Miami Marlins

Marlins’ Riddle finding his comfort zone at shortstop with Hechavarria out

Los Angeles Angels' Jefry Marte (19) slides into a double play at second base as the Miami Marlins' J.T. Riddle turns two in the sixth inning on Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Los Angeles Angels' Jefry Marte (19) slides into a double play at second base as the Miami Marlins' J.T. Riddle turns two in the sixth inning on Sunday, May 28, 2017. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

The Marlins are going to have a tough choice to make when Adeiny Hechavarria returns from the disabled list.

Do they hand the shortstop’s job back to Hechavarria? Or will they allow J.T. Riddle to remain there?

It’s a question for the future, as Hechavarria is still weeks away from returning from an oblique injury. But the rookie from Kentucky made another nice impression on Sunday afternoon when he drove in three runs with a double and a home run in the Marlins’ 9-2 victory over the Angels.

Riddle is now hitting .258 with three homers and 13 RBI in only 25 games. He’s also played solidly in the field.

On Sunday, manager Don Mattingly put him in the leadoff spot and Riddle responded, coming up with a two-run homer in the fifth that put the Marlins on top and an RBI double in the sixth.

“It’s tough hitting up here, that’s for sure,” Riddle said.

But even Riddle acknowledged that he’s pleased with how he’s done overall.

“[I’m] a lot more comfortable up here, of course,” Riddle said. “The more at-bats I get and playing every day helps. You’re in there every day and you’re getting your four or five at-bats, so that’s kind of huge.”

NEEDING SOME LUCK

Brad Ziegler has been arguably the unluckiest pitcher in the majors.

While Ziegler has a 6.75 ERA, allowing 27 hits and 11 walks in only  21 1/3 innings, he is accomplishing his goal of inducing ground balls. Many, to his great frustration, are just finding holes for hits.

“I feel like, for the most part, I’ve pitched a lot better than my numbers would indicate,” Ziegler said. “But the bottom line is my results aren’t there, and this game is a results-based game. May’s been a disaster in a lot of ways.”

Marlins_vs_Braves_MJO_17
Miami Marlins' Brad Ziegler (29) pitches in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park in Little Havana on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. MATIAS J. OCNER For the Miami Herald

Among the 266 pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings this season, Ziegler has the highest ratio of ground balls to fly balls in the majors: 2.50. He’s given up 50 ground balls against only 20 fly balls.

But his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .355, which ranks 249th.

“My whole career I’ve had to learn to accept pitching to contact,” Ziegler said. “That’s the whole point of submarining. It’s not a strikeout style of pitching.”

Ziegler is hoping the law of averages works in his favor the rest of the way.

“This game typically finds a way of evening out,” Ziegler said. “I think if that’s going to be the case, it’s going to be a really good last four months for me.”

Ziegler took a step in the right direction on Sunday when, after hitting the first batter he faced with a pitch, he got a double-play grounder before closing out the sixth inning unscathed.

STAYING POSITIVE

Edinson Volquez tries not to think about his 0-7 record.

“I don’t look at it,” Volquez said. “For me, I’m thinking I’m 0-0. That’s the mentality you have to have. You’re going to go crazy if you look at the numbers. In my mind, I don’t want to think about 0-7.”

Volquez will be on the mound on Monday night when the Marlins open a three-game series against the Phillies. If he loses his next decision, he’ll become the first starting pitcher to begin his Marlins career by losing his first eight decisions.

COMING UP

▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Volquez (0-7, 4.82 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

▪ Tuesday: Marlins (TBA) vs. Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.55), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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