This feels like as good a time as any to remind everyone that these games are where you are supposed to make mistakes. Manager Skip Schumaker echoed this sentiment before today's game when discussing some defensive miscues we've seen over the past few days:
"I don't want to see the routine fly ball because I know [Jazz] can catch that one. I want to see the game situation stuff and how he reacts. And really, it's not just Jazz; we've got all kinds of guys out there that I want to see. So I know the big story is Jazz. But I want to see how Groshans plays at third and also first, and so there are a lot of different guys that I want to see how they react."
He also stressed that the guys starting a day game after a night game were all instances of the players coming over to him and asking to play back-to-back and get more reps in. With Sandy making his spring debut against a stacked Mets lineup, it was shaping up to be a fun afternoon at Roger Dean.
The outcome may not have been what they hoped for, but with the WBC next week and Opening Day less than a month away, there were encouraging signs from multiple parts of the club. Let's break it down.
In just two innings of work in his first start of the spring, Sandy Alcantara showed that he is dead set on not just repeating his performance from last season but improving beyond it. He worked quickly without a care for the pitch clock as he worked around baserunners in both innings to keep the Mets off the scoreboard. And he didn't even record a strikeout; it was all weak contact, Sandy's way of getting outs as fast as possible. He gave up just two hits and threw 26 pitches, 19 strikes. When asked how he felt out there today, he responded, "hot," in reference to the temperature out on the mound. He will make one more start for the Marlins against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday before joining the rest of the Dominican Republic team for workouts in Fort Myers.
Bryan Hoeing pitched better than I've ever seen him pitch before. His fastball was 2-3 mph faster, and he located it exactly where he wanted to. He threw two perfect innings and recorded four strikeouts, which for a groundball pitcher, is a lot. Skip mentioned that Bryan was one of the guys that stood out today, which bodes well for his chances of breaking camp.
Regarding the rest of the bullpen, it wasn't the best day at the park. Dylan Floro gave up two runs in one inning of work and was followed by Chi Chi González, who gave up three more runs in an inning and a third. Brady Puckett came on in relief of Chi Chi and struck out both batters he faced. Bryan Hoeing did his thing after Puckett. Will Stewart gave up a run on two hits in the eighth inning and was followed by Sean Reynolds, who gave up two more runs on two hits in the ninth.
On the offensive side, Jon Berti continued to torment the Mets in the box and on the base paths. He snuck a ball through the right side to drive home Jean Segura in the second inning and advanced to second on the throw home. He then went to third on a wild pitch to Jordan Groshans. He got another hit in the fourth inning off Stephen Nogosek.
Xavier Edwards led off the third inning with a single to the left side and went around to third when Bryan De La Cruz shot a ball down the left field line for a one-out double. Jazz showed off his speed as he beat on an infield hit to drive home Edwards and move DLC to third, but was doubled off as Jean Segura hit into an inning-ending double play.
The first of the Marlins’ other two runs came by way of a Bryan De La Cruz ground out, which scored Xavier Edwards, who reached base because of a throwing error by third baseman Brett Baty. The last run was scored by Nasim Nunez on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Barstad.
In total, the Marlins scored four runs on eight hits and recorded only one error, while the Mets plated eight runs on eleven hits and recorded two errors.
Noah's Notes and What's Next
- The Bryan De La Cruz hype train is chugging along.
- Jesús Sánchez put together a couple of solid at-bats, working a few full counts.
- Jimmy Yacabonis continues to throw breaking balls that break more than should be legal.
- This game flew past in just two hours and thirty-seven minutes.
- Huascar Brazoban has arrived at camp and will throw a bullpen tomorrow.
- Edward Cabrera toes the rubber at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches against the Nationals tomorrow.
- First pitch: 1:05 PM
- Tomorrow’s pitching plan (subject to change): Cabrera (2 innings), Braxton Garrett (3), Josh Simpson (1), Matt Barnes (1), Robert Garcia (1), Steven Okert (1).
- ‘Til Tmrw!