As the Marlins play out the final games of what has been a most disappointing season, at least there is something worth watching.
When rookie pitchers Jacob Turner and Nathan Eovaldi take the mound, the Marlins get a chance to look into their future. Both turned in the best starts of their young careers in the past week.
“I’m pleased with the way they’ve performed,’’ Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We’re talking about 20-, 21-year-old kids. We can’t expect them to do what they’ve done in every start. But we’re taking a good look at these kids.’’
Last Friday night, Turner picked up his first major-league victory by giving up two hits in a career-high seven innings as Miami shut out Cincinnati 4-0.
Turner, 21, starts Friday night as the Marlins kick off their final road trip of the season. Turner, acquired from Detroit in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante deal on July 23, is facing the Mets for the first time in just his third road start.
Turner and Eovaldi are expected to compete for spots in the rotation come March, so these remaining games aren’t meaningless to them.
“Being here now really helps out as far as the comfort level goes,’’ Turner said. “I’m just trying to build on things, start to start. I’m trying to keep the good and fix the bad.’’
Like Turner, Eovaldi turned some heads in his previous start. Eovaldi was in line for his fourth win since making his Marlins debut on July 28, shutting out the Braves over eight innings of four-hit ball on Tuesday. Had Miami’s bullpen not given up three runs in the ninth, Eovaldi would have had his fifth win of the year.
Eovaldi’s 4-12 record earns him the distinction of the worst winning percentage of any pitcher with at least 14 decisions in baseball. But he has had his moments. Acquired from the Dodgers in the Hanley Ramirez deal, Eovaldi has lasted at least five innings seven times in 12 starts. He has also surrendered three runs or fewer in seven starts.
After giving up six runs and eight hits in two innings last month in Atlanta, Eovaldi, a 22-year-old right-hander, obviously picked something up.
“I didn’t really try to do anything different against the Braves,’’ Eovaldi said. “This time I was able to locate my off-speed pitches. They eliminated them and hit the fastball. [Tuesday] I was able to locate everything for the most part.’’
Said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez: “I don’t remember the last time we saw a starter throwing 97 [mph], 98 in the eighth inning [like Eovaldi on Tuesday]. He was really good.’’
Miami is also getting an extended look at rookie catcher Rob Brantly, who made his big-league debut with the Marlins on Aug. 14. Also from the Dodgers, Brantly goes into New York with a nine-game hitting streak and is hitting .448 with four doubles, a homer and four RBI during that run.
In Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Atlanta, Brantly pinch-hit in the 10th and drew a walk. He then raced home with the winning run off a bloop single to right from Jose Reyes. On Monday, he had a career-high three hits against the Braves.
“There was an adjustment when I first got here, but the game is slowing down a little bit for me now,’’ Brantly said.
• Friday: New York Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (11-9, 3.46 ERA) vs. Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (1-2, 3.75), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
• Scouting report: The Mets were expected to be bad — and could still end up behind the surprisingly last-place Marlins in the NL East cellar. “You just don’t want to finish in last place,” said Reyes, a former Met. “I don’t care who you have to beat, you need to do it.”