Marlins Pitching Quiets Nationals Offense in Second Spring Training Matchup 

The Miami Marlins are now 4-1 in Spring Training play after defeating the Washington Nationals Wednesday afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium 3-2. This is the 20th year that Miami makes Roger Dean Stadium their home for Spring Training and the Fish are off to a great start.  Miami and Washington squared off for the second of four games between the two clubs this Spring. 

Sandy Alcantara already looked in mid-season form after another strong outing in Spring Training. In his last appearance, Sandy pitched three solid shutout innings. In today’s outing, Manager Don Mattingly gave Sandy some extra leash and went four innings, and threw 57 pitches. 

The Sand Man is Ready for Opening Day

The only blemish of his start was the solo home run he gave up to Juan Soto in the opening frame. From that point on, Alcantara was perfect. He did not surrender a hit and not a single National reached base. Alcantara finished his start with four strikeouts and no walks. 

Alcantara has a 1.29 ERA through his seven innings this Spring Training and he looks ready to be the ace of the Marlins rotation. All players had to get accustomed to the shortened camp and it looks like it does not phase Sandy. 

The bullpen followed Alcantara’s lead in today’s game as Cody Poteet, Nick Neidert, and Huascar Brazoban combined to throw five innings and gave up only one run. On the days he steps foot on the mound, the Marlins are in a great position to win. He will be able to go deep into games and give a break to some arms in the bullpen. 

Poteet and Neidert looked great in their appearances today. Both pitchers had two innings of work and gave up zero runs. They will be competing for a spot in the starting rotation with Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo Lopez all locked in.

Another pitcher to be on the lookout to crack the rotation is Jesus Luzardo. The South Florida native was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for Starling Marte. Luzardo is still growing at this level but he equips a blazing fastball that was constantly hitting in the upper 90’s in his last Spring Training outing.  Last season, Mattingly used Luzardo in different roles. But, entering the 2022 season, Mattingly has decided what Luzardo’s main role on the club will be.

The “Thump” the Marlins Needed

Sandy has the ability to limit opposing offenses to very few runs, but his record will improve with run support. The Marlins made big splashes in the offseason trading for Joey Wendle and Jacob Stallings, and signing Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler as free agents to bolster a very weak lineup.

If you combine those players with Miguel Rojas, Jesus Aguilar and Brian Anderson, then the Marlins now have a balanced offense. This added talent in the lineup can relieve so much pressure from Alcantara and the other starters. Last year, it seemed like the starters had to be perfect in their outings and the bullpen was always in close games. At least there can be the potential for breathing room and avoid overworking the bullpen.

New Marlins to Look Out For

The only question mark on the Marlins lineup would probably be in centerfield. The Marlins do not have a true center fielder on their roster. Several players have been looked at in camp for that spot. Garcia is an option and Bryan De La Cruz, who finished last season as the everyday centerfielder.

Jon Berti started in center for today’s game, but the Marlins have other options to play the position that aren’t internal options. Miami signed Delino DeShields Jr. and Roman Quinn to minor league contracts with invites to Spring Training. Those two players have the most experience manning center field by far compared to any other player on the roster. Although that might be the conventional route, it seems like Mattingly might be going in a different direction to start the season.

Miami still has plenty of decisions to make to round off their rotation and bench roles. Those are good problems to have for Mattingly and his staff. It still looks like the Marlins’ strength is pitching, but now they are looking more like a complete ball club.

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