The Miami Marlins topped the Atlanta Braves by a 7-6 final score at Champion Stadium on Friday afternoon.
With 6,314 in attendance at the Braves spring home, Atlanta starting pitcher Sean Newcomb got Miami Marlins leadoff hitter, CF Lewis Brinson, to ground out in the game’s first at bat, at 1:05 P.M. EST. Following that, the two engaged in a back-and-forth affair that wasn’t decided until Pablo Lopez got Charlie Culbertson to pop out to Marlins 2B Justin Twine two hours and 48 minutes later.
The Braves had already brought a run home in the ninth inning, but had allowed the Marlins a pair in the top of the inning. Both clubs benefitted from the “man on second” rule when the game entered the ninth inning tied at five. Here’s four take-home snippets we learned.
Speed is a Factor in 2019
The Miami Marlins have stolen 24 bases this spring, tied for second in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles, behind only the San Diego Padres, with 29. The Marlins only stole 45 bases all of last season, in 76 attempts for a less-than-adequate 59.2 percent success rate. The Marlins are tracking at 77.4 percent, without a proven base-stealer this spring. Sixteen different Marlins have taken a free base uninvited, led by noted non-stealer (two in 154 major league games) Yadiel Rivera‘s four.
Rivera is making a strong push to get included on the Miami Marlins Opening Day roster for the second year in a row as a non-roster invitee. He’s gone seven-for-25 this spring, along with the stolen bases, and drawn three walks to seven strikeouts. In today’s contest, he was one-for-three with a walk, two runs scored, and a pair of stolen bases.
Lopez Outpitched Chen, Again
Wei-Yin Chen got the start, and surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and a walk over only four frames. That brought his spring ERA down to 9.53, and he struck zero batters out. Aside from his masterful four innings of relief six days ago, in which he allowed only a single while striking out three, he’s been mostly unsightly, and damn near unemployable.
Pablo Lopez, on the other hand, looks like a major leaguer right now. In five innings, he’s allowed three runs, but only one of them were earned, and another was in an inning where a runner was placed on second prior to the first at bat. Lopez didn’t walk anyone, allowed five hits, and struck out three.
Anderson Still Hot, Prado is Pre-Heating
The Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves collected 12 hits each in this game. The Marlins hit parade was led by Brian Anderson (two-for-four, one run) and Martin Prado (two-for-four). The solid day at the plate brought Anderson’s spring BA up to .353, and Prado’s to a nearly respectable .200. Also hitting safely today were Lewis Brinson (one-for-four), Pedro Alvarez (one-for-one), Peter O’Brien (one-for-one, two walks), Austin Dean (one-for-three), Harold Ramirez (one-for-one), Deven Marrero (one-for-three), Rivera, and…..Chen?
Yes, despite Chen’s considerable difficulty at pitching, he actually collected a base hit today. A weak dribbler down the third base side that scored Rivera from third. In an era where pitchers are noticeably worse in hitting than in eras past, Chen is markedly weaker than the current norm. He was six-for-40 last season, but prior to that was one-for-58. He has never walked, and has struck out 42 times.
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Seven in a Row
The Miami Marlins had two win-streaks of four games last season, but no five-gamers. The last time the Marlins had a regular season seven-game winning streak was from April 24th through 30th, 2016. The winning pitchers of record in that streak were Kyle Barraclough, Tom Koehler, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Jose Fernandez, and Wei-Yin Chen, twice. The franchise has reeled off a club-record nine straight on five occasions, most recently in 2008.
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