Even if he wasn't the anomaly in the Marlins' franchise-tying worst start, Jarlin Garcia's early efforts as a starting pitcher would stand out as something special.
The Dominican left-hander's 0.53 ERA in three career starts is among the best in baseball. Of pitchers with more than one start this season, only San Francisco's Johnny Cueto ranks higher with a 0.35 ERA.
Granted, it's a small sample size, but in his past two outings Garcia has shut down two of the top teams in the majors, the Yankees and Dodgers, both on the road.
Garcia has given up only one run and five hits in 17 innings as a starter, and opponents are batting a meager .093 against him. For comparison, Cueto has given up one run in 26 innings, while allowing an opponents' average of .149.
That lone run off Garcia came in the fourth inning Monday in Los Angeles when the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez hit a leadoff homer. It ended a string of 14 scoreless innings for Garcia.
Hernandez, a former Marlin, summed up why Garcia has been successful, telling reporters in Los Angeles, "He was hitting corners, wasn't throwing over the fat part of the plate. Seemed like all the strikes were on the black. There's a reason he's got that ERA."
Garcia made a decent pitch to Hernandez on the inner portion of the plate, though perhaps not low enough in the zone. Hernandez dropped the barrel of the bat on the 93-mph fastball and got in front of the pitch enough to drive it 394 feet into the seats in left-center at Dodger Stadium.
It was the only run he allowed in six innings while getting no decision in a Marlins 2-1 loss that was decided by the bullpens.
Garcia, 25, is succeeding apart from the high-velocity trend that has many pitchers pushing triple digits on the radar gun.
Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who shut out the Marlins for five innings in his first big-league start, is in that category with a fastball that topped out a 99.5 mph and averaged 96.8 Monday.
The match-up of novice starters provided a study of contrasts. Garcia's four-seamer averages 92 mph, a tick below the average in MLB.
His effectiveness is in painting the corners, not only with the fastball but also with his slider and changeup.
While striking out a career-high seven against the Dodgers, Garcia got 23 called strikes (15 on fastballs) out of 92 pitches. The 11 swinging strikes were all on sliders and changeups.
Only one of the strikeout pitches came on a fastball — called on the inside corner against Chris Taylor.
Garcia got Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig back-to-back looking at changeups. Puig didn't like the call, but Statcast and FoxTrax showed it solidly on the inside corner.
Garcia tossed a tantalizing 85-mph slider to dangerous Cody Bellinger that the Dodgers cleanup hitter missed as it broke away from him on the outside edge.
Most of the media attention following the Dodgers' win was focused on Buehler's first start. Understandable, considering the Dodgers' prominence as defending National League champs and the Marlins' bottom-feeding status.
But Garcia is showing the potential to be the much-sought ace the Marlins haven't had since Jose Fernandez. Even with his three superlative starts, Miami ranks 14th of 15 teams in the NL with a 5.33 ERA by its starters.
Garcia has been effective in all five appearances this season, including two long-relief outings, for an overall ERA of 1.00.
He held a potent Cubs lineup to one hit in six scoreless innings during the 17-inning game on March 30 and had a four-inning relief outing at Philadelphia, allowing a two-run homer to Maikel Franco.
It is indicative of Marlins hitting ineptitude that Garcia has only one win to his credit, the 9-1 rout at New York. Other than that, he's gotten no support from an offense that ranks last in runs scored.
Manager Don Mattingly, in his media session prior to Monday's game, said that while wins remain elusive it is important for his rebuilding club to draw on bright spots that indicate progress toward a better future. No Marlin has provided more chances for that than Garcia.
Perhaps if the offense can muster a few runs in his next start — Sunday against the Rockies at Marlins Park — they might be able to celebrate a rare win amid the gloom of losing.