(BaseballStL) -- Friday's Grapefruit League opener between the Cardinals and Marlins will be among the best pitching matchups you'll see all spring training.
Miami will throw 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez. The Redbirds will send out dynamic righty Carlos Martinez, who's in competition with incumbent Joe Kelly for the final spot in the starting rotation.
Each outing, each inning - heck each pitch - will be scrutinized by the coaches and front office in helping determine who gets the starting job.
That's why the Cards look for a good appearance from Martinez on Friday.
"Hopefully just a continuation of what we've seen out here live (against hitters)," manager Mike Matheny said. "The ball is exploding out of his hand. He just has a really good presence. You watch him finish his pitching and he's not even breathing hard. It's pretty amazing with the stuff that's being displayed."
Sometimes what is seen from afar doesn't quite do justice to what's actually happening, too.
"We talked about this the other day, the feedback you get from the hitters (who face him) and it's pretty universal every time (Martinez) walks off the mound and (the hitters) walk out of the cage that it's a 'wow'," Matheny said.
If the young righty continues to wow, he could tighten the race for the final couple rotation spots.