6,483 were in attendance at the two clubs shared spring training home in Jupiter, Florida.
A few observations:
- Elieser Hernandez was on point, limiting Cardinals hitting to one hit in three innings. He struck out two in his first spring training start. He had previously appeared in three other contests in relief.
- Despaigne, normally a starter, locked down a Marlins win with a three-inning save, allowing a run but allowing just three baserunners and striking out two.
- Scott Van Slyke is continuing his push to get onto Miami’s opening day roster by playing well enough to make it impossible to send him down. It’s hard to think of the Marlins outfield as being “crowded” at this point. I’m counting J.B. Shuck (who is hitting .381 this spring) in the same boat as Van Slyke at this point.
- That reminds me of the way things used to be...Remember when major league rosters had two catchers, seven infielders, five outfielders, five starters and six relievers? Think about it. SEVEN INFIELDERS!!! Just a tangent, carry on please.
- Brinson is actually outperforming the lofty expectations that we heaped on him as soon as he arrived. He’s still hitting at a .393 clip after going two-for-three. I’m thinking Peter Mooney is looking better than expected as well, but I guess we really didn’t have much expectation with him in mind.
What follows is a batter-by-batter account of the aforementioned game. I started out in bullet format for those of you who don’t like reading encyclopedia-sized recaps. If those don’t bother you, by all means, keep reading.
St. Louis starter Michael Wacha got Marlins’ leadoff hitter Magneuris Sierra to ground out easily to the first baseman for an unassisted out, then he got Garrett Cooper to do the very same thing for out number two. On the very next pitch, Starlin Castro slapped a comebacker right at Wacha for an easy 1-3 out. Marlins 0, Cardinals -
Elieser Hernandez, making his fourth appearance in the spring, made his first spring training start. Dexter Fowler got caught looking at a 1-2 breaking ball for out number one. Jedd Gyorko smacked Hernandez’ next offering hard, but right at Marlins right fielder Sierra for the second out of the inning. Jose Martinez followed that by giving Hernandez his second whiff of the inning, like Fowler, getting fooled by a 1-2 breaking ball near the edge of the zone. Marlins 0, Cardinals 0
Isan Diaz, who hit .222 with 13 homers and 54 RBI in the minors last season, smashed Wacha’s second pitch over the left-center field wall for an early Marlins’ lead. It was his first long-ball of the spring. Brian Anderson hit a laser into the glove of Cardinals shortstop Greg Garcia for the first out of the inning, then Lewis Brinson, wearing his prized number 9 jersey in honor of hero Juan Pierre, worked the count to 3-1 before hitting the pill right up the middle and over second base for a single. Chad Wallach, who was a .226 hitter with nine homers and 18 RBI last season in minor league ball, worked the count full. The next pitch would see Wallach strike out at a ball high, then Brinson cut down trying to steal second on a bullet from catcher Carson Kelly. The double play was scored 1-2-4. Marlins 1, Cardinals 0
Luke Voit led off the second for St. Louis by driving a 2-0 pitch for out number one to center fielder Brinson. Kelly followed by working a seven-pitch at bat out of Hernandez before grounding to third baseman Brian Anderson to make two outs. Garcia followed that by slicing a 1-1 pitch inside the right field line, then alertly hustling to second base for the two-out two-bagger. Harrison Bader closed the frame, stranding Garcia by jamming a 2-2 pitch right at Castro. Marlins 1, Cardinals 0
Scott Van Slyke, continuing to try and force the Marlins to give him a roster spot, opened the inning by poking the ball down the right side for a single. Miguel Rojas, hitting just .095 coming into the game, smoked a 1-0 pitch to Adolis Garcia in center field for out number one. Sierra chopped the ball to drawn in first baseman Martinez, who got Van Slyke out by firing to short for the force play. Sierra then easily stole second, nearly overrunning the bag and getting embarrassed, but in the end merely setting the table for Cooper. Cooper, who led all of minor league ball with a 1.057 OPS last season, singled to center to score Van Slyke for a 2-run Marlins’ lead. Castro struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Marlins 2, Cardinals 0
Adolis Garcia led off inning number three for the Cards by grounding it to shortstop Rojas, who’s throw pulled Cooper off the bag at first and allowed Garcia to each base. Breyvic Valera also grounded to Rojas, who literally made up for his earlier throw by erasing Garcia, stepping on second for the force before easily throwing out Valera for the twin killing. Fowler’s long ball was kept in the park by a stiff wind blowing in, and was corralled on the warning track by a roving Brinson. Marlins 2, Cardinals 0
Diaz, following up his second inning tater by working the count against Wacha full and drawing a free pass. Anderson also worked the count full before driving a pitch down the left field line and moving Diaz to second base. Brinson drove the ball to center field for the first out of the inning, but it was far enough for Diaz to advance to third base. Wallach got the second out of the inning on an infield chopper, but both Diaz and Anderson advanced to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead and a runner on second base with Van Slyke due up. Van Slyke struck out, but Kelly couldn’t get a handle on the pitch, allowing Scotty to take first and Anderson to take third. Rojas, desperately in need of some positive results from the plate, made it 4-0 with a lazily hit single to right field, driving in Anderson. After working the count full, Sierra struck out on the eighth hit of the at bat, checking his swing on a ball high. Marlins 4, Cardinals 0
New pitcher Tayron Guerrero, in his fifth appearance of the spring, welcomed the 2-3-4 section of the St. Louis order, ending Hernandez’ night after three. Gyorko led off the fourth with a high chopper to Anderson for a 5-3 putout, and Martinez followed with a rip to right fielder Sierra for a quick two outs. Voit made it three by also hitting to Sierra. Long story short, Guerrero’s fifth game looked just like his first four. Marlins 4, Cardinals 0
Brett Cecil took the hill to end Wacha’s night, and started by inducing Cooper into a 5-3 putout. Castro followed with a solo home run to left-center field to give the Marlins a 5-0 lead. Diaz struck out swinging on a high fastball, and Anderson grounded out 4-3 to end things. Marlins 5, Cardinals 0
Dillon Peters started the fifth and got Kelly to ground out 4-3. He followed that by getting both Garcia and Bader to ground out 1-3 for a perfect frame. Marlins 5, Cardinals 0
Jason Motte started the St. Louis sixth and promptly allowed Brinson to reach first on his second single of the afternoon, to right field. Wallach hit the very next pitch up the middle to put runners on first and second. Van Slyke swung hard and missed a 2-2 fastball for the first out, Rojas flew out to shallow right field for the second, and Sierra whiffed swinging on three straight pitches for the third. Marlins 5, Cardinals 0
Miami exercised wholesale defensive changes prior to the bottom part of the sixth, placing Braxton Lee in right, J.B. Shuck in left, Peter Mooney at second, Cristhian Adames at third, Isaac Galloway in center, Chris Hoo behind the plate, Eric Campbell at first, and Yadiel Rivera at short. Garcia led off the inning against Peters, taking a mighty swing at a 3-2 pitch but missing for the first out. Valera followed by also working the count full, then drew first when Peters drilled him in the ribs. Yairo Munoz came in to pinch run, and on the next pitch was able to score on a Fowler triple to right field. Fowler scored on Gyorko’s 6-3 groundout soon afterward. With the bases now empty, Martinez drew a five-pitch walk, and Steven Baron struck out on a pinch hitting appearance. Marlins 5, Cardinals 2
Dakota Hudson, the 34th overall pick in 2016 pitched the seventh inning for the Cardinals, and allowed Miami’s leadoff hitter Shuck to hit a 1-0 grounder to left field. Mooney followed him by grounding into a 3-6 forceplay for out number one. Brian Holaday then pinched in for Diaz at DH, and watched Peter Mooney advance to second on a stolen base attempt and a throwing error by Hudson. Holiday slapped into a 3-1 groundout, and Adames finished up grounding out 6-3 to end the inning. Marlins 5, Cardinals 2
Odrisamer Despagne relieved Peters in the seventh, and started out well enough, striking out Andrew Knizner on three pitches. Greg Garcia was able to draw a one-out walk, then get thrown out trying to score on a Bader double to right field for out number two. Adolis Garcia drove in Bader on a single to center field, but Munoz couldn’t sustain the comeback, striking out to end the frame. Marlins 5, Cardinals 3
Galloway led off against Hudson, and nearly got to first on a hard grounder to third, which Mejia collected and fired off to first to just get him out. Hoo, in his second spring training at bat, hit into a 3-1 groundout. Campbell struck out looking in a 1-2-3 inning. Marlins 5, Cardinals 3
Despagne came out for another inning of work, and faced Patrick Wisdom to start things out, getting the first baseman to ground out to short. Mejia followed by lining out to Lee in right on a 1-0 pitch, and Randy Arozarena ended the inning by popping out to Adames at third. Marlins 5, Cardinals 3
Matt Bowman pitched the ninth inning, and got Miami’s leadoff man, Rivera, to ground out 1-3. Braxton Lee, who led the Southern League with a .309 average last season, collected a 2-2 single up the middle. Shuck got his second single of the game to load up runners at the corners for Mooney, and Mooney drilled it out to deep right-center, where it bounced off Adolis Garcia’s glove (it was scored a double). Lee scored, and Shuck stopped at third base. Holaday grounded out 6-2-3, when he hit it to short. It was an odd play - Holaday hit it to shortstop, who fired it to the plate to get Shuck out, but the throw was way down the first baseline. The catcher salvaged an out by getting it to first before Holaday could. Adames ended it by grounding out 4-3. Marlins 7, Cardinals 3
Despagne stayed in for a third inning of work and ended up earning a save. He collected his three outs by getting Baron to ground out 5-3, and Knizner and Garcia to both ground out 6-3. Marlins 7, Cardinals 3
The win places Miami’s Spring Training record at 9-5-2. Next up, the Marlins will host the New York Yankees, again at Roger Dean Stadium tomorrow at 1:05ET.