MIAMI -- Sometimes when you are trying to establish the inside part of the plate, pitches get away. On those occasions, hitters tend get upset, like what transpired in the fourth inning of Miami's 11-2 win over the Nationals on Tuesday night.
The umpires issued warnings after Tom Koehler's fastball sailed up and in on Ian Desmond. It wasn't the first pitch to get away from Koehler, who buzzed Jayson Werth.
Koehler certainly wasn't trying to hit anyone, but he definitely was looking to establish pitching inside. For good reason, the Marlins had lost eight straight games, and over that stretch the pitching struggled.
Opponents were getting way too comfortable, and Koehler sought to establish his game plan.
"We've been beaten too many times late in the game over these last couple series, and that's because we haven't established in," Koehler said.
Koehler sent a message, and when Desmond took exception, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia came to his pitcher's defense.
"We were trying to pitch our game," Saltalamacchia said. "We've got to mix our pitches. Last few nights we were missing over the middle of the plate. [Tuesday], we had to really concentrate on getting on both sides of the plate.
Saltalamacchia notes the Marlins aren't looking to become some buzz teams inside club. They need to make pitches to all sides of the plate.
"I'm not going to say we need to establish in," the catcher said. "I think we need to make our pitches. We've made some bad pitches over the last few games where we left pitches over the middle of the plate. We were trying to go away, leaving it over the middle. Try to go in, leaving it over the middle. I'm not going to say we're going to go in on everybody, but we've got to hit both sides of the plate, and we've got to continue to pitch."
Marlins move Slowey into rotation, Hand to 'pen
MIAMI -- Without having to make a roster move, the Marlins were able to revise their rotation with a simple switch.
Kevin Slowey will get the start on Sunday against the Mariners at Marlins Park, which marks the end of the homestand.
Slowey will flip with lefty Brad Hand, who goes from starter to the bullpen.
When the season opened, both were used as long relievers. But Hand was moved into the rotation when Jacob Turner was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain on April 9, retroactive to April 4.
"Hopefully, Slowey will go out there and give us some innings," manager Mike Redmond said.
Because of upcoming off days in the next couple of weeks, the Marlins are considering staying with a four-man rotation. They wouldn't need the fifth starter until May 3 at home against the Dodgers. By then, Turner could be off the disabled list.
"We may not need that starter again, for a while," Redmond said.
Slowey will be making his first start since July 8, 2013 against the Braves.
A year ago with Miami, Slowey appeared in 20 games with 14 starts. He opened the season as the No. 2 starter, but also worked long relief in the bullpen.
In his career, Slowey has 104 big league starts.
"Last year, he came in and had some decent starts," Redmond said. "Really, at the beginning of the year I liked the flexibility of having two long guys. That changed when Jake got hurt. Brad had a couple of starts. It was a battle for him. He will go back to the bullpen, and we'll give Slowey a shot. We'll see how that goes, and adjust from there."
As a reliever, Hand threw five scoreless innings. But in his two starts -- both against the Nationals -- he was 0-1 with a 11.37 ERA. He worked 6 1/3 total innings in those starts.
Next week at Atlanta, the Marlins are going with Tom Koehler (Monday), Jose Fernandez (Tuesday) and Nathan Eovaldi (Wednesday).
The Marlins are off on Thursday, and could have gone with Koehler on Sunday against the Mariners, and Fernandez on Monday against Atlanta.
Against the first-place Braves, the Marlins lined up their top three pitchers, in terms of how they've performed thus far.
"We kind of looked at who would be pitching against what team as we went down the road," Redmond said.
Turner, meanwhile, threw off flat ground again on Wednesday, and he is expected to throw off the mound on Friday. Before Turner is cleared to come off the DL, he will make at least one rehab assignment start.
Stanton off to hot start driving in runs
MIAMI -- At some point in his career, Giancarlo Stanton projects to be a home run champion.
For now, the slugger is making an early bid to be the RBI champ.
After driving in five runs on Tuesday night, the Marlins right fielder lifted his total to 21 RBIs on the season, tops in the Majors. Arizona's Mark Trumbo is second with 17.
"Like I've said, if you put guys on base in front of him, you make them pitch to him," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "That was something we talked about in Spring Training, getting guys on base, however they get on base. Let him have the ability to go up there and do what he does best, and that's swing.
"Obviously, he's driving in a lot of runs because he's got guys on base. That's good. He's had some good hits. He's had some great at-bats. He's hit some mistakes. That's good to see."
Stanton is closing in on the Marlins' record for most RBIs in March/April. Moises Alou holds that honor, driving in 30 in 1997.
Twice, Mike Lowell knocked in 24 runs in March/April -- 2000 and 2001.
In recent years, Stanton struggled in the first month or so. Last year, he drove in nine runs in April.