Mattingly believes in Game 2 starter despite recent struggles

Updated 10/1/2020 6:30 PM

Before Game 2 between the Cubs and Marlins was postponed Thursday, Marlins manager Don Mattingly talked about the decision to choose rookie Sixto Sanchez as his starting pitcher.

Sanchez, 21, made his major league debut on Aug. 22 and posted a 1.69 ERA in his first five starts. His last two didn't go as well, though. The Dominican Republic native gave up 9 earned runs over 7 innings against Washington and Atlanta.


"You don't want to go through a series and this guy doesn't end up pitching," Mattingly said. "We feel like his stuff I dynamic enough, he can dominate a game if he's on and we didn't want to have a scenario where we he doesn't pitch.

Sanchez is a big guy, listed at 6-feet, 234 pounds. He's not much of a strikeout pitcher, with 33 in 39 innings. His most common path to success has been the ground ball out.

"We realize he struggled a couple different times," Mattingly said. "A lot of that was we felt like an approach and mentality of how he was going about things, and kind where he was trying to go and where we needed him to go differently. As much as anything, we trust his stuff and really felt like he got off track of using what he need to use to set himself up for success."

The Marlins are planning to use Pablo Lopez, 24, in Game 3 if needed. He has one career start against the Cubs in April, 2019, a 4-0 loss.

"We knew Pablo has pitched a lot of big games if we get to a Game 3," Mattingly said. "He's been a stopper for us kind of all year long, been one of the mainstays during the COVID; was the one guy we tried to get the ball to a lot. We felt he would be best suited to that type of game if we got there."


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