WASHINGTON -- If you happened to be watching or listening to last night's game, there's a good chance you questioned Ozzie Guillen's decision to lift Jacob Turner after the sixth. Turner not only looked strong to that point, turning in his best performance so far with the Marlins, but had thrown just 81 pitches.
We were wondering ourselves, especially after Guillen summoned Carlos Zambrano and the Marlins' relatively comfortable 6-2 lead began to crumble almost instantly. Zambrano couldn't get anyone out and the Nationals rallied to send the game into extra innings, where the Marlins pulled out a 9-7 victory. Steve Cishek struck out Roger Bernadina and Jayson Werth with the bases loaded to end the game.
So why was Turner taken out? Guillen said that since it had been eight days since Turner last started, he was under orders from the front office to limit Turner's pitch count to 80 to 85 pitches.
"Whatever they want, I do," Guillen said. "Whatever they say, I go by."
Guillen wasn't disagreeing with the decision to limit the 21-year-old right-hander's pitch count. As he pointed out, "We have to take care of him. This kid, it's the first time pitching in September. That's one of the reasons we went to a six-man rotation. He was (throwing) 94, 95 (mph). Now he's 92, 91."
According to FanGraphs, Turner's velocity has diminished slightly from his time with the Tigers until now. In fact, Turner said he threw harder in high school.
"I've had games this year where it's been there and games where it's not," Turner said. "But you can't really control velocity. It's either coming out like that or it's not. If I could control it I'd be doing it. If every pitcher could throw 100, they would. It's just one of those things where some days it's there and some days it's not. Right now I'm not as consistent with it as I'd like to be."
Turner, who totaled exactly 80 pitches in each of his first two starts with the Marlins, will be permitted to throw more in his next start for them.