On Sunday afternoon, the Miami Marlins won their third straight Spring Training game.
It was the first three-game win streak for the Miami Marlins this spring. Last season, the high was four-games-in-a-row. The Marlins totaled five streaks of three-or-more victories through the 2018 campaign.
With 3,600 in attendance at 82º and partly cloudy Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Marlins starter Sandy Alcántara delivered the first pitch of the afternoon to Braves leadoff hitter, Ozzie Albies at 1:08 P.M. EST. Albies singled, but it was one of only two base-hits collected off of Alcántara over 4 1/3 innings of work. Two hours and 45 minutes later, Miami Marlins reliever Tyler Kinley got Alejandro Salazar to miss on strike three to end the game.
Between those two Atlanta Braves plate appearances, they and the Miami Marlins played nine innings of meaningless yet productive baseball. Here’s a few things we noticed during today’s game.
Peter O’Brien came into today’s contest having hit just two-for-23 with 14 strikeouts through Spring Training. It was only a matter of time before he got ahold of one.
O’Brien got Miami on the board with an RBI-single in the first inning, scoring infielder Isan Diaz. In the fifth inning, with the bases jacked and two outs, O’Brien demolished a Kolby Allard offering into the great beyond past the left field fence.
O’Brien’s power has never been in question. Between four teams at three levels and two different organizations in 2018, he collected a total of 34 home runs with 96 RBI. Unfortunately, he also hit just .225 and struck out in 155 of 495 plate appearances, a 31.3 percent whiff rate.
"It’s honestly pretty simple for me, if you look at it from a data standpoint. It’s cut down on the strikeouts and increase the contact rate. By doing that, good things are going to happen. – O’Brien, as quoted by Joe Frisaro on MLB.COM"
Miami Marlins’ Pitchers Hitting
In an effort to get the Miami Marlins pitchers some live-game work this spring, manager Don Mattingly elected to forgo the designated hitter in today’s game. Alcantara was put into the Marlins batting order in ninth, and ended up striking out in his only plate appearance.
More and more through recent seasons, pitchers have become progressively worse in the box. With movement afoot to implement an MLB-wide designated hitter in the coming years, pitchers have had even less of an opportunity to get some work in through Spring Training. Alcantara’s strikeout is not surprising – last season he was 0-for-12 with a walk and eight strikeouts.
Harrison’s Pitch Selection Still Needs Work
Monte Harrison is one of the more exciting players to come through Miami Marlins camp in the last few seasons. His combination of potential power, speed, defense and swagger is a too-rare combination throughout the Marlins system. Last season with the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Harrison blasted 19 homers and stole 28 bases, but struck out a minor-league-wide high 215 times in 583 plate appearances, a 36.9 percent miss-rate.
In today’s tilt, Harrison batted sixth, and struck out with two runners in scoring position to end the first inning. When he got another chance in the fourth, he struck out for the second out of the inning. In the sixth inning, he struck out for a third time leading off the inning. He’s now struck out in half of his 24 at bats through spring, and has collected four singles and two RBI.
Alcántara, Romo, Steckenrider Solid
Miami Marlins pitching was pretty good today. Alcántara got the start and allowed just two singles and two walks while striking out five in 4 1/3 innings of work. This was a marked improvement from his last appearance, when he allowed only one hit but walked four in three innings.
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Sergio Romo pitched another perfect inning, his second over four innings pitched this spring. He relieved Riley Ferrell in the sixth, and induced a groundout, a flyout, and struck out Alex Jackson. He now has six whiffs this spring, and only two hits and a walk allowed.
Drew Steckenrider hasn’t impressed anyone this spring, but put a good foot forward in today’s contest. Steck pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing the Braves only a single.
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