While the northern half of the United States continues to dig themselves out of the sad reality of winter, the boys of summer continue to rev up for another campaign. With a full week of Spring Training underway and live baseball returning, the Marlins got to see how they stack up early with other teams.
Week in Review
Notables from Games
The Spring Training live action kicked off on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Fish fell 4-1 and there was not a lot to take from this game. The good: Giancarlo Stanton made his much anticipated return to live baseball action, going 0-2 starting in right field. The man with many question marks added more concern for some as Dee Gordon was caught stealing and was also picked off.
Miami would put their first W in the books on Friday with an admirable 5-3 team win over the Red Sox. Michael Morse looks to be fully healthy as he knocked in a pair of runs on a double. Morse should be an integral part of the Marlins lineup this year. Jordany Valdespin showed a spark in his step, racking up two hits including a triple from the leadoff spot.
Saturday's game carried more weight as it was the first look the Marlins had at division foe New York Mets. Regardless of whether it is preseason or not, it's always a good day when the Fish take down the Mets. Saturday was no different as they came out with a hard fought 8-7 victory. Stanton and Martin Prado drove in their first runs of the spring and Henderson Alvarez threw two scoreless innings, only allowing one hit.
The Cardinals would get the best of Miami again as the Fish fell 5-2 on Sunday. The bright spot in the game was the home run from Michael Morse. Morse will provide some protection for Stanton in the middle of the lineup and he is wasting no time. The injury plagued 2014 looks to be behind him and he looks to capitalize on a fresh start in Miami.
The Marlins are taking no chances when it comes to starting pitcher Mat Latos. He will not join the spring starting rotation for the time being as they look to limit the amount of live pitches he throws. Only 27, Latos's long term health is not a concern at this time, the move looks to be strictly precautionary due to injury-plagued 2014 season. He is slated to throw a simulated game today.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is dealing with a little bit of fatigue in his throwing shoulder. He will be resting over the next few days and isn't expected to miss an extended amount of time. Hechavarria is one of the top defensive shortstops in the National League so the complaint is worth noting.
The Fish will be seeing some familiar faces from last week in the Mets today and Wednesday as well as the Cardinals on Friday. The new matchups coming up this week have me quite intrigued.
Tuesday (3/10) and Saturday (3/14) vs Nationals
It's no secret that the Washington Nationals are the heavy favorites to win the National League East this year. Their offseason acquisitions are enough to keep up at night, along with my upcoming history midterm that I should probably study for soon… Anywho the Nats are locked and loaded for the upcoming season. If the Marlins can split the season series with them, they will be in control of their own destiny for the Wild Card race. Tuesday is the start of what could be a shocking back and forth battle.
Personnel wise, this club has all the looks of a championship contender. I am hoping that Henderson Alvarez gets a look at this lineup as he could get an early look at the bats. The more he sees the Washington offense, the more he can pick apart their weaknesses. The core of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Ian Desmond will be a thorn in the side of the Fish for seasons to come. The sooner the arms can exploit the sooner the gap will be closed in the East.
Question of the Week
As always here is the question of the week. This is your opportunity as fans to comment either on the question or general comments, or to make fun of my hair. With Michael Morse performing well in his first few appearances (two run double and home run in two games), he should be a force in the middle of the lineup.
What will his final line be? (AVG/OBP/SLG)
Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week and see you next Monday Fish Stripes!