The Miami Marlins will start the 2019 season with a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park.
After finishing the Grapefruit League with a 15-13 record, Miami will be facing a team it did not see during spring training. The Rockies took part in the Cactus League, where they finished with a 14-15 mark. Records in spring training mean nothing, but Miami's strong pitching during the month could point to some improvements this season.
Jose Urena will be the first of Miami's pitchers to take the mound, when he is handed the ball for a second consecutive Opening Day assignment. Urena served up a home run on the first pitch of the 2018 season and ended up on the losing end of an ugly game for the Marlins. Urena finished last season strong and was solid during spring training.
Trevor Richards will start Friday's game, after finishing off an exceptional month of spring training. Richards was a question mark to even make the team when pitchers reported to Jupiter and now he is listed second on the depth chart. The right-hander has one of the best changeups in baseball and he has been working hard on adding other types of pitches to his arsenal. If Richards can be consistent in 2019, he could put Miami's rotation over the top.
Pablo Lopez is Miami's listed starter for Saturday evening, following five superb appearances in the Grapefruit League. Lopez had a sparkling 0.90 E.R.A in his 20 spring innings. The right-hander struck out 16 and walked only one, while holding opposing hitters to a .149 batting average. Lopez recently turned 23 and is currently Miami's youngest player on the roster.
Sandy Alcantara will start for the Marlins in the series finale on Sunday. The 23-year old spent time in AAA and in the big-leagues in 2018 with mixed results. Alcantara has a live arm with a big fastball, but he has some command issues at times. Alcantara is still a project, but he has the potential to be an ace. If Alcantara can improve his command on off-speed pitches, he could end up Miami's Opening Day pitcher in 2020.
The Rockies have some solid arms and Miami will be seeing four of them in the series. The Marlins are expected to struggle all season offensively and the Colorado arms will not make the task any easier. Colorado is sending Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray to the mound in the series. The Rockies also have a solid bullpen, with veteran closer Wade Davis waiting for a late lead.
Lewis Brinson will be looking to get off to a hot start, after some big struggles throughout the 2018 season. Miami has not announced a starting lineup as of yet, but Brinson could move around the order as the season goes on. The speedy centerfielder is capable of leading off, but is also a power threat at times. While struggling last season, Brinson was dropped to the back of the batting order as well.
Thursday's first pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.