The Miami Marlins have opened 2020 Spring Training with three consecutive victories.
Before you go and say something to the effect of, “but Maniac, spring training games don’t count,” I want to assure you that yes, they do count. Especially when you’re one of the 65 guys in camp and extra especially one of the 25 non-roster invitees.
Is there cause for concern?
Now, I don’t want to alarm anyone at this early stage of the preseason, but for the second day in a row, the Miami Marlins had to stage a late-comeback, after the starters had ceded way to the young guys trying to make an impact. In fact, in today’s game, a combination of Washington pitchers held the Marlins hitless until the seventh inning, when the Marlins managed to score five runs and take the lead.
Despite the Marlins outscoring the Cardinals by three runs, St. Louis actually outhit Miami nine-to-four. The first hit of the day for the Marlins was a one-out triple by Brian Miller in the seventh inning, off losing pitcher of record Matthew Liberatore. Miller scored on a balk. JJ Bleday singled Sean Rodriguez home to tie the score at three, then scored the go-ahead on a Liberatore wild pitch. Chad Wallach then singled home Gosuke Katoh, and Victor Victor Mesa scored on another wild pitch.
The other Marlins hit in the game was an eighth-inning Rodriguez sunshine-aided double into center field.
Literally heads-and-shoulders above most of the pitching staff, 6’6″ Trevor Rogers and 6’5″ Tommy Eveld proved a cut-above the competition in one relief inning each. Rogers earned the win by pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning. He got Elehuris Montero on a first pitch groundout, Nolan Gorman on a fly out to Jose Devers, then struck out Andrew Knizner on five pitches.
Brad Boxberger also racked up a strikeout in a perfect ninth to earn the save for the Marlins.
Miami Marlins baserunners continued a trend they started in the first two games of Spring Training, running when the opportunity presented itself. Jonathan Villar stole second base after opening the game with a walk, then scored a run on a pair of Cardinals errors to give the Marlins a short-lived lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Victor Victor Mesa made the fish a perfect two-for-two in stolen bases on the day by taking third base. He later scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch. It really highlights the fact that a lot of the time, stolen bases lead directly to runs on the scoreboard.
Don’t Pollyanna Me!
A third-straight win to open the spring would have a lot of people feeling pretty good about the Miami Marlins chances to somehow avoid the National League East cellar in 2020. The three victories in a row cannot, however, hide the fact that most of Miami’s offense was provided after the starters were taken out.
Villar, Matt Joyce, Brian Anderson, Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, Jon Berti, Magneuris Sierra, Francisco Cervelli, and Miguel Rojas went a collected 0-for-18 in the game, with one walk (Villar) and three strikeouts.
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Sandy Alcantara‘s control problem was also on full display during his abbreviated two-inning start. Alcantara struck out one batter, but also allowed three walks, two hits, committed a throwing error and balked. Of his 38 offerings, half were not strikes.
But really, this is still all about getting baseball back. The best thing in the world is watching your team win at baseball. The second best thing is watching baseball.
Temper your expectations, but let’s always hope for the best, right? Thanks for reading today. Check here throughout the spring for all Marlins related news.