For teams out of pennant contention, September is a time when youth is served and seeds for the future are hopefully planted in hopes of eventually becoming a contender.
Brian Flynn will make his major league debut for the Miami Marlins on Wednesday when they wrap up their series with the Chicago Cubs.
Miami (52-85) already appears to have one arm to build around in Jose Fernandez, who likely will be on the short list for NL Rookie of the Year voting with his 10-6 record, 2.33 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 158 2-3 innings.
Now the Marlins will get their first look at the 23-year-old Flynn, whom they acquired last year as part of a five-player trade that sent Anibal Sanchez - himself a promising Marlins rookie pitcher at one point - and infielder Omar Infante to Detroit.
The left-hander went a combined 7-12 with a 2.63 ERA in 27 starts in the minors, making four starts at Double-A Jacksonville before being promoted to Triple-A New Orleans. The 6-foot-7 Flynn struck out 147 in 161 innings over both stops and is excited his debut will be at a venerable place like iconic Wrigley Field.
"It's a great ballpark, a historic ballpark, and I'm a real big fan of baseball, so it's one of those things I couldn't ask for more," he said to the team's official website. "I was really hoping to make it happen this year and get my feet wet at the end of the season."
Another rookie made an impact to put the Marlins in position for their first three-game sweep at Wrigley since May 28-30, 1997, as Christian Yelich had an RBI double to spark a three-run fifth and went 3 for 5 with two RBIs in Miami's 6-2 victory Tuesday night. The 22-year-old left fielder is 11 for 20 with two doubles and a homer while hitting safely in his last five games and is batting .368 in 19 road games.
"He's done a nice job and he just continues to get more and more confident day in and day out,'' manager Mike Redmond said of Yelich. "They're bringing in a lot of lefties against him but he's been having good at-bats. I think you're starting to see the results of him facing those lefties. He's starting to get some hits now, but he gives us a great at-bat every time. He's a great young player and he is going to be a great player in the big leagues for a long time.''
One of the Cubs home-grown players - Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.13 ERA) - will try to prevent the sweep and win a season-high third straight decision. The right-hander failed to protect a 5-0 lead Friday after being reached for five runs - all of which came after he shut out the Phillies the first five innings - and eight hits in 6 2-3 frames before the Cubs (58-80) eventually lost 6-5.
Samardzija will be making his first appearance against the Marlins this year. He went 0-1 in two starts in 2012, giving up six runs while striking out 12 in 8 2-3 innings.
Chicago's best rookie - left fielder Junior Lake - walked as a pinch-hitter Tuesday, but is 6 for 34 (.176) with 12 strikeouts in his last nine games.