Rogers solid in first outing since ASG

July 21st, 2021

WASHINGTON -- As the Marlins' lone All-Star representative a week ago, rookie left-hander Trevor Rogers used the opportunity as a physical and mental reset, particularly after what he called one of his worst outings to close out the first half. 

Rogers followed that up with five solid innings in his first start since the Midsummer Classic in Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park. 

The 23-year-old Rogers permitted two runs on five hits and three walks on just 78 pitches. The first run came on Victor Robles’ two-out RBI single with the pitcher in the on-deck circle. The second scored when center fielder Starling Marte misread a two-out liner by Ryan Zimmerman for an RBI double. Rogers acknowledged he had a tough time putting hitters away.

"It's something I'm continuing to work on and improve on," said Rogers, who struck out a season-low three batters. "It shows you right there I still have some stuff I need to work on, especially expanding the zone down when I get to two strikes." 

Manager Don Mattingly said Rogers was on a pitch count of 85 coming off a long layover, just like the club's other starters. After Adam Duvall knocked a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth, Mattingly turned to the bullpen. Richard Bleier and Anthony Bender proceeded to cough up the one-run lead by surrendering three runs in the bottom of the frame.

"I thought he looked great, honestly," Mattingly said. "He missed some spots, which everybody is going to do, and tonight they made him pay for it. I thought his stuff was really good. Trev -- I don't think he's a guy that's going to be excited to the point where he's going to quit working. He's always got the blinders on, he's moving forward. It's what's made him good to this point, and it's really what's been making him good all year long."

All season long, the Marlins have relied on their starting-pitching trio of Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and Rogers. But in the midst of this forgettable 1-5 start to the second half, only Rogers remains. Earlier in the day, Alcantara went on the bereavement list. López landed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a right rotator cuff strain.

Rogers, who was pushed back to the fifth day following the break as part of the organization's plan to monitor his workload, has an innings limit of around 175. He is at 106 1/3 frames after Tuesday’s start, with a career high of 136 1/3 between the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels in 2019.

Before the game, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. told that he and Rogers didn’t watch video from his one-inning All-Star appearance in which he flashed the fastest velocity of his career.

"What a great opportunity for him," Stottlemyre said. "He did have some comfort in facing some guys he had already faced, but I was proud of the way that he attacked and was committed to that, because you see a lot of young guys sometimes where they get star-struck a little bit on that stage. They tend to shy away from the zone, and he did a great job."

That’s not the only thing Rogers took away from the global showcase. He saw improvement in his lines and mechanics compared to his four-inning start on July 10 against the Braves. Plus, he now has a good feel for his slider, which has been a work in progress as a third pitch.

Including Tuesday, Rogers has been unable to complete six innings since June 15, a five-start stretch. The two-time National League Rookie of the Month has a 4.01 ERA during that span. The league is adjusting to him and vice versa. But these experiences and lessons will only help him.

"Getting an inning with the best players in this game and having some success really kind of showed me, like, 'Hey, you can compete with these guys each and every time out there,'" said Rogers, who permitted a pair of unearned runs against American League stars like Aaron Judge and J.D. Martinez. "So it really put me in a good headspace.”