If living amidst a pandemic for the past year has left you burnt out and needing some good news, you need not look any further than the Grapefruit League in Jupiter, Florida. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium’s ushers don blue Hawaiian shirts and extra large straw hats. There’s hardly a cloud in the sky and the blazing sun will surely have you breaking a sweat in no time. You might even hear an errant fan shout, “World Series year, baby! Let’s go!”
The Miami Marlins hosted the St. Louis Cardinals a 7-inning Spring Training game Tuesday, their third of the year. Although the bats were mostly silent, the Marlins defense was on display this afternoon.
José Devers got his first professional start at third base and the ball didn’t waste any time finding him. Positioned in short right field for a shift on the Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter, Devers fielded the ball near the natural second base position, one that he’s familiar with. Later in the game, Devers came charging in across the infield on a ground ball, throwing on the run to complete the out. He also walked twice in his two plate appearances.
In the third inning, the Marlins defense helped erase the two runners Braxton Garrett allowed via walks. JJ Bleday, starting in right field and hitting in the cleanup spot, showcased his arm on a ball Carpenter hit 329 feet. The baserunner at first was taking off on the pitch and Bleday, who caught the ball near the warning track, threw to the outstretched Garrett Cooper at first base to complete the double play. Chad Wallach then caught Harrison Bader attempting to steal second base for the last out in the top of the third inning.
The biggest play of the game came in the top of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, lefthander Dylan Lee induced a shallow fly ball to center field. Brian Miller came charging in from centerfield and threw a perfect one-hop to catcher Brian Navarreto, in time to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.
It may not have been the most exciting play of the day, but Víctor Víctor Mesa had a heads-up play that didn’t go unnoticed by manager Don Mattingly. Max Moroff hit a ball into the left-centerfield gap and was thinking two right out of the box, but had to retreat to first base when Mesa cut off the ball and got it into the infield quickly. Mattingly noted after the game that Mesa looks more comfortable this season, specifically mentioning this play in the fifth inning.
The bats were mostly silent for both teams. The Cardinals put together four hits, the Marlins just two. Cooper smacked a single with a 107.9 MPH exit velocity, per Statcast, in the fourth inning. Luis Marté lined a ball to right field in the sixth inning for the only other Marlins hit. The game ended in a shutout tie, putting the Marlins at 2-0-1 during 2021’s Spring Training.
The Marlins will play the Washington Nationals Wednesday at 1:05 PM. Elieser Hernández is expected to take the mound for his first start this spring while Nats phenom Juan Soto makes his own spring debut.
- BreakingT and Baseball America have collaborated on new Sixto Sánchez t-shirts and hoodies, headlining their “Prospects to Pros” collection. Get yours!
- No Triple-A baseball until the first week of May, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The delay is intended to buy time for players to receive COVID-19 vaccines and local governments to loosen restrictions on fan attendance while also aligning those affiliates with the schedules of lower Minor League Baseball levels.
- It’s already been a busy week on the Fish Stripes podcast. Episodes available wherever you get your podcasts.
- Catch up on new episodes of Locked On Marlins, Fish Bytes and Fish Across the Pond.
- Just Marlins wants to know your go-to pod for news, analysis and banter about the team (we’re biased, of course).
- Eleven teams—including the Marlins—sent representatives to attend Yoenis Céspedes’ free agent showcase. It’s difficult to see him as a fit unless there’s a last-minute agreement to implement the universal designated hitter rule for 2021. Even then, it may take an injury to one of their prominent hitters for the Marlins to make an offer.
- Marlins executives Kim Ng and Caroline O’Connor will participate in the Gamechangers virtual panel on Mar. 10 for Women’s History Month. You can register to attend here.
- Enlightening Brian Anderson interview on 790 The Ticket from Tuesday morning (begins at the 03:39:00 mark).
- The Peanut Gallery sees three possible outcomes for the 2021 Marlins season.
- Our “2021 new Marlins” quiz now has the answer key in the comments section. Give it a try and let us know how you did.