The Miami Marlins had another game today, as the team sent a split-roster cast to face off against the Washington Nationals. The Fish did not disappoint against the Nats, as the club did the opposite of its split-roster counterpart and delivered a rousing offensive performance in a back-and-forth matchup that yielded a tight 8-7 loss.
Jose Fernandez Debuts
The Marlins finally sent out top prospect Jose Fernandez for the first time in spring training, deploying him for two innings in the sixth and seventh. He did not disappoint either, throwing just 11 pitches in the sixth to retire the side cleanly before finishing off the seventh inning despite one hit allowed. He struck out two batters along the way and did not record a walk. Consider that this came up against many of the Nationals' top players on their primary roster, including most of the team's expected Opening Day starters. Given the competition Fernandez faced, a clean outing like that has to be considered impressive.
The rest of the pitching staff did not look great in surrendering seven runs to the Nationals. Starter Alex Sanabia did not help his case by allowing four runs in just 2 2/3 innings. He did strike out two batters with only one walk, however, which is more than can be said for failed prospect Brad Hand, who continues to bury himself into minor league obscurity. Hand relieved Sanabia and gave up back-to-back home runs to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman to tie the game up at four runs a piece. Hand also walked a batter along with two strikeouts.
This split team's offense was much better than its counterparts versus the St. Louis Cardinals, as the team led by Christian Yelich, Chone Figgins, and Joe Mahoney managed to match up the Nationals with 12 hits. Among those hits included a 2-for-3 performance for top prospect Yelich that also came with two walks. He is now hitting .400/.516/.720 with five extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts in 31 plate appearances. Yelich has been on fire all throughout spring training, and Marlins fans can only hope he continues this in Double-A and earns himself a promotion.
The team also got another home run from first baseman Joe Mahoney, who is still fighting for a spot on the roster with Logan Morrison's status in doubt. That is Mahoney's third home run of the spring, but that leaves him hitting a mixed .231/.269/.615 in 27 spring training appearances. If he can bring that line up over the next month, he may earn the spot over veteran Casey Kotchman should Morrison be out for longer than expected, but it will be an uphill climb for the borderline first baseman.