Originally posted on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 3/18/12

On Sunday the final score may have shown a loss for the Miami Marlins but what matters most is the stat line for Carlos Zambrano.   The St. Louis Cardinals away 4-2 winners with a late comeback after Zambrano exited.    The exceptional Spring continued for Big Z before that though as he struck out seven hitters to give him sixteen strikeouts in nine and a third innings pitched.

Zambrano is easily the biggest wild-card going into 2012 for the Marlins after a season he would like to forget.   There was a time that Zambrano was considered one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and right now, he looks a lot like that guy.     The veteran went four innings and allowed only one run while walking only one to go along with the aforementioned punch-outs.      In his last two starts, Zambrano has struck out twelve in only eight innings and looks to be relaxed and in good spirits on the mound.    Chad Gaudin pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two to continue his solid Spring.  Gaudin who is in camp as a non-roster invitee may have trouble making the team however due to a limited amount of roster spots up for grabs.   Despite the solid stats for the most part, Gaudin has walked give in seven and two third innings this Spring which is cause for concern.   Beau Jones pitched the seventh surrendering two hits but no runs.  Jones who is also a non-roster invitee will likely serve as minor league depth this season.    Rob Delaney rounded the pitching out giving up an eventual game winning three run homerun to David Freese.

The offense was quiet again for the Marlins in this game, something that has become the norm as of late.   Jose Reyes continued to struggle going 0-3 to drop his Grapefruit League average to .182.   Even Hanley Ramirez who has had a fantastic Spring was 0-3 in Sunday’s game.     In all, the Marlins picked up a total of four hits.  One each from Clint Sammons, Gaby Sanchez, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck.

On Monday the Marlins will face the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium.   Pitching for Miami will be Anibal Sanchez while Houston will send Kyle Weiland to the mound.

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