7/27/2013 11:07 P.M. ET
Alvarez latest Marlin to show off power pitching
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The velocity startled even his manager.
In the Marlins' 2-0 win over the Pirates on Friday night, Henderson Alvarez blew a 98-mph fastball by Gaby Sanchez to end the second inning.
The strikeout came with a runner in scoring position, but it also was the hardest fastball the right-hander has thrown this season.
"It kind of set me back a little bit that he had that in there," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I hadn't seen that in there. I saw him in Spring Training turning it loose at 93, and even during the season at 93. But he had a little extra bounce in his step last night. That was fun to watch."
Catcher Jeff Mathis said he had seen Alvarez throw hard last year at Toronto. In the first inning, the right-hander was bringing 97-mph heaters on a regular basis.
Alvarez is the third Marlins starting pitcher this season to reach at least 98 mph. He joins Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi, who has maxed at 99 mph this year.
Not since the days of A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett and Brad Penny have the Marlins had three right-handers bringing fastballs a click or two under 100 mph.
"A.J., Brad Penny and Josh Beckett ... I caught them all," Redmond said.
The young Miami staff has excelled all season, and especially of late. Redmond senses the pitchers are feeding off each other.
"I think what we've got here and what we've created is great, friendly competition with all these guys," Redmond said. "You saw that with Alvarez. This guy, he doesn't want to be in the shadows of these young guys. He wants to be talked about just like they are. He was like, 'Hey, I want to make a statement against the best team in the league.'"
Slowey feels pain warming up, lands on DL
MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander Kevin Slowey is heading to the disabled list with right forearm discomfort.
The 29-year-old experienced pain in his throwing arm while warming up in the third inning on Saturday night in Miami's 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh.
Slowey, who has contributed in the rotation and out of the bullpen, is 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 92 innings.
The Marlins will make a corresponding move before they face the Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Slowey has been a versatile veteran who has handled a variety of roles. Due to injuries, Slowey opened the season as the No. 2 starter, and in 14 starts, he went 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA. In six relief appearances, he is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA.
Formerly with the Twins, Slowey made the Marlins as a non-roster invitee. He spent time on the DL in 2011 with an abdominal strain and right biceps soreness.
Due to injuries, Slowey had not pitched in the big leagues since he threw 59 1/3 innings for the Twins that year.
Slowey was loosening up in the third inning on Saturday after Tom Koehler got into early trouble.
"He was warming up down there, and his forearm tightened up on him," manager Mike Redmond said. "He wasn't able to go. Without him being our long guy, we had to make an adjustment and piece it together."
Marlins putting Yelich in spot to succeed
MIAMI -- Christian Yelich already possesses a picturesque swing, a plan at the plate and immense confidence.
The Marlins' 22-year-old outfielder also has the benefit of batting second, just ahead of slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
"He's a great hitter, one of the best hitters in the game," Yelich said. "It definitely doesn't hurt hitting in front of a guy like that. That's going to be awesome."
Yelich was called up from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday, and he's already made an impact. Many player evaluators believe he will be a perennial .300 hitter.
In putting together the lineup, manager Mike Redmond is simply looking for the top of the order to get on base for Stanton. Miami has been going with Adeiny Hechavarria leading off and Yelich second.
"When I look at that lineup, I don't really look at it as him hitting in front of Stanton as much as I wanted [Yelich] to hit at the top of the order," Redmond said. "He has speed and he is able to get on base. We need those guys to get on base as much as possible to help Stanton out, so they eventually have to pitch to him. That's what we're looking at."
Still, Yelich is learning the ropes in the big leagues. But to fulfill his potential, he understands he has to make adjustments and remain grounded.
"I think it's going to come down to an experience thing," Yelich said. "Kind of just feel it out and make some adjustments from there. You kind of know what you're getting into, but not really. It is the big leagues, but you can't really look at it any differently."
A first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Yelich enjoys the big stage and showing what he can do.
"You've got to be confident," he said. "If you go up there with no confidence, it's not going to end well for you. You realize there are going to be ups and downs. That's the game of baseball. You've been dealing with it your whole life, so you should be all right with that."
No shortage of save chances now for Cishek
MIAMI -- When your closer is getting plenty of opportunities, it's a good thing.
On the flip side, the concern of winning close games nightly is that your closer might be getting too much work.
Marlins closer Steve Cishek collected his 21st save on Friday night, working a scoreless ninth inning in a 2-0 win against Pittsburgh.
"That's a good problem to have -- your closer is in there four, five days in a row," manager Mike Redmond said. "I couldn't get him into the game the first two months. Now he's pitching a lot, which is great."
Cishek has now appeared in four of the Marlins' past five games, picking up saves in all four. He needed 23 pitches to get out of a first-and-third jam on Friday, and he struck out two.
In those four games, Cishek threw a total of 58 pitches.
Redmond and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez are closely monitoring Cishek's workload. If the closer needs a breather, Mike Dunn, Chad Qualls and A.J. Ramos are options to close.
"We really keep track of their workload," Redmond said. "We had hoped [Thursday] we would be able to keep him out of that game, but it didn't happen."
The Marlins beat the Rockies, 5-3, on Thursday at Coors Field. The lead was five runs entering the ninth inning, but Cishek was called in with no outs after two runs scored while Kevin Slowey was in the game. Cishek was able to lock down the win.
"We'll continue to monitor him day to day," Redmond said. "He looks good. He's confident, and he's doing a great job. Sometimes it goes in spurts. You'll be in three, four, five in a row, and then you'll be out three, four, five in a row."
• First baseman Casey Kotchman, on the 60-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, is expected to begin playing in rehab-assignment games at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., at the end of next week.
• Chris Coghlan, on the DL with right calf nerve irritation and back ailments, is scheduled to continue his recovery in Jupiter sometime next week. Coghlan fielded some ground balls on Saturday, and he's done some limited hitting in the batting cages. He's also been throwing regularly. When Coghlan heads to Jupiter, he won't immediately be playing in games. Instead, he will be ramping up his baseball activities.
• Jake Marisnick's single in the sixth inning in Friday's 2-0 win over the Pirates snapped an 0-for-14 slump to start his MLB career. The drought is now the longest by a Marlins position player to start his tenure with the organization. Nate Rolison started off 0-for-12 in 2000.
• Alvarez's win on Friday extended a streak for Marlins pitchers of going at least six innings while allowing no more than two earned runs to six straight games. According to Elias, it's the longest such streak in 11 years. In June 2002, the starters had a similar such streak over a team-record seven straight games.