Jupiter, FL – The Miami Marlins’ spring training got off to a very rocky start, losing 11-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Sandy Alcantara received the honor of opening the 2019 Grapefruit League schedule, squaring off against fellow righty Miles Mikolas.

Alcantara had a brief but effective stint, pitching two innings allowing a single hit while punching out three. He was acquired in a trade with the Cardinals following the 2017 season, the one that shipped out former Miami Marlin Marcell Ozuna. Alcantara made six starts for Miami last year going 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA. He also struck out 30. Adam Conley took over the mound for the third frame, although his tenure was even shorter, lasting a single inning with no runs allowed. This is to be expected given its spring training.

After a disappointing first season with Miami, Lewis Brinson started off with his best foot (Or swing) forward, leading the home half of the third with a double to left. Brinson finished 2018 with a slash line of .199/.240/.338,  accumulating 11 home runs and 42 RBIs. It’s worth noting the 24-year-old was in 109 games last season, spending two months on the injured list due to right hip inflammation. He went on to steal third base, setting up for a two-out, Miguel Rojas RBI-single to put Miami ahead.

This was as good as it got.

St. Louis responded in the fourth with third baseman Jedd Gyorko hitting an RBI single, scoring Paul Dejong. It was all Cardinals after that as the Cards exploded with five runs in the fifth. Drew Robinson and Max Schrock smacked RBI singles to put the Redbirds up 3-1. Then Ramon Urias made R.J. Alvarez pay with a three-run bomb to put the “visitors” firmly in the driver’s seat. Alvarez had an atrocious inning lasting two thirds, surrendering five runs on six hits.

The Cardinals launched another three-run ball into orbit, this time by Schrock off of Brett Graves to make it a whopping 10-1 in the sixth.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The opener was the first of six meetings against St. Louis. Miami was 2-4-1 against the Cards last year for spring training. The Marlins had previously won the last two Spring openers.

The Marlins will go on to play the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow at 1:05 PM followed by a date with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, same time. Both games will be on the road.

Injury Scare

Marlins starting catcher Jorge Alfaro slammed full speed into the railing inside the team’s dugout as he chased down a fly ball. Coach Don Mattingly attempted to catch him to prevent his player from flipping forward. After a breather, He was deemed a’OK. Just got the wind knocked out of him. Alfaro was acquired as part of the trade with the Philadephia Phillies, replacing outgoing JT Realmuto.

On The Clock

Major League Baseball has announced the use of a 20-second pitch timer that will be used during 2019 Spring Training games. The pitch timer will be used in three phases during the preseason. The first phase is using the new mechanism without enforcement during the initial games, allowing the pitchers to get a feel for it.

Early next week the umpires will issue reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule, however, no penalties will be dispensed. The Umps are expected to inform the club’s field staff (Manager, Pitching Coach, Hitting Coach) of any violations. Sometime after that, violations are slated to become enforced. With that said, no decision has been made on continuing the 20-second timer for the regular season.

This is an attempt by the league to speed up the games that are admittedly three hours or so, depending. As a fan, I don’t mind it one bit, but I do agree on the idea of improving the product on the field. The pitchers largely stuck to releasing their pitches on time regardless. Personally, an additional five seconds should be added to give the hurlers a wee bit more breathing room.

Player of the Game

None other than the MLB, welcome back boys. We missed you.

Game Notes

Miami finished the afternoon with 1 run, 3 hits, and an error.

St. Louis ended the day with 11 runs, 20 hits, and no errors.

Victor Victor Mesa had his first at-bat not only as a Marlin but as a professional, grounding out to third base to end the eighth inning. After the game, coach Mattingly reflected on a special occasion.

“It was good to get him out there, get him an at-bat. Think about it, while we’re out there watching him hit, how long it’s probably been since his true game,” It starts the process, a process Mattingly expects to get better as time goes on.

St. Louis infielder Tommy Edman went 3-for-4 with 2 runs and an RBI.

His teammate Max Schrock had a phenomenal start, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double, tallying 4 RBIs.

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Gabriel Garcia
Just an avid sports fan who happens to have a love-hate (mostly love) relationship with his local teams be it collegiate or professional and also happens to be a news junkie. Mix in outstanding optimism with cold realism and you've got yourself a balanced cocktail perfect for champions.

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