LeBlanc embraces long-relief role for Miami

LeBlanc embraces long-relief role for Miami

LeBlanc embraces long-relief role for Miami
ST. LOUIS -- Throw strikes, change speeds and get quick outs.

The formula for success that Marlins lefty Mark Buehrle has used for years is being displayed by Wade LeBlanc.

LeBlanc has a similar style to Buehrle, known for working quickly. The left-handed LeBlanc was impressive in three innings of scoreless relief on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The 27-year-old struck out four, allowed one hit, and of his 30 pitches, 21 were strikes. He had an inning where he struck out All-Stars Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, as well as Allen Craig, in order.

Not overpowering, LeBlanc relies on pinpoint command as well as the ability to change speeds and use his changeup.

In his long-relief role, LeBlanc says he can come in and "pitch backwards," meaning throw offspeed pitches in typical fastball counts.

"There is not the same need to come in and establish a fastball," he said. "When you come in for a starter, he's already done that. He's already established a fastball, and he's moved on to secondary stuff.

"So for me, I don't necessarily have to come in, out of this role, and say I need to show him I can play a fastball, because they're already in the rhythm of the game, and they're looking to swing the bat and do some damage."

LeBlanc opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, where he was a starter. Out of the bullpen, he says he arm bounces back quickly, so he doesn't need many days of rest between appearances.

"For me, you can afford to throw offspeed in fastball counts and things like that," he said. "Hopefully I can do that enough times to where they feel like they need more or can use me, or whatever the case may be. My arm has always bounced back fairly easily."