Major League Baseball

Marlins’ Yamamoto set for debut vs. Cardinals

mlb7CARDINALS (33-32) AT MARLINS (23-42)
7:10 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-M, MLB.TV

With the Miami Marlins having scored just 10 runs in their past six games, all losses, the team made a move late Tuesday night, calling up … a pitcher.

Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto is set to make his major league debut on Wednesday when the Marlins host the St. Louis Cardinals, who will be looking to complete a three-game sweep.

The Marlins scratched veteran right-hander Jose Urena from his scheduled Wednesday start due to a back injury, and he is likely headed to the injured list.

“We didn’t think it was anything,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Urena’s injury. “He’s been getting treatment … but we’re going to get it checked out.”

Instead, Miami will go with Yamamoto, a 23-year-old Hawaii native who is 3-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Jacksonville this year. Last year, he had a 1.83 ERA in three stops in the lower minors and posted a 2.08 ERA in the Arizona Fall League.

Yamamoto was acquired by the Marlins in January 2018 as part of what is so far a lopsided trade in which the Milwaukee Brewers($12) acquired outfielder Christian Yelich, who went on to win the 2018 National League Most Valuable Player award. The Marlins also got center fielder Lewis Brinson in that trade, but he was returned to the minors earlier this season after hitting just .197 in 27 games.

Yamamoto is undersized for his position at 6 feet and 185 pounds, and he is not overpowering with a fastball that tops out at 92 mph. He makes up for those shortcomings with a high spin rate on a plus curveball and a fading changeup that keeps batters off his fastball.

He was part of a Honolulu Saint Louis High athletic program that has sent quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovailoa to big-time football.

The Cardinals will counter Yamamoto with Miles Mikolas (4-6, 4.54 ERA). The right-hander lasted just four innings in his most recent start, but it was not performance-related.

On Friday, Mikolas was hit on his right forearm by a hard comebacker from Chicago Cubs($9) second baseman David Bote.

“There was a little bit of swelling,” said Mikolas, who exited the game after retiring Bote to end the fourth inning. “I got hit on the meaty part of my arm. There were no cracks, breaks or chips — it didn’t catch bone.”

Once the swelling went down, it was determined that Mikolas would not miss a start.

Mikolas, a native Floridian who played NCAA Division II baseball at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in five appearances, including three starts, against his hometown team. He is also 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts at Marlins Park.

The Cardinals are hoping that some home cooking will spark Mikolas, who went 18-4 last year with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts, including one shutout.

Mikolas’ big issue this year is the long ball — he has allowed 13 homers in 13 starts after allowing just 16 homers all of last season.

Another issue: After going 10-0 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 road starts last year, he is just 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in six starts away from home this season.

The Cardinals got a boost on Tuesday when nine-time All-Star catcher Yadier Molina returned to the lineup, going 2-for-5. He had missed 11 games due to a strained tendon on his right thumb.

Former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna also went 2-for-5 on Tuesday. That performance included Ozuna’s 18th homer of the season. Since the Marlins traded Ozuna to St. Louis on Dec. 14, 2017, the slugger is hitting .452 (14-for-31) in eight games against Miami.

–Field Level Media

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