The Marlins threw their best pitcher at Washington on opening day and lost 2-0.
In their second game of the season Wednesday, they’ll start a pitcher who hasn’t won a big-league game since 2010 against a left-hander who won 21 last year.
Kevin Slowey, who was limited by injury to 49 innings in the minors last season, will face Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. Slowey was supposed to be the Marlins’ No. 5 starter but was elevated to the No. 2 slot because of injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez.
“To have two starters (out) makes it tough. That’s why we had to do what we had to do,’’ manager Mike Redmond said.
The Marlins opened the season with the youngest rotation in the league at 26 years and 62 days. No other rotation is as thin, either.
Opening day starter Ricky Nolasco won 12 last season, but the others? Slowey didn’t pitch in the majors, No. 3 Wade LeBlanc was 1-4 in nine starts, No. 4 Alex Sanabia pitched in the minors and No. 5, rookie Jose Fernandez, pitched no higher than Class A Jupiter.
“It’s just unfortunate,’’ Nolasco said of the shoulder injuries to Eovaldi and Alvarez.
LeBlanc will pitch Thursday against Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, who was 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 2012.
Sanabia will open the three-game series Friday at the New York Mets. Sanabia made just 17 appearances last year at Class AAA New Orleans because of injuries.
Nolasco will start Saturday on normal rest because of Tuesday’s off-day.
On Sunday, Fernandez will make his debut at age 20.
“It’s a great opportunity for those guys to go out there and show what they can do,’’ Redmond said. “Injuries plague every team. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves about guys being banged up.’’
Eovaldi and Alvarez were put on the disabled list Sunday. The team hopes both can start throwing next week with a goal of returning to the rotation no later than May 1.
“It’s probably a few weeks before those guys are built back up and ready for game action,’’ Redmond said.
Redmond, a former catcher, made his major-league debut in 1998 on a Marlins team that was in similar disarray because of injuries and an off-season roster purge.
Livan Hernandez, the MVP of the 1997 World Series, was the opening day starter in an 11-6 win over the Chicago Cubs. After that, the Marlins lost their next 11 games.
The rest of that season-opening starting rotation consisted of Felix Heredia (0-3 before he went to the Cubs), Rafael Medina (2-6), Eric Ludwick (1-4) and Brian Meadows (11-13). The Marlins lost 108 games.
The 2013 Marlins could be in for a similar struggle.
“Is it going to be tough? Sure,” Redmond said. “But there are guys out there. Somebody is going to step up.’’
Redmond did that himself in ‘98, batting .331 in 37 games. He plans to remind his current players that not many observers thought he would go on to have a 13-year big-league career and win a World Series ring in 2003.
“I was always an underdog,’’ Redmond said. “That’s why I can relate so much to this team and some of our guys. We’ve got nothing to lose out there. Play relaxed and have fun.’’