Miami Marlins pitcher Adam Conley was four outs away from a no-hitter in just his 16th career start.

But with Conley’s pitch count at 116, manager Don Mattingly opted to protect the 25-year-old’s arm, taking him out of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning for reliever Jose Urena with Miami leading the Milwaukee Brewers 5-0.

The Brewers managed to get to the Marlins bullpen and put up three runs, but Miami was able to hold on for a 6-3 win.

Conley’s final stat line was 7.2 innings pitched, no runs, no hits, seven strikeouts and four walks. 

The Marlins congratulated the young pitcher after he exited the game:

With a 4-2 career record entering Friday night, Conley had never pitched more than seven innings in a major league game. He pitched exactly seven against the New York Mets on Sept. 16, giving up just three hits and no runs while striking out six.

He also had never thrown more than 106 pitches in a game. At the rate he was pitching Friday, he could have gone over 130 pitches if he had finished the contest, which would have been an enormous strain on his developing arm.

If Conley weren’t such an important asset to the Marlins rotation, Mattingly might have been more inclined to let him finish the game.

But for a Marlins franchise that is attempting to build a team that can keep up with the Washington Nationals and Mets in the National League East, overworking a young pitcherwhom FanGraphs ranked as the organization’s No. 5 prospect in 2014—during a game that was already in hand would have been unnecessary. 

Conley’s start was a needed bright spot for a team that received a huge blow late Thursday night when MLB announced an 80-game suspension for All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon after he tested positive for performance-enhancing substances. 

So while it might be disappointing that the young pitcher was unable to go the distance Friday night, Marlins fans have another young arm to look forward to watching every five days in a rotation that already features Jose Fernandez.


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