Sure, it’s “just” Spring Training, but it’s still nice to get a “W” every now and then.
Today at 1:08 P.M. EST, with 2,198 in attendance at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Miami Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen threw his first pitch to Washington Nationals leadoff hitter, right fielder Adam Eaton.
Chen got through the first inning flawlessly, but in the second allowed three singles, hit a batter, and surrendered a sacrifice fly for a total of two runs. In the third, Chen opened by allowing a walk to Anthony Rendon, an RBI-double to Ryan Zimmerman, and an RBI-single to Kurt Suzuki. For the second time in two starts, Chen did not get to his target amount of innings pitched, in this case, three.
But there was a lot of good stuff happening too. Here’s four takeaways from the Miami Marlins walkoff victory against the Washington Nationals on Monday afternoon.
Pablo López is Better Than Wei-Yin Chen
For less than three percent as much as Chen draws on his paycheck, Pablo López provides a far better option for rotational starter. That much, at least, was on display for López’ three innings of work on Monday.
In pitching for the Miami Marlins, innings four through six, López allowed two singles and no walks. He struck only one batter out, but power pitching isn’t really López’ style, not all the time, anyway. López kept the Nats scoreless during his time on the hill. He has allowed four baserunners in five innings this spring.
Chen, on the other hand, has surrendered nine runs in 3 1/3 innings, on 10 hits, two walks, and an HBP. Opposing batters have lit him up for a .526 average. The Miami Marlins managerial staff has a tough decision to make in the coming weeks as to Chen’s future disposition. Do you pay a guy $20 million for less-than-replacement level play – or do you cut your losses?
Gabriel Guerrero is Starting to Heat Up for the Miami Marlins
Gabriel Guerrero‘s start to this spring was less-than-ideal. He struck out in each of his first six plate appearances, and was just one-for-10 coming into today’s game.
Guerrero heated up in a big way today. He hit a one-out single in the fifth inning, hit a two-out, two-RBI single and stole a base in the sixth, and hit a leadoff homer in the ninth to cut the Nationals lead to one run.
Mike Kickham was a pretty unheralded addition to Miami Marlins Spring Training camp, arriving as a non-roster invitee. His major league pedigree is – less than inspiring. In 14 appearances for the San Francisco Giants in 2013 and 2014, he racked up a 10.98 ERA over 30 1/3 innings, for a .370 opposing batting average.
This is Kickham’s third season in the Miami Marlins minor league system. He spent a lot of last season on the injured list, appearing in 17 games at the triple-A level with the New Orleans Baby Cakes, in the Pacific Coast League.
In today’s game, Kickham struck out the side after inheriting an untenable situation from starter Chen. With a runner on first and two runs in, Kickham struck out Yan Gomes, Andrew Stevenson, and Michael Taylor in turn to get the Marlins out of a much bigger mess.
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week and a half, one thing you can bank on is more bang-for-your-buck when Lewis Brinson comes to the plate.
After underwhelming in his first major league season for the Marlins, with a .199 average and a major league-high nine outfield errors, Brinson has had an interesting spring. The former top-Miami Marlins prospect launched his fourth and fifth homers in today’s contest, accounting for all of Miami’s runs through the first five innings of play. More of this, please.
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