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Sunday 26th Mar 2017

So goes the old saying. Josh Johnson proved that again on Saturday afternoon as the ace of the Miami Marlins made his second start of the spring, which also was his second outing against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Due of the limited number of teams within a two-hour area, and the fact the two clubs share a spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida, the Marlins and Cardinals are frequent March combatants.

On Saturday, Johnson handled the defending World Champs a second time. Though he was not efficient with his pitches, he wasn’t missing badly. Johnson went on to throw 52 pitches in total as Lance Berkman (walk) and David Freese (strikeout) drove him to full counts in the first inning. Johnson threw mainly fastballs, topping out at 95 mph.

A young player to watch this spring, Tyler Greene, worked a walk against JJ in the second inning and promptly swiped second base. He was also picked off later in the game and thrown out. Still, if the former first-rounder wins the starting second base job, he would be a very nice source of cheap steals. Remember that Tony La Russa’s station-to-station game is gone.

Second baseman Omar Infante is off to a hot start in early spring action. His .500 average includes taking Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse deep in the home first. A key for Lohse, who is in a contract year, is continued good health. The veteran put together a quietly productive 2011.

Johnson left after 2 1/3 innings when he gave up his first hit and neared his pitch count target of 55. He yielded no runs on two walks and collected three strikeouts. 32 of his 52 pitches went for strikes.

New Marlins closer Heath Bell pitched the fourth, looking sharp with both his fastball and breaking pitches. Bell rung up both Freese and hit-machine minor leaguer Matt Adams.

Speaking of Adams, it was a typical day for the big first baseman with a pair of strikeouts and a double in his first three at-bats. Despite seven RBI in early spring action, including a grand slam and a bases loaded triple, expect Adams to open in Triple-A and compete to replace Berkman in 2013.

Speaking of triples, the most exciting play in baseball, there were two on Saturday as well. Third baseman Donnie Murphy had one, stroking a ball hard during the fourth, but was stranded. Murphy, who is competing for a utility job, played for Hanley Ramirez on Saturday.

With the score 1-0 Marlins in the top of the fifth. the Cardinals put a runner on third base. Then heavy rain and a very unusual spring training delay of one hour, 49 minutes ensued.

The first batter when the game resumed, Cardinals Rule 5 outfielder Erik Komatsu, blasted his own triple over the centerfielder’s head to tie the game. The former Brewers and Nationals prospect has an outside chance of making his new team’s roster.

Jeff Dominguez’ days as a top project have passed, but he still slammed a one-hopper off the right-field wall for an RBI double. Dominguez scored on an RBI single from John Buck that set the final score of 3-1.

Johnson probably didn’t want to show the Cardinals too much as he will likely be facing them again on the opening day of the new Marlins Park on April 4. More familiarity and additional contempt will likely be shown.

 

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com and in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

Comments   

0 #2 Brian Walton 2012-03-11 22:41
There is a decent chance Komatsu remains around - at least until Allen Craig is ready. In my very limited exposure to him, he looks good offensively, but seems to have a below average arm.
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0 #1 Lawr Michaels 2012-03-11 14:45
i really like komatsu as a sleeper brian. you think there is a chance the cards return him or deal so he need not stay on the 25-man?
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