The Miami Marlins have shown some difficulties offensively to start the spring training season thus far, so the fact that the team suffered a loss in which it scored one run on two hits versus the Atlanta Braves was not surprising, even though it was a little disappointing. But spring training is not about wins and losses so much as it is about promising and troubling performances in the warm-up of the regular season, and Fish fans have to be happy after seeing a very promising performance by Nathan Eovaldi.
The Marlins could not be happier with Eovaldi's performance against the Braves. Aside from lefty Freddie Freeman, who got the only run off of Eovaldi thanks to a solo home run in the second inning, the Braves were baffled by the hard-throwing righty. Facing much of the Braves' expected Opening Day lineup, Eovaldi held his own, whiffing four batters while walking none in the process. He allowed just three hits along the way in five innings of work, finishing up the game with impressive per-inning ratios all throughout. The strikeout and walk marks in particular are impressive for a pitcher who struggled for much of last year controlling those two numbers well.
The only blemish aside from the home run was Eovaldi's pitch count, which ran up to 70 pitches in just five innings of work. Eovaldi faced 18 batters in those five innings, needing 3.9 pitches per batter to get out. Given that we like hitters to force pitchers to go four pitches per plate appearance, the fact that the Braves did a decent job of extending Eovaldi is worth noting, even amid an otherwise excellent outing.
Unfortunately for the Fish, two hits is simply not enough to support even the best of pitching performances. Only Rob Brantly and Casey Kotchman mustered base knocks against Braves starter Kris Medlen and the rest of their staff. Along the way, the club struck out seven times, though it did also get on base often enough with six walks to their name. Much of that damage was done versus reliever Jonny Venters, who walked four batters in his lone inning.
Disappointing outings on the Marlins' hitting side include those of Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Coghlan, who both were hitless in full games. For Hechavarria, who projects to start at shortstop this season, that brings his line down to a meager .200/.276/.320, and that is only confirming his issues at the plate.
Next Game: Friday, March 15, 1:05 EST, @ New York Yankees