Break up the Miami Marlins!! The team has won two straight games and are currently just 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the best record in the Grapefruit league. The Marlins have outscored their opponents by 10 runs so far and are proving owner Jeffery Loria’s claim that the team is not a Triple-A team.
Alright chill out guys, this is just spring training and nothing the team does now actually counts towards the standings. Most teams are not playing their best players all the time, as many teams this early in camp just allow their younger players a chance to take the field, before they are assigned to minor league camps.
Nonetheless, what the Marlins are doing right now is encouraging for us Marlins fans to see. The team is winning ballgames in sustainable fashion, by pitching well and coming up with big hits. Whether this continued well play carries over to the regular season and can be sustained over the course of a 162-game schedule is still to be seen.
The line of the day has to be: 9 IP, 3 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikekouts.
That was the pitching line for the six Marlins pitchers that combined to pitch on Wednesday afternoon. Take out the subpar pitching from Braulio Lara and John Maine, and those numbers look even better. In their two innings combined, Lara and Maine allowed two of three hits and the lone run the Nationals collected. They also combined to walk three of the four hitters in the game.
Nathan Eovaldi started the game poorly, as he walked lead-off man for the Nationals, Denard Span on four pitches. Eovaldi showed some good composure and bounced back to strikeout Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth back-to-back, the latter was a strike-em out and throw-em out, when Kyle Skipworth nailed Span trying to steal second. Overall, Eovaldi lasted two innings, striking out two hitters and walking just one. Nathan was able to hold the Nats hitless.
Tom Koehler, who one of the several pitchers in competition for the fifth starter role, pitched two excellent innings, following up Eovladi. Koehler went two innings as well, striking out two hitters, walking none, and allowing just one hit. Koehler also has a chance to fill the Marlins roster in the same role as he came in today, as a long relief option.
The third pitcher for the Marlins to enter the game was Alex Sanabia. Sanabia pitched a hitless fifth inning and struck out one hitter. Sanabia, like Koehler, is in the competition for the fifth starting rotation spot.
Probably the most impressive Marlins pitcher Wednesday was A.J. Ramos. Ramos went two innings for the Marlins, also not allowing a single hit. Ramos struck out four hitters in his stint without walking a single hitter. Ramos has gone three innings in two appearances so far this spring, with 5 strikeouts, without allowing a single hit or walking a hitter.
Christian Yelich led-off for the Marlins in this one and played left field. Yelich showed Marlins fans a glimpse of what he is capable of, as he collected a lead-off triple and scored on a Donovan Solano sacrifice fly to give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead, which the Marlins never relinquished.
There was no real action in the game until the sixth inning, when Chris Coghlan drove in Solano on a run scoring single. Coghlan is off to a promising start on the season, hitting .375 early in the spring. Coghlan has only played the outfield so far, but I figure he may get some time in the infield to show if he can handle second or third.
The Marlins broke open the game in the seventh inning, when the team put together a big inning, scoring three runs to put the game away. After a Jake Jefferies walk and a Jake Marisnick single, Derek Dietrich doubled to left field to score Jefferies. Ed Lucas followed the pitching change with a two-run scoring single to extend the Marlins lead to 5-0.
Here is what manager Mike Redmond had to say after the game:
Up Next: The Miami Marlins will play a B game on a backfield on the Cardinals’ side of the Roger Dean Stadium complex, at 10 A.M. on Thursday. Top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez is scheduled to pitch two innings, his first game action of the spring. Adam Conley, Doug Mathis, Michael Brady, Brian Flynn, Brad Hand and Edgar Olmos are also scheduled to pitch for the Marlins. Position players to play in this one include: Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna and Danny Black.