The concerns that many had about the Miami Marlins defense manifested on Sunday afternoon. It’s only game two of Spring Training—game one for most Marlins starters—but it seemed every player that’s in a new position went through hiccups in their first defensive chances against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jazz Chisholm Jr., primarily a second baseman throughout his major league career, made his professional debut in center field. With a runner on second in the first inning, Cardinals designated hitter Nolan Arenado hit a ball into shallow centerfield. Chisholm initially took a step back before sprinting forward and watching the ball fall a few feet in front of him for a single.
After the game, Chisholm told reporters he didn’t feel he would have been able to catch the ball regardless of his first step. Jazz said he took a step back in order to “deke” the runner Tommy Edman at second base and force Edman to hesitate on advancing. For whatever it’s worth, Edman may have scored if it weren’t for the deke maneuver.
You be the judge:
First opportunity in center field for Jazz Chisholm Jr.— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 26, 2023
Catchable fly ball gets misplayed into a single pic.twitter.com/15Jq1iYeaj
Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said Nolan Arenado breaking his bat on the hit could have contributed to the initial confusion, and that judging fly balls off a broken bat are different from what outfielders see during practice.
“I think (all the outfielders) probably broke back initially or froze,” Schumaker said. That’s probably why it dropped in. Those are going to happen…I think it’s really good to see a bit of everything. I want those types of plays to happen so he can see it and learn from it.”
The following play was a line drive by Cardinals second baseman Nolan Gorman that buzzed past Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez. While it’s a familiar position for the newly-acquired infielder, second base was not his primary assignment in 2022 (first base was). The ball came off the bat at 101 miles per hour and forced Arraez to slide to his right, but to no success.
Starting at third base, usual second baseman Jean Segura’s lone misplay was a double-clutch before throwing to first base that resulted in an infield single for Cardinals left fielder Jordan Walker.
The two official Marlins errors were late-inning throwing mistakes by right fielder Peyton Burdick and second baseman C.J. Hinojosa.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited debut of Eury Pérez, the No.13 baseball prospect according to MLB Pipeline, showed flashes of what fans were promised. He touched 99.6 miles per hour on his fastball and 91 miles per hour on his changeup.
Pérez gave up one run on four hits. His highlights included a strikeout to Nolan Gorman and a groundout to Nolan Arenado.
“You’re talking about one of the most notable players in the majors,” Pérez said through a translator in regards to facing Arenado. “He’s an unbelievable player. So I was giving a little bit extra, not only with him but with all the players.”
Alcantara has been working with Perez throughout spring training and told media once 6’8”, 220-pound Pérez gains muscle weight, his velocity will only continue to increase.
Perez’s pitch arsenal—including his 91 MPH changeup—is reminiscent of Alcantara.
“He’s just missing one (of my pitches): my two-seam,” Alcantara said. He throws hard and he’s tall. He’s got a curveball, a slider, a changeup. The only difference is I’m 27 and he’s 19. He throws hard like me.”
Alcantara was presented with his 2022 NL Cy Young award on the field prior to the game. The brief ceremony was a surprise to Alcantara, as he only found out when the public address announcer called his name. He posed with a placeholder award during the annual BBWAA dinner that had a misspelled word. Alcantara confirmed that the award he was given today did, in fact, have the correct spelling.
-In his Marlins debut, starting pitcher Johnny Cueto gave up five runs in two innings on five hits, including a three-run home run to Jordan Walker.
-Joey Wendle and Jerar Encarnación were the only Marlins starters to record a hit.
-Enmanuel De Jesús pitched two shutout innings in relief. Will Stewart and Sean Reynolds each pitched a scoreless inning. Joe Simpson allowed two runs (one earned) in one inning.
-The lone two runs for Miami came in the eighth inning on an RBI infield single by Peyton Burdick and a sacrifice fly by Jordan Groshans.
-Prior to the game, Skip Schumaker told media that he informed Jorge Soler he is “not a DH.” Schumaker said he wants to use the designated hitter spot as more of a half-day off for players—at least during spring training—and believes Soler can play in left field like he did when healthy last season.
"we are all learning these new rules together. The rule is you get 2:15 between innings. When the clock hits 40 seconds, the umpire is supposed to say that you have one pitch left. If you don't throw that final pitch before the clock hits 30, it's ball one. (cont.)— Noah Berger (@Trainboy100) February 26, 2023
-The Marlins fell victim to the pitch clock during the middle of the game. Both Eury Pérez and Enmanuel De Jesús got charged with violations when warming up to begin new innings due to what Schumaker described as a “miscommunication.” According to the new pitch clock rules, pitchers get two minutes and 15 seconds to warm up between innings. When the clock hits 40 seconds, the umpire is supposed to inform the pitcher that he can throw one more warmup pitch. If the pitcher does not throw that final pitch before the clock hits 30 seconds, it’s assessed as ball one. Schumaker said the miscommunication was with how that was being delivered and thrown around the diamond.