Even though the Marlins tallied eleven hits in another meat locker contest (on-field temp. was 46), it wasn’t enough to offset two Miguel Olivo errors and three earned runs given up by the bullpen.
Ricky Nolasco went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs off of six hits. He walked three and struck out three. Ryan Webb pitched for 1 2/3 innings, and gave up two earned runs and two walks. He didn’t manage to strike anyone out, throwing only 19 strikes out of his 36 total pitches.
The offense looked much better, with everyone except Ruggiano and the pitchers getting at least one hit. Dobbs, Stanton, Pierre, and Olivo each racked two hits each. In a bizarre play, Juan Pierre made incidental contact at the plate with Mets catcher John Buck, as Buck was attempting an incomprehensible throw to an unknown location. Umpire Jim Joyce called the batter out on obstruction.
In an uncomfortable echo from last season, the Marlins went 2-8 with runners in scoring position, and stranded eight on the bases. Driving runs in is a crucial ability, and for some reason, the skill continues to elude the Fish.
The acid test for the Flushing series is tomorrow, when High-A pitcher Jose Fernandez makes his Major League debut as the starter for the Marlins. Baseball Prospectus’ no. 5 overall pick, Fernandez carries the hopes of an awful lot of South Florida baseball fans. He’s gotten a lot of attention this spring, and with the injuries to Eovaldi and Alvarez, his callup is a whole lot sooner than most folks expected. The early callup is risky, as the young phenom simply hasn’t seen the kind of hitting he’ll see tomorrow. We here at the Maniac wish him well.