The Miami Marlins gave tryouts to two pitchers who are competing for the fifth starter spot in today's game versus the St. Louis Cardinals, but only one pitcher came out well ahead. The Fish got a solid scoreless outing from non-roster invitee Kevin Slowey, but starting pitcher Tom Koehler struggled and left the club well behind as it eventually took a loss, 7-2, to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Slowey Scoreless, Koehler Not
Kevin Slowey looked good out of the bullpen, delivering 2 2/3 innings of scoreless play in relief of starter Tom Koehler. Slowey did what he does best: limit the walks. He struck out two batters while walking none and also allowing two hits, leading to a nice appearance for the veteran starter. This was Slowey's second appearance in spring training, following a one-inning scoreless affair earlier in the preseason. There is a very good chance Slowey will have an opportunity to start a game thanks to his early performance, and here is hoping he gets what looked like a promising mid- to bottom-rotation career going after a two-year roadblock of injuries and ineffectiveness.
Tom Koehler should also receive another opportunity to start a game, as he was not adequately evaluated in this one. He struggled badly in this game against the Cardinals, ultimately taken down by the opposing team's power hitting. Koehler allowed two home runs in his 2 1/3 innings, one to super-prospect Oscar Taveras and one to veteran Matt Holliday. He also let through two walks and only struck out one batter on his way to a four-run shellacking. Last season, Koehler got in some nice innings late in the year as a bullpen replacement, and he was throwing into the upper-90's while working out of the pen, so this may be his lot in life, or at least in the Marlins' 2013 season.
Solano With Two Hits
Donovan Solano was the other bright spot of the day, as he collected two hits in three appearances. So far in this young preseason, he has hit .500, but all of his hits have been singles and he has failed to draw a single walk as well. With Solano, chances are what you see is what you get: he is not likely to be much more than a singles hitter in the big leagues, and so far he has done an abnormally good job of being one in spring training.
Barnes the Catcher?
The only other interesting offensive performance came from Austin Barnes, the second base prospect who will be working out of High-A Jupiter in 2013. Barnes hit a pinch-hit solo home run to get the Marlins their second and final run. The really interesting thing about the situation was that Barnes came to pinch hit for Kyle Skipworth, the team's starting catcher for the game. Barnes went on to play the rest of the game at catcher, a position that he supposedly abandoned last season.
This could be simply a reflection of the team's lack of depth at catcher at the moment thanks to Jeff Mathis's collarbone injury, but it could also imply that the Marlins are not through with Barnes's potential catching career. if the latter is the case, the team should get to deciding what position they want him to play, lest they fumble his development at both positions.
Next: Thursday, March 7, @ New York Mets, 1:10 PM EST