Anthony “Disco” DeSclafani doesn’t want to become the next Adalberto Mendez, who was the last starter for the Marlins to win his major league debut.
The year was 2010, and Mendez quickly disappeared from the major league scene with only that one win to his name.
If first appearances mean anything, though, DeSclafani looks like he could have a bright future ahead of him. On a night when Jose Fernandez was scheduled to take the mound before a season-ending injury derailed everything, the 24-year-old DeSclafani quieted a Dodger Stadium crowd and helped end the Marlins’ five-game losing streak in a 13-3 romp.
“It’s such an unreal moment,” DeSclafani said. “I can’t believe I got the win. I can’t believe I’m in L.A., and pitching against the Dodgers. It still hasn’t hit me.”
DeSclafani not only slapped the cuffs on the Dodgers with his pitching, holding a dangerous L.A. lineup to a pair of runs on seven hits over six innings, but also drove in a pair of runs in a blowout.
“Just what we needed,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. “I think with any young guy you’re not sure what you’re going to get out there, with all of the emotions surrounding a major league debut. Wow. It was fantastic.”
The 13 runs were the most scored by the Marlins since May 5, 2013, when they put up 14 in a win over the Phillies. The Marlins totaled 17 hits, most coming off Dodgers starter Paul Maholm.
Ed Lucas homered.
Reed Johnson homered.
Jeff Mathis homered.
Giancarlo Stanton extended his career-long hitting streak to 16 games.
The Marlins scored almost as many runs on Wednesday as they did during the five-game losing streak when they mustered only 14.
But the story was DeSclafani, who was called up from Double A Jacksonville to sub for Fernandez, who is preparing to undergo Tommy John surgery.
“I couldn’t believe I was facing the Dodgers lineup, going from Jacksonville to the big leagues,” he said. “I was just trying to control my nerves.”
DeSclafani admitted he was nervous from the time Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett phoned him with the news that the Marlins were calling him up to the way to the time he took the mound in a baseball shrine.
“I was nervous the whole time, ever since I got the phone call from Barkett,” DeSclafani said. “Once he told me I was going to L.A. to start against the Dodgers, I kind of had a big gulp, and couldn’t even breathe. Just couldn’t believe what he said.”
DeSclafani was one of seven players the Marlins received from Toronto in the controversial blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays after the 2012 season, and provided one more example of why some now feel the Marlins got the better end of the deal.
DeSclafani was unflustered in front of a Dodger Stadium crowd of 39,498. He was pumping mid-90s fastballs early before freezing Hanley Ramirez on a 80-mph slider for a called third strike. It was the first of DeSclafani’s seven whiffs.
“I couldn’t believe that I struck somebody out, and it was Hanley,” DeSclafani said. “I got him looking, and it was a cool feeling for sure.”
As DeSclafani was doing his thing, the other two members of the so-called “Three Amigos” pitching troika that includes top prospects Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino were tweeting their excitement. Heaney and Nicolino, who are a part of an arsenal of young arms the Marlins have stockpiled in the minors, were with DeSclafani in Jacksonville before his call-up.
Tweeted Nicolino: “Making that first inning look easy! He was born ready!”
Tweeted Heaney after Ramirez went down looking on a nasty slider: “Hey Hanley, go sit in the truck!”
DeSclafani even got involved in the Marlins’ six-run second inning, driving in a run on his first big-league at bat with a ground ball that ate up Dodger second baseman Dee Gordon. When he came up in the sixth, he singled to drive in another run.
On a day in which the Marlins also signed veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, the Marlins were vague about any future fans involving DeSclafani. If the rookie didn’t pitch well, the consensus belief was that he would go back to Jacksonville and Wolf would move into the rotation.
The Marlins may be reluctant to do that given DeSclafani’s performance.
Wolf made his first appearance, taking over in relief for DeSclafani to start the seventh and worked the final three innings to qualify for his first major league save.
“That’s the beauty of baseball,” Redmond said. “You never know what you’re going to see. You’ve got a 37-year-old guy get the save and a rookie getting his first major league win.”