Jeff Brigham has had time to think about what went wrong in his MLB debut. The opportunity to prove he’s better than that three-inning start on Sept. 2, however, has eluded him.
Back-to-back postponed games and the Miami Marlins toying with a six-man rotation for the final month of the season have pushed Brigham’s second big league start to the second game of the Marlins’ Wednesday doubleheader with the Mets — 10 days after his initial start against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I just have to slow the game down, keep within myself and continue to throw strikes because that’s what I’ve had success with this year,” Brigham said. “I got away from that a little bit my first outing.”
Brigham will be the first to admit there was very little of that in his debut. In total he gave up four hits, walked another four, hit a batter and was responsible for three earned runs in three innings of work. Just 45 of his 82 pitches went for strikes. Brigham admitted that nerves got the best of him in the first inning that day.
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“I fell out of sync a little bit, too,” Brigham said. “I just have to get back to where I’m comfortable.”
For the 26-year old, that means reverted to the player that excelled in the minors this season, the one who went 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A New Orleans. That means throwing his fastball that can sit in the mid-90s and utilizing an effective breaking ball and his slider, all of which were tough to find in his debut.
“His command was all over the place,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He seemed just a little amped up from the standpoint of throwing strikes. I think that’s the main thing you’d like to see. You’d like to see him settle down in his second start. The first one was a little all over the place. You want to see another one and see if a week in the big leagues helps him settle down.”
The manager continued: “Let the first start be the first start and move forward and see if we get him to settle down and his stuff turns back to what it’s been. He’ll get four more starts [this season] as long as he’s healthy to see what he can do.”
▪ Marlins players and coaches wore hats honoring the New York City first responders as part of a moving pre-game ceremony remembering the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
Players and coaches stood side-by-side down the baselines with members of the New York Police Department, Fire Department of New York, Port Authority Police Department, Department of Sanitation and Office of Emergency Management during a pre-game ceremony that included a minute-long moment of silence. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro, who was among the thousands of firefighters at the World Trade Center, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
”It feels good to be part of that in some small way with the hats out here,” Mattingly said. “It’s just amazing really when you think about it. If you weren’t here and involved with it, you can’t imagine the kind of devastation that it caused, not only that day but the weeks after and probably for some people years after. ... It’s good that we’re having the day to still remember that and remember the people who lost their lives and the families who were affected after that.”