06 March 2011
The Marlins finished up their first week of spring training games yesterday afternoon with a win over a split squad Boston Red Sox team. That win ended a four game losing streak, and capped off a week that was very up and down for Marlins players. Luckily for those bad Marlins performances, right now you can just shrug them off an say that it was only week one of spring training and it does not mean a whole lot. That's why instead of doing a recap of each game individually it would simply be easier to break it down between the Good, Bad, and Ugly parts of the Marlins week.
-The middle of the Marlins pitching rotation. I will talk about the rest of the Marlins starting pitchers in the Ugly section, but for now the Anibal Sanchez and Javier Vazquez have been very good thus far. Javier pitched 2 perfect innings last Sunday against the Miami Hurricanes, and pitched 3 innings against the Mets only giving up one run. Sanchez has similar numbers pitching 5 total innings this spring giving up one run against the Cardinals. With Anibal coming off of injury and Javier coming off a sub-par year in New York, the strong start for both of these pitchers is a good sign. Also while it may not be good that Nolasco has yet to have a start because of a thumb injury, but reports that he is throwing and that the injury does not appear to be too serious is very good news for Marlins players.
-Matt Dominguez. On the surface numbers like 2 for 10 this week (excluding the UM game) do not seem all that great, but he did hit a 2-run homer on Monday, and then on Tuesday he had another home run robbed from him by Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay. Combine that with the 2-run double Dominguez hit on Friday, and he is having a very promising Spring. Everyone new that he could play defense, and he has shown that ability as well in Spring Training, and the biggest question about him was his bat. Well he has shown some power this spring, and also has the same number of walks as he does strikeouts (2). If Dominguez can keep this up there is no doubt he will be the starting third baseman for the Marlins on opening day.
-Potential Marlins Bench Players. For the Marlins bench in 2011 we all know that Wes Helms and John Baker are going to be there, but the rest of the positions are pretty much up for grabs, and players like Dewayane Wise, Emilo Bonifacio, Scott Cousins, Donnie Murphy, Ozzie Martinez, and Bryan Petersen are making the best of their opportunity. Bonifacio and Cousins have especially excelled as both are hitting over .400 this spring. Emilio Bonifacio may actually be having the most impressive spring training of any Marlins player. He has made some very nice plays in the field, has been publicly complimented by his manager for his ability to play multiple positions, and most amazingly for him, he has yet to strike out this spring. Wise had not really done much to stand out this spring until Saturday when he went 3 for 4 with2 runs and 2 RBIs. Donnie Murphy became some what of a fan favorite last year, but despite his great play in the field this spring he has yet to get a hit. It should be interesting to see how the competition for the final roster spot heats up as the spring progresses.
-Mike Stanton getting hurt. You never want your star players to get hurt, but their is something even more painful as a fan when it happens during a preseason game. After hitting a home run in his first plate appearance, Stanton strained his right quad during his second at bat last Sunday versus the Miami Hurricanes. Luckily the injury should only keep him out another 1-3 weeks and he should be ok come opening day.
-The Marlins 2-4 record. While it may only be Spring Training and wins and losses may not mean all that much, but still most would prefer to be 6-0 rather than 2-4 (2-5 if you include the loss the the Miami Hurricanes). It is only the first week, so many of the players on both teams who are in the lineups at the end of the games are probably going to be playing in Double or Triple-A, so the wins and losses to start Spring Training will not mean as much as those at the end of the spring when you have starters playing most of the games. Even still the Marlins 2 wins this year have come against the Cardinals, who were starting a minor league pitcher who was filling in for Wainwright, and the Red Sox, who were a split squad team with half their team playing Baltimore. It would be a lot better if the Marlins could get a few wins versus a full squad starting a big league pitcher.
-Chirs Volstad and Josh Johnson. Yes both these pitchers have only pitched two innings in one start each, both both pitched poorly. In Josh Johnson's start he gave up 4 runs, including a 3-run homer to Roger Bernadina, faced 12 batters, he only pitched 1.2 innings, and had to be taken out of the game in the middle of an at bat because his pitch count was too high. More than likely this is just an aberration for Josh Johnson and most fans can let it slide, but that is not really the case with Volstad. Chris Volstad pitched very well when he came up to the big leagues in '08 and he pitched well in his last 8 starts last year, but the time in between has been very shaky to say the lease. Unfortuenly Volstad throughout his carrer has had a knack for giving up home runs and he gave up 2 2-run home runs on Tuesday to go along with 4 other hits and recording no strikeouts. Hopefully Volstad can get this straightened out, especially when you consider that the player who most likely would replace him as the number 5 starter, Alex Sanabia, gave up 6 hits, 4 runs, and 2 walks in his start against Houston where he only pitcher 1.2 innings before being pulled.
-Edward Mujica. Mujica was one of the two relief pitchers that came over from San Diego in the Careron Maybin trade. Of the players expected to be in the Marlins bullpen, Mujica is having easily the worse spring training thus far. For starting pitchers, starts in Spring Training are different then they are for when they pitch regular season games. They go in knowing that they will only pitch a few innings, they have a pretty strict pitch count, so if they are working on a pitch or some mechanics they maybe more interested in their own pitches rather than trying to get the guy at the plate out. For relievers their job is the same thing. Go in the game for an inning and get the batters out. Mujica this spring has pitched in 2 games for a total of 3 innings giving up a hit, and a run in each game with also giving up 2 walks. The one good thing about Mujica is that he he is coming off a good year in San Diego and this poor spring for Mujica is nothing new. In the previous three springs he has not had an ERA less than 8.
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