Another day, another loss for the Marlins yesterday, this time at the hands of the New York Mets. With Spring Training, though, it is not the team record that counts, but the individual performances (to an extent).
Looking past yesterday’s box score, which wasn’t particularly pretty, there were two impressive showings, one on the mound and one at the plate for Miami.
First of all, Giancarlo Stanton may have finally shaken off his cold start to Spring Training. With two hits in three at bats, the Marlins got some crucial production from one of their most important stars.
Most notably, Stanton hit his first home run of 2017, a shot which jumped over the left field fence against a strong wind. While his average is only at .176 after seven games, when Stanton is hitting home runs it means that he is dialed-in, and that is exactly what the Marlins will need all season to even have a 25% chance of making the playoffs.
On the mound, Edinson Volquez further staked his claim as the best starting pitcher on the 40-man roster this upcoming season. Volquez breezed through the first three innings before coming unstuck in the fourth, but his final line still read 3.1 innings pitched, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts.
Conversely to Stanton, Volquez is enjoying a stellar Spring, going from strength to strength over the course of his three appearances. A 2.84 ERA over 6.1 innings has him nicely warmed-up for the World Baseball Classic, where he will pitch atop the Dominican Republic’s rotation.
As the score might indicate, not all of the Marlins who took the field yesterday performed well. However, Christian Yelich, Martin Prado, and Dee Gordon all did not feature in the contest, nor did any of the projected bullpen pieces for the regular season. In short, yesterday’s score was not necessarily as sign of things to come against New York in the regular season.
The World Baseball Classic is next for many of Miami’s stars, including Giancarlo Stanton and Edinson Volquez, as mentioned previously. The heightened level of competition on the international stage should get them more than ready for Opening Day, potentially getting rid of more rust than the laid back atmosphere of Spring Training games could.
Getting off to a good start will be critical for the Marlins this year; building confidence early will help settle this ace-less pitching staff and prevent superstar batters from trying to do too much. With what they both showed yesterday, Stanton and Volquez look like they will be able to help the team do just that.