Miami Marlins

Could two strong outings against the Dodgers be the turning point for Adam Conley?

Don Mattingly talks about Adam Conley

Adam Conley is trying to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season and cement a spot in the starting rotation.
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Adam Conley is trying to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season and cement a spot in the starting rotation.

It has been a season of trials and tribulations for Adam Conley during his second full year as a reliever.

The 29-year-old Miami Marlins’ lefty has gone through his share of lumps, most recently a run in which he gave up multiple runs in four of five appearances that lasted at least an inning.

He has been working with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. to fine-tune different parts of his game — his pitch selection, his location, where he stands on the mound.

“It’s been a little bit of a moving target this year,” Conley said. “There’s been some positives and some hard lessons along the way. We’re still trying to fine tune some stuff, still find that sweet spot.”

This weekend, after two-and-a-half weeks of struggles, Conley showed signs of a potential breakthrough. He threw three innings of scoreless relief against a potent Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, working around a pair of jams on Saturday and throwing a perfect eighth inning on Sunday.

It marked the first time that Conley threw scoreless outings of at least an inning on consecutive days since May 5 against the Atlanta Braves and May 6 against the Chicago Cubs.

The goal now is to see if he can sustain that success as the Marlins continue with the final two-plus months of the season, starting with their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

“Any time you’re able to put a few games together, you’re confidence starts to build,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “... Probably for a while there, Adam felt like every time he went out there, he was giving up runs. You walk out there with that. Just try to put good outings behind him.”

Conley, a cerebral person in general who has an overall good self-evaluation of his makeup, has taken notice to how the small changes throughout the year have impacted his performance. He is adaptive to change, but is also doing his best to stay true to himself as well.

The most noticeable difference this weekend: A resurgence in his fastball velocity.

Conley, who has averaged 95.5 mph on his fastball this season, topped out at 98.1 mph on Saturday and averaged 95.8 mph on 17 four-seam fastballs over his two innings. For comparison, he only had his fastball top 95 mph in two of six games prior to his two appearances against in Los Angeles.

“I’ve always trusted in my stuff. I know that I have good stuff,” Conley said. “This league is, there’s a reason only so many people make it to this level. ... It’s a matter for me of figuring out how best to set that stuff up. So this was good feedback for me these past few days. Just have to keep it going.”

Injury updates

Miguel Rojas is out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive day Monday while he nurses a right shoulder strain. He tested the shoulder out pregame and hopes to be back in the starting lineup at some point during the White Sox series.

Right-handed pitcher Pablo Lopez (right shoulder strain) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.

Jon Berti (left oblique strain) is slated to restart his rehab assignment with Triple A New Orleans on Tuesday.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.