Pablo Jose Lopez
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 200 lb.
On July 2, 2021, Pablo López of the Miami Marlins was ejected after throwing just one pitch in a game against the Atlanta Braves. The pitch was aimed straight at Braves leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna and hit him, some thing to which home plate umpire Andy Fletcher objected. The last starting pitcher to suffer this ignominious fate has also been a member of the Marlins, Jose Urena, who had been tossed on August 15, 2018, also for aiming his first offering at Acuna. In any case, Acuna came around to score what turned out to be the only run of the game, so Lopez was charged with the loss for his one-pitch effort. On July 11th, he made the news again, but for positive reasons this time, as he struck out the first nine batters he faced in a start again against the Braves. Three pitchers had previously opened a game with eight strikeouts: Jim Deshaies, Jacob deGrom and German Marquez. Incredibly, he needed just 35 pitches to accomplish the feat. Ehire Adrianza ended the streak by grounding out to open the 4th.
López was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2012, and before he reached the majors, on July 20, 2017 was traded to the Marlins along with three other minor leaguers in return for P David Phelps. He reached the majors a little under a year later, on June 30, 2018. he made 10 starts that first season, going 2-4, 4.14 and followed that in 2019 with a 5-8 record and a 5.09 ERA. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he had a very good year, finishing at 6-4, 3.61 in 11 starts as the Marlins surprised everyone by reaching the expanded postseason. He started one game against the Braves in the Division Series, Game 2 on October 7th, and pitched 5 innings, giving up 2 runs and being charged with Miami's 2-0 loss. He struck out 7 and walked none that day, consistent with a season in which he struck out over a batter per inning.
In 2021, apart from his rogue attempt at meting out vigilante justice, he made 20 starts and finished at 5-5, 3.07, good numbers on a team that finished well below .500. His ERA+ was 136 and he struck out 115 batters against just 26 walks in 102 2/3 innings. He was far from a household name, but insiders had identified him as one of a number of young starting pitchers worth watching on the Marlins. He then started 2022 on a roll, as after his first three starts, he was leading the majors with an ERA of 0.52, having given up just one run in his first 17 1/3 innings. He went 3-0, 0.39 in April to earn Pitcher of the Month honors in the National League, his first time winning the award.