After going 14 consecutive starts without his team winning — including seven losses that went on his personal ledger to start this year — Urena beat the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.
“It was awesome to get a win for Jose,” Marlins rookie right fielder Brian Anderson said. “He’s been grinding for us.”
Marlins manager Don Mattingly echoed those sentiments.
“It was good to get Jose on the board,” Mattingly said. “He didn’t have his great stuff (on Tuesday), but he hung in there.”
Urena (1-7, 4.60 ERA) will get a chance for a winning streak Sunday when he faces the San Diego Padres and their starter, Clayton Richard (4-6, 4.67). Richard had 14-win seasons in 2010 and 2012 but is 21-32 since.
The 26-year-old Urena averages 96 mph on his fastball as he is still trying to find his way after what was thought to be a breakthrough season in 2017 at 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA.
Unfortunately for Urena, he has taken a step back this year, although some of that has been a function of poor run support. His WHIP has improved from 1.27 last year to 1.24 this season.
Urena nearly won his first game of the year last week when he allowed one run in six innings against the host Padres. But Brad Ziegler blew the save chance and San Diego eventually swept Miami.
Richard pitched against Miami in that same game, allowing just a two-run homer to Starlin Castro in seven innings. Richard, in seven career starts against the Marlins, has a 2.67 ERA.
Since starters rarely finish games these days, the bullpens could be a big factor in Sunday’s rubber match of the series (Miami won 4-0 on Friday and San Diego prevailed 5-4 on Saturday).
Ziegler, a soft-tosser with a submarine throwing slot, has since lost his closer job and is now being used in the middle innings or in a setup role.