Spring Training: Braves clipped by Marlins, 5-1 (2015)
The Atlanta Braves got a strong start from Wandy Rodriguez, but had some trouble with the leather in a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
At the plate: The Braves got another crack at the Marlins on Friday, but weren’t able to muster much in the way offense against Dan Haren and four relievers. Eric Young Jr. seems to be locked in as Atlanta’s lead-off hitter to open the season. He was 1-for-3 with a walk. The lone run of the night came courtesy of Chris Johnson, who provided an RBI-single in the fourth inning. Andrelton Simmons finished 1-for-3 and is batting .500 on the spring. Meanwhile, Jace Peterson was hitless, but drew a walk and stole a base.
On the mound: Wandy Rodriguez went to the mound with a glowing endorsement from Fredi Gonzalez, and he promptly rewarded his manager with five no-hit innings. Prior to the game, Gonzalez told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Rodriguez had likely done enough to earn one of the two vacant spots in the Braves rotation:
“It’s not make or break, really. This is a veteran guy, we brought him in to get one of these spots. Now all of a sudden two are available because [Mike] Minor is shut down for a little bit… So I think the chances of him making this club are really, really good. No matter whether he gives up 10 today or throws a one-hitter. Because you like what you’ve seen, you like what he’s done in the past, and so yeah, as far as today – just let him go out and pitch.”
Rodriguez final line: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K. Two of his strikeouts came at the expense of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who went down looking the first and swinging in the fourth.
With Rodriguez done for the night, Luis Avilan was called on to face a pair lefty hitters. He retired Ichiro Suzuki, but allowed a single to Christian Yelich which sparked a Marlins’ rally. Williams Perez (0-1) came on, but didn’t get much help from the Atlanta defense as Miami scored three times in that sixth inning. Young dropped a fly ball in left center which was generously scored a double for Stanton. Two batters later, Martin Prado hit a sinking liner that got under the glove of a diving Zoilo Almonte that highlighted scored two and put the Marlins ahead for good.
Of note: This is Atlanta’s only overnight trip of the Spring, as they suit up at Roger Dean Stadium again on Saturday to face the Cardinals… Former Braves right fielder Jason Heyward is likely to face his old team for the first time since being traded to St. Louis over the winter… Catcher Christian Bethancourt did not make the trip. He also missed Thursday’s game with flu-like symptoms. He remains day-to-day… Atlanta is having Julio Teheran and Alex Wood take their scheduled turns in minor league games, that also according to David O’Brien of the AJC. The idea behind it was to give both Wandy Rodriguez and Eric Stults a chance to pitch in big league action as they try to secure a spot (or spots) in the rotation. Teheran made his start on Friday and Wood is scheduled to throw on Saturday.
Up Next: Split Squad— Saturday, March 21.
Braves @ Cardinals at 1:05 PM
RHP Chien-Ming Wang vs. RHP Adam Wainwright
Braves vs. Nationals at 1:05 PM
LHP Eric Stults vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann
Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.