02 March 2011
After beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in their first official spring training game, the Marlins had their first home Spring Training game the next day versus the Cardinals, and they didn't even have to travel. The Marlins second game was very different then their first against the team they share Roger Dean Stadium, losing 7-1. Chris Volstad started the day for the Marlins and set the tone of the game by giving up a 2-run home run to Matt Holliday in the first inning and then giving up another 2-run blast to Allen Craig (who despite playing 44 games in the bigs last year should start the year in AAA). And that was pretty much the way things went the rest of the day with all 7 of the Cardinals runs coming off homers (Jon Jay hit a 2-run hot off Frank Matt in the 6th and Mark Hamilton hit a solo homer off newly acquired Edward Muljca in the 7th).
From the behind the plate things did not go all that well for the Marlins either, but they were without Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez, Omar Infante, and Mike Stanton (who will be out 2-4 weeks with a strained quad). Chris Carpenter seemed to over match most of the Marlins players in 2.2 innings with 2 strikeouts, and allowing 1 hit (Scott Cousins had a nice line drive to right), and 1 walk. However after walking Chirs Coghlan on 4 straight balls it was obvious that he had pulled something and Cardinals coaches wasted no time in taking out of the game. With Wainwright already gone for the year the last thing the Cardinals needed was for Carpenter to get seriously hurt as well. Reports are that Carpenter suffered a strained right hamstring, and Mitchell Boggs who came in for Carpenter only pitched .2 innings before being pulled out of the game with a strained back. All and all though it was a tough day of hitting for the Marlins with only 5 total hits and the one run the Marlins had came when Matt Dominguez scored on a pass ball. The one bright spot from the plate was Dominguuez who went 1 for 2 and had a home run robbed from him by Jon Jay, this a day after he went 1-3 with a 2-run home run. If he can keep this up he is a lock to be an opening day starter at 3rd base for the Marlins.
It should also be noted that the Marlins were able to get great play from the field from Dominguez at 3rd, Donnie Murphy at short stop, and Emilio Bonifacio at 2nd. Looking at the way that they played (and Bonifacio had a nice hit) Bonifacio and Murphy should be just about locks to start the year as bench players for the Marlins this year.
For the Cardinals fans who really continued the summer of misery with Carpenter having to leave the game injured thier was one bright spot. The Cardinals have a lefty first base prospect named Mark Hamilton who really grabbed my attention. He is listed at 6'4" 220lbs, but yesterday he looked like he was closer to 240lbs, and he has a big league ready body. Last year he started in rookie ball, but he then went all the way up to AAA, and even played 9 game in the Majors last September. While he only went 2 of 14 with 5 strikeouts in the Majors last year, between the Rookie ball, AAA, and the Majors he hit .290 with 20 home runs and 68 RBIs. Yesterday he went 2-2 against the Marlins with a home run that hit the top of the building over the right center wall at Roger Dean Stadium off of Edward Muljca, and then got a single off of Leo Nunez in the 9th. If Hamilton improves off his numbers from last year it may make things easier on Cardinals ownership. If they are unable to sign Albert Puljos, Hamilton could be able to step in and take over his role nicely, or at least as well as one can replace an all-time great player. If the Cardinals are able resign Puljos, Hamilton will be a great chip in trading for whatever the Cardinals feel they need to improve their team next year. Also I maybe slightly bias because he is a fellow Hurricane, but the Cardinals have the best 4th outfielder, at least in the NL, with Jon Jay.
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