But Chen hasn’t been seen since for them on the mound, and it might be Friday — after the Marlins return home from the road trip — before he makes his second start.
That’s because the Marlins want to give their big offseason acquisition a chance to fully heal before putting him back on the mound. A line drive struck Chen near his left elbow in the opener, and it has remained sore ever since.
Initially, manager Don Mattingly thought Chen would start Wednesday in New York, telling reporters as much before Sunday’s game against the Nationals. Afterward, he said Adam Conley would probably get that start, with Chen likely going Friday in Miami.
Conley came out of his first start last Thursday after pitching only one inning. Following an 85-minute rain delay, Mattingly decided not to chance it by sending him back out once play resumed.
▪ The Marlins dodged Nationals starter Max Scherzer in the Washington series after the pitcher’s start was pushed back a day because of Saturday’s postponement. They will also avoid Jacob deGrom when they head up to New York. The Mets have scratched deGrom from his scheduled start Wednesday because of lat tightness.
MAKING THEM PAY
Adeiny Hechavarria stepped to the plate on Thursday believing the Nationals would walk him intentionally. It was the third inning of a tie game. The Marlins had a runner on third with two outs, and pitcher David Phelps — a career .118 hitter — was due up next.
But the Nationals gambled by pitching to Hechavarria and he made them pay, stroking a go-ahead single. He had another two-out RBI hit later in the game.
“It surprised me,” Hechavarria said of the Nationals’ strategy in that first at-bat. “After I got the hit, I’m sure they had second thoughts.”
Hechavarria is best known for his slick fielding. But he’s no slouch with the bat. Of the National League’s hitters with at least 175 plate appearances in the No. 8 spot in the lineup last season, he boasted the highest average (.305) and OPS (.756).
▪ According to Elias, Phelps on Thursday became the fourth Marlins pitcher to record a victory when pitching at least four scoreless innings of relief. The others: Brian Moehler (2006), Burke Badenhop (2009) and Kevin Slowey (2013).
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (2-5, 4.52 ERA in 2015) at New York Mets LHP Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27 in 2015), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (0-1, 7.94) at Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.