The Cardinals took on the Marlins today in spring training on a beautiful 77 degree day at Roger Dean Stadium. In what looked to be a low-scoring affair until the 7th, the Cardinals came up big late and came away with a 4-1 win.
The Cardinals lineup going into the game:
The Marlins originally put out a different lineup card than what was actually used in the game, so when Marcel Ozuna didn't appear as the second batter in the game (as the lineup card listed), Mike Shannon claimed he was at "Marcel school", which led to a weird back-and-forth with John Rooney about mimes. If anyone was wondering if Mike Shannon is at peak season form, hopefully this answers your question.
Ichiro Suzuki, still with some life left in his bat at 42, led off the game with a single, but El Gallo immediately followed that up by striking out the side. Notably, the Cards employed a heavy shift on righty Giancarlo Stanton, which may be a sign of the Cards increasing willingness to employ the shift when appropriate.
Kolten Wong had himself a decent day, going 3-3 with a SB and a CS. His final single looked good (a line drive to RF), but the two previous were infield singles, with the first being a ball that Adeiny Hechavarria seemed to have trouble getting out of his glove. Wong is obviously being quite aggressive on the basepaths this ST, but is so far just 1 for 3 on stolen base attempts this spring.
The surprise of the game was probably Matt Holliday's defense, gaining him the high praise of "better than adequate defense out there" from Shannon. Holliday looked pretty relaxed overall, and even managed to pull in an errant throw that probably saved Ruben Tejada from a throwing error.
Carlos Martinez looked sharp today - he led off the fifth inning with a full count walk to Chris Johnson, followed by starting 3-0 to Miguel Rojas, but settled in nicely to force a double play and retire Hechavarria. Mattingly chose not to start Johnson on the 3-0 pitch to Rojas, which made for an easy double play turn by Wong. Martinez finished the day with 5 IP, 2 H, 5 K, 1 BB. He consistently hit 96-97 mph with a bit of 98 mph mixed in. He also showed off his defensive skill with a very nice play to field a sharply hit ball from Jacob Realmuto.
Randal Grichuk came away hitless today, but managed not one but TWO walks. Let's hope Matt Carpenter has given him some of whatever magic elixir he drinks fortnightly. It would be remiss of me to not point out Gunrick's hair, which looked god-like today.
On the prospect side, Jeremy Hazelbaker had a good day as well. Although he only came away 1-4, he had a really good at-bat in the 6th which ended in a hard-hit ball that Rojas was lucky to come up with (Matt Carpenter was also robbed of a hit by a good play by Rojas early on). Hazelbaker's speed was also an asset, as he was able to avoid the double play that Yadier Molina was caught up in during the second, and allowed him to score from first on a Ruben Tejada double.
Molina is another spring surprise, as I wasn't expecting him to play quite as much as he has. He was 2-3 today, although he is still as slow as whatever the opposite of a jaguar is. Molina was pulled in the 6th for a pinch runner (Eric Fryer), who stayed in the game at catcher.
Matt Bowman pitched a perfectly cromulent 6th inning and was able to make a nice defensive play to retire Don Kelly. Bowman remains a question mark - is he going to step it up enough to make the team or are we shipping him back to the Mets?
We hit some real action in the 7th inning. Trevor Rosenthal came in to pitch, and after retiring the first batter, gave up a very Stanton-like home run to Giancarlo Stanton (his first of the spring). Luckily, Greg Garcia was able to get a good quick first step on a decently-hit ball by Martin Prado for the out, and Chris Johnson flew out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Cardinals offense was able to get to Dustin McGowan, recording 3 runs. After a Garcia single and a walk by Jacob Wilson, David Washington hit a long double over Ichiro's head, scoring Garcia. Brandon Moss doubled to score Wilson and Washington (even with the Marlins playing pretty deep on him).
Kevin Siegrist came in for the 8th and immediately missed with his first three pitches but induced a ground out from Robert Andino. Despite a single from Austin Nola and a sharp line drive from Justin Maxwell, Siegrist reined it in and retired the side. Jonathan Broxton and his big pants came in to unremarkably close the game out in the 9th.
Because of the vagaries of the pitching win, Rosie took the win today with Broxton getting the save. Attendance at Roger Dean was a pretty massive crowd for a spring training game at 7,473. Shannon managed to throw a little bit of shade at Marlins fans by remarking it was "the biggest crowd I've ever seen at a Marlins game."
Cards take on the Nats tomorrow at 12:05.