Kevin Slowey found out the day before that he had won a spot in the Miami Marlins pitching rotation to open the season, so he certainly wanted to make his final spring start on Wednesday afternoon a good one and carry those positive vibes into the regular season. Facing the Boston Red Sox, the box score will show an impressive outing with Slowey throwing five innings, giving up only one run and striking out four in a 5-1 victory for the Marlins. A closer look however will show that he was able hold the Red Sox to just one run despite allowing at least one baserunner in every inning while giving up five hits and three walks.
Being able to get out of trouble is a necessity at times if a pitcher is going to be effective and Slowey proved to be quite the escape artist all afternoon. The trouble started promptly in the first inning as the first two hitters reached base for the Red Sox, but Slowey was able to induce a double play ball from third hitter Dustin Pedroia before getting the final out of the inning. The lone run allowed came in the second inning on a home run allowed to Sox leftfielder Jonny Gomes. In the fourth inning, Slowey again allowed the first two Red Sox hitters to reach base before retiring the next three. The pattern continued an inning later as the fifth began with a lead off single for the Red Sox, but Slowey promptly picked the baserunner off at first base and was able to escape the inning without giving up any runs.
The start did not go according to the game plan Slowey had coming into the day as I doubt he imagined himself giving up two baserunners to start the game and then inducing a double play. He definitely could not have expected to get an out on a pick off, but outs count the same no matter how you are able to get them. In the end, Slowey did the most important thing a starting pitcher must do by limiting the opposing team to a single run and giving his team a chance to win.
The offense for the Marlins came from an unlikely source as minor league outfielder Daniel Pertusati, getting his first action with the big club this spring, drove in four of the Marlins five runs. Pertusati came in to replace Gorkys Hernandez in the third inning and delivered a two-run double in the seventh inning. Then with Marlins runners on second and third and two outs in the ninth, he again came through with a two-run line drive single to center. The other Marlins run came on a sacrifice fly by recently signed catcher Koyie Hill. Chris Valaika collected two hits and scored twice while Adeiny Hechavarria also had two hits including a double.
Up Next: The Marlins return to Roger Dean Stadium to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. Promising left handed pitching prospect Justin Nicolino is expected to get the start. Nicolino was one of the prospects acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason trade. Our editor Ehsan Kassim ranked Nicolino as the Marlins fourth best prospect.