Miami Marlins Spring Training: Welp, Caleb Smith is Ready

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 8: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on June 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 8: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on June 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The Miami Marlins topped the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon with 4,534 in attendance at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

José Ureña delivered the first pitch at 1:08 P.M. EST to Cards leadoff hitter, third baseman Matt Carpenter. The at bat resulted in a ground out, and the two sides played nine innings of baseball, with the Miami Marlins coming out on top.

The Marlins won their fifth victory in a row, bringing their total Spring Training record to 9-10 with 11 games to go until 2019 Opening Day. Of the 57 players still in camp 19 got into the game at some point. Here’s a few things we noticed.

After a Nine-Month Rehab, Caleb Smith Looks….Ready

And that’s really putting it mildly. Caleb Smith blew the doors off the Cardinals batting order, striking out the side in the sixth inning. And these particular St. Louis players weren’t mere hopefuls for the opening day roster. Dexter Fowler, Paul Goldschmidt, and Marcell Ozuna all were struck out swinging.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 29: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Smith continued his fine effort in the seventh, striking out Tyler O’Neill, again swinging before inducing a groundout from Paul DeJong and a fly out from Matt Wieters. In the eighth, he got a Max Schrock groundout, a Rangel Ravelo swinging strikeout, and an Andrew Knizner fly out. Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly kept Smith out there for the ninth, and was rewarded by a Tommy Edman pop out, a Drew Robinson groundout, and a Dylan Carlson swinging strikeout.

So that was six K’s in four innings, and they were all of the swing-and-miss variety. Smith hasn’t pitched in a live-game setting since June 24th last season, when he was pulled out with left shoulder tightness. Prior to that, he had rung up 88 in 77 1/3 innings of work. It looks like Smith is picking up where he left off.

Power and Patience

The Miami Marlins racked up an in-game batting slashline of .241/.385/.448, indicating the combination of patience and power that is needed to win ballgames is indeed possible. The Fish drew eight walks, and of their seven hits, four of them were for extra bases. That includes Deven Marrero‘s first homer of the spring, a two-run jack with two out in the eighth inning that gave the Marlins a three-run lead.

Keep in mind, that unlike the Cards, the Marlins didn’t even use the designated hitter. Although Ureña didn’t get a hit in two plate appearances, he did draw a walk in each.

Miami Marlins
SAN DIEGO, CA – MAY 31: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Jose Pirela #2 of the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of a baseball game at PETCO Park on May 31, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Sweet Lou has “Other” Tools Aside From Power

Lewis Brinson was 0-for-three in today’s tilt, but he’s still rocking a .355 average this spring. In the fourth inning, after an Ozuna double (one of only three hits for the Cards), O’Neill flew out to Brinson. Brinson cut down the former Marlin trying to take third with a solid throw from center field.

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Miami Marlins Other Bats Waking Up

Marrero, JT Riddle, and Peter O’Brien were having a slow start this spring. Marrero was two-for-22, Riddle was three-for-27, and O’Brien was four-for-29 with 16 K’s. The world didn’t come off it’s axis or anything, but the three had solid offensive days. Marrero hit the aforementioned two-run shot, Riddle was two-for-three, and O’Brien hit an RBI-double and drew a walk. Maybe these three are going to finish Spring Training on a bit of a tear, and come into the season all-guns blazing.

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