The Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves squared off on Sunday afternoon, in a pitching match-up on paper that heavily favored the Braves. With Wade LeBlanc facing off against Tim Hudson, the general consensus was that the Marlins struggling offense would continue to be anemic.
Marcell Ozuna Powers Marlins
Feb 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna (68) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
In the first inning, Ozuna came to the plate with two runners on and two outs. Ozuna blasted an opposite-field home run off of starter Tim Hudson. The home run was the first of the spring for Ozuna, who has shown impressive power thus far in his minor league career. Ozuna blasted 24 homers for the Marlins High-A team last season.
Chone Figgins also came up with a big game for the Marlins, collecting four hits (all singles) on the afternoon. Figgins raised his average from sub-.200 to .333, which is to the dismay to many Marlins fans, as Figgins has been among the worst regular players the past few seasons. His chances of making the team go up with his strong performance.
Chris Coghlan continues to look revitalized this spring. Coghlan drove in a run and went 3-for-4 on the evening, with a double. Coghlan now has a .334/.364/.438 line so far this spring. He has put a lot of pressure on Justin Ruggiano to play well and reclaim the starting center field role.
Christian Yelich went 1-for-4 today, with his second home run of the spring. Yelich will only make it tougher for the Marlins to send him to Double-A to start the season. Here is what Tino Martinez had to say about Yelich today:
"“He’s ready. I don’t know where he’s going to go. I don’t know where they’re going to send him. I mean, he’s having a great spring and he’s proved he can play at this level. And I don’t see anything changing. It’s not my decision, but it’s obvious he’s a great hitter. I haven’t messed with him. He can just hit.”"
Wade LeBlanc Impressive
Wade LeBlanc continued to put a stranglehold on the competition for the Marlins number 5 rotation spot. LeBlanc went four innings for the Marlins, allowing five hits, striking out on hitter, while walking none. He also picked off B.J. Upton of first base twice.
The Marlins allowed 11 hits to the Braves on the afternoon, but the Braves hitters only translated that to two runs crossing the plate.
Up Next: After two impressive bullpen appearances, right-hander Kevin Slowey will get a chance to start against the Red Sox Monday at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET. Slowey is in the competition for the fifth starter competition as well. Left-hander Jon Lester is expected to get the start for the Red Sox.