type of pitcher’s throwing: sidearm lefty, really good sweeper, good righty, velo at the top, it doesn't matter,” Schumaker said. “He is going to put the barrel on the ball. It doesn't matter what guy’s on the mound. We just want him in that leverage situation. It feels like he always comes through. Huge hit down the line. So again, it might be the hair. I'm not really sure, but [if] he puts it back in braids tomorrow, I'll be mad at him.”