MIAMI -- In a lost, injury-plagued season for the Texas Rangers, this brief two-game series against the Miami Marlins provided at least some joy for two of the team's young players who were able to pitch in front of their home crowds for the first time.
On Tuesday, it was right-hander Miles Mikolas, 25, who played Division II college baseball locally at Nova Southeastern University. He pitched fairly well Tuesday, earning a no-decision after allowing three runs in five-plus innings.
On Wednesday, it was right-hander Nick Martinez, 24, who played his high school ball at Miami's Belen Jesuit. He beat the Marlins, 5-3, to improve his record to 3-9.
Martinez struck out a career-high seven in six innings, allowing just six hits, two walks and two runs in what must be considered his best overall start since he beat the Detroit Tigers on May 24.
"This was very special," Martinez said of beating the Marlins. "I got to pitch in my hometown against a team I grew up watching. That was pretty cool -- even better we came out on top."
The highlight for Mikolas was striking out Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton -- who leads the National League in home run and RBIs -- on a 3-2 slider.
Mikolas was able to earn some revenge against Stanton.
"He was the first batter I ever faced when I got called up (with the San Diego Padres), and he hit a home run off of me," Mikolas said of his May 5, 2012, MLB debut. "So to make sure that he didn't do that again was a little bit of a personal victory. And to strike him out was even better."
That strikeout happened in the third inning of a scoreless game. The Marlins had runners on first and second and two out, and Mikolas threw Stanton a steady diet of sliders.
Stanton finally swung and missed at a low slider for strike three.
"We got a good (scouting) report on him, and we just stuck to the plan," Mikolas said. "I knew it was a big out."
Perhaps he was being overly humble, but Mikolas said that his last pitch in that sequence was his only good one during that at-bat.
"I had hung (a slider) that Stanton fouled back, and I threw another one high and inside that I was lucky that he swung through," Mikolas said. "Then I finally got on top of one, made a good pitch, and I got him swinging."
Mikolas said he is proud of what former NSU stars are doing this year in the majors.
"(Outfielder) J.D. Martinez is having an unbelievable year with the (Detroit) Tigers," Mikolas said. "(Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike) Fiers struck out 14 the other day (August 14 against the Chicago Cubs).
"It's really good for the kids (at NSU) to see guys from there now playing in the major leagues. A lot of people want to dog on Division II. But the conference we're in (at NSU) is as good or better than a lot of Division I programs."
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Royals (RHP Yordano Ventura, 9-9, 3.48 ERA) at Rangers (RHP Colby Lewis, 8-10, 5.52 ERA)
--RHP Colby Lewis will make his 23rd start of the season Friday when the Rangers return home to face the first-place Kansas City Royals (AL Central). Lewis, 35, pitched better since the All-Star break -- he has a 3.29 ERA since that point. But he is 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA in five career appearances vs. the Royals, including four starts. The last time he faced the Royals was in 2012.
--RHP Nick Martinez, pitching in his hometown for the first time in his MLB career, defeated the Miami Marlins 5-4 Wednesday afternoon. Martinez struck out a career-high seven in six innings, allowing just six hits, two walks and two runs in what must be considered his best overall start since he beat the Detroit Tigers on May 24. Martinez (3-9) is a 24-year-old rookie who played his high school ball at Miami's Belen Jesuit. But he has always gone under the radar. He didn't get a big-time scholarship -- playing instead at Fordham University as an infielder/pitcher. The Rangers drafted him in the 18th round in 2011, and he finally made his major league debut on April 5.
--LHP Derek Holland pitched five-plus innings Tuesday in a minor league rehab game. He allowed four runs, two earned, and could return to the majors next month, Washington said. Holland missed the entire season since left-knee surgery in March. In Tuesday's start, he threw 87 pitches, 52 of them for strikes, and gave up one homer, three walks and seven hits. He also struck out seven.
--RF Alex Rios, who was scratched an hour before Tuesday's game due to a bruised right thumb, started Wednesday and went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Rios' injury won't fully heal until the offseason. Washington explained that Rios is fine if he gets around on a pitch squarely. But if he is jammed -- which happens to all players -- the injury is aggravated.
--1B J.P. Arencibia, who played high school ball at Miami's Westminster Christian, started on Wednesday and went 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and one RBI. Rangers manager Ron Washington said the fact that Arencibia is from here factored into his decision to give him the start over 1B Mike Carp. "He's a work in progress," Washington said about Arencibia as a first baseman. "He is able to catch what's hit to him and move around the bag. But he's nowhere near a first baseman yet." What about catcher, the position Arencibia played the most? "Not this year," Washington said. "He can do that, but we've got catchers. He's going to be first base/DH."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This was very special. I got to pitch in my hometown against a team I grew up watching. That was pretty cool -- even better that we came out on top." -- Rangers RHP Nick Martinez on the Marlins in Miami on Wednesday.
--RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 14, retroactive to Aug. 10. He will resume throwing when the soreness subsides, though he acknowledged he might not pitch again this season. On Aug. 14, Darvish met with a doctor who saw no indication to believe the mild inflammation would be a long-term problem.
--LHP Derek Holland (microfracture left knee surgery in January 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 3. He threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session April 2 in Surprise, Ariz. He was in Arlington, Texas, on April 28 working on drills designed to strengthen his knee. Holland threw a bullpen session April 29. He pitched three innings in a simulated game May 15. He threw a bullpen session May 25. He threw a pain-free bullpen session May 30. He left for Arizona on June 11 to work on strengthening the knee and throwing batting practice. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on July 30. He made rehab starts Aug. 4 for Triple-A Round Rock and Aug. 9 for Frisco. He started for Round Rock on Aug. 14 and Aug. 19.
--RHP Alexi Ogando (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list June 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 3.
--DH Jake Smolinski (bruised left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list July 25.
--1B Mitch Moreland (left ankle impingement) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 24. He underwent season-ending reconstructive surgery June 23.
--1B Prince Fielder (herniated disk in neck) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 17, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 20. He underwent surgery May 27 to fuse two neck disks. There is a chance he could return to action late in the season.
--RHP Tanner Scheppers (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list June 11. It is his second stint on the DL with the same problem.
--2B Jurickson Profar (torn right shoulder muscle) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 23. He was cleared for baseball activities April 29. He played catch May 7 and played in extended spring training games as of May 13. He left for Arizona on June 10 to begin an advanced conditioning program. He was cleared to start a throwing program in mid-August.
--OF Engel Beltre (fractured tibia in right leg) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He resumed hitting and throwing as of May 18. He ran bases on June 9 with no trouble. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on June 26, then moved to Double-A Frisco on July 11. He was shut down for a month before starting a new rehab assignment in the rookie-level Arizona League on Aug. 16.
--LHP Martin Perez (partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in left elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 20. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery May 19.
--LHP Matt Harrison (displaced vertebra) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He had season-ending spinal fusion surgery June 3.
--INF Kevin Kouzmanoff (herniated back disk) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 25. He underwent surgery May 6.
--LHP Pedro Figueroa (left elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 7. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repaired April 30.
RHP Colby Lewis
RHP Nick Tepesch
RHP Miles Mikolas
RHP Nick Martinez
RHP Neftali Feliz (closer)
LHP Neal Cotts
RHP Shawn Tolleson
RHP Scott Baker
RHP Roman Mendez
RHP Phil Klein
LHP Alex Claudio
RHP Jon Edwards
1B Mike Carp
2B Rougned Odor
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Adrian Beltre
INF Adam Rosales
LF Daniel Robertson
CF Leonys Martin
RF Alex Rios
DH Shin-Soo Choo
OF Jim Adduci
- Sports & Recreation
- Miami Marlins
- Miles Mikolas
- Nick Martinez
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Ron Washington