The 2019 season of Major League baseball started today, in Tokyo, Japan. The Seattle Mariners topped the Oakland Athletics, probably before most of the country was awake.
In Florida and in Arizona, however, Spring Training is entering its final week. The Miami Marlins, winners of 10-in-a-row coming in to today’s contest, were to face off with the St. Louis Cardinals. At 1:09 P.M. EST, Daniel Ponce de Leon threw the first pitch of the game to Miami Marlins leadoff hitter, LF Curtis Granderson. A crowd of 6,724 at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium witnessed new Marlins pseudo-closer/opener/reliever Sergio Romo induce a fly out off the bat of first baseman Evan Mendoza and into the glove of Marlins center fielder Rosell Herrera to end it at 3:47 P.M. EST.
In the two hours and 38 minutes between those two events, these two major league clubs put on a Spring Training exhibition. The Miami Marlins earned their 11th victory in a row, by a final score of 6-0. This win secured for the Marlins a winning record through the 2019 Spring Training. Here’s some of the things that we noticed.
López Needs to Start in the Opening Day Rotation
The Miami Marlins have been nothing if not impressive throughout most of their projected rotation over the past few weeks. Notably, Trevor Richards, Caleb Smith, and today’s starter, Pablo López have seemed more-than-ready to start the regular season. In today’s game, López’ final start of the spring, he allowed two hits over six innings, while walking zero and striking out five. He also hit a batter, but thanks to a pair of double-plays, only faced one over the minimum.
Through the entire spring, López can lay claim to a 3-0 record, a 0.90 ERA, 10 hits surrendered in 20 innings, just one walk, and 16 strikeouts. His resultant 0.55 WHIP is the best on the team of players with more than 10 innings pitched (Smith has a 0.22 in nine innings of work).
Three of the Miami Marlins Relievers Pitched Perfectly
Adding to the good fortune of the Miami Marlins, relievers Tayron Guerrero, Adam Conley, and Sergio Romo each logged a perfect inning. Guerrero struck out two in the seventh, Conley a pair in the eighth, and Romo relieved Mike Kickham after the latter allowed a leadoff double. Romo also struck a batter out, and stranded the runner to preserve the shutout.
The blanking was the Miami Marlins second of the spring. They also shut out the Houston Astros 3-0 on February 26th. Miami has been shut out only once, and that was a split-squad affair they dropped to the full-strength Atlanta Braves, 4-0 on March 6th.
Rojas, Anderson Multi-Hits, Walker Goes Deep
Miguel Rojas batted sixth in the order, and opened today’s game as the shortstop. After a second-inning groundout, he hit a one-out, one-on, and one-in single in the fourth and later added a two-out single in the sixth. He was two-for-three today, with a run scored. Over the entire spring, he’s 17-for-35 with a .486 batting average. MLB-wide, amongst players with at least 20 at bats, he ranks behind only the Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus (13-for-26) in average, and is tied with the Kansas City Royals’ 3B Humberto Arteaga (also 17-for-35) for second overall. He leads the Grapefruit League, incidentally.
Brian Anderson made four plate appearances today, and reached base safely in each of them. He drew a walk in the first and in the fourth, hit a bases-loaded RBI-single later in the fourth, then added a two-out RBI-triple in the sixth to give the Miami Marlins a six-run cushion that they didn’t really need. This spring, BA is hitting 16-for-40 for an even .400 average, with five doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs. He’s walked seven times and whiffed only six times, and leads the team with a 1.225 OPS.
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The Hit Parade Continues
Aside from the five hits outlined above, The Miami Marlins had six other players collect a base hit in the game. Curtis Granderson (one-for-three), Garrett Cooper (one-for-three), Peter O’Brien (one-for-one), Yadiel Rivera (one-for-two), Brinson (one-for-three), and Chad Wallach (one-for-four) got in on the fun.
The Marlins did strike out 11 times in the game, but only two players, Rosell Herrera and pitcher Lopez, struck out twice.
Thanks for reading. Tomorrow the Miami Marlins will go for a cool dozen in a row against the New York Mets, starting at 1:10 P.M. EST at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, FL.
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