May 2009

When I Snap My Fingers, You Will Wake Up and Stop Sucking…

bonerfacehypnotism.jpgEmilio Bonifacio, you are getting verrrrrrrry sleeeeepy. You are reverting back to the first week of the 2009 season, when it looked as though you sort of knew how to play baseball. You are remembering how to hit the ball– somewhere other than into the glove of a waiting fielder. You are bunting for base hits. You are batting .485 with an OBP of .899 (give or take). You are stealing multiple bases per game. You are not getting picked off of said bases due to real bad base running. You are not missing squeeze signs or failing to throw out runners with the speed of one-legged turtles. You are not striking out repeatedly. You are not having your third oh-fer in a row. You are not sucking. I repeat, you are not sucking. *snap*

Seeing Bonifacio’s name once again at the top of tonight’s lineup against the Mets, and considering how he’s been playing, it would seem that perhaps my hypnotic efforts should be directed elsewhere. Seriously, Marlins. NEXT IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(And now that I have publicly complained about Bones, we can expect him to go 4-for-4 with several stolen bases and maybe a home run tonight at Citi Field. You’re welcome, Fish fans.) 

You Can’t Spell Badenhop without B A

ToldYouSo.jpgWe at HLD&S simply hate to say I told you so.

Oh, who are we kidding? We LOVE to say I told you so! Especially considering the fact that we get the opportunity so infrequently, seeing as we’re wrong about 98.87% of the time. 
A few thoughts on last night’s game:
1) Emilio Bonifacio, good job going 0-for-5, and complementing your stellar offensive efforts by missing that squeeze sign. Here’s the deal. Since the Marlins seem pretty much hell-bent on leaving you in the lineup majors, I am going to need for you to sustain an injury of some kind, please. Thanks. 
2) Hey Nunez and Lindstrom, let’s try a teensy bit harder to give me a heart attack next time, K?
3) Badenhop was better than Graham Taylor, John Kornoka or Hayden Penn in any one of their six starts. Not only did The Hopper hold the Phillies to just one run, he went five innings, which was more than the Fish were expecting of him. Do I think Hop is the next Cy Young? No. Do I like him out of the bullpen? Yes. But given the circumstances (starters dropping like flies to the DL and/or minors), I think Badenhop should have been one of the Marlins first choices for a replacement. And that is all. (For now. Obviously, I will continue to beat this deceased horse until its body has decomposed and bones have turned to dust. But I’ll take, like, a small break for now.)
Is it just me, or have the Marlins won three of their last four? 

Hope, You’re Up.

hopper.JPG
HLD&S has long championed the cause of Burke H. Badenhop for starting rotation, and at last the Marlins middle reliever will get a go at it. 
Nothing says “we believe in you, Burke” like waiting until you’ve used every other possible option before giving him a chance.
With this move it has become clear that the Marlins do indeed read HLD&S before making decisions, and are finally taking our advice, giving Hopper the nod in the rubber match today against Philadelphia. OK, they’re not as much taking our advice as they’re sighing in resignation, having exhausted every other possibility but converting Matt Lindstrom or a batting helmet to starter, and are throwing up their hands in an “ok, fine, you can start” sort of manner. But we’ll take it.
While some may view Badenhop as the team’s last resort, I prefer to view Burke in more of a “saving the best for last” kind of light. (Come on, people. Before you scoff, keep in mind that being the best amongst Taylor, Koronka and Penn is not too tall an order).
Now, when HLD&S champions the cause of a player, what typically happens is that he proceeds to suck real bad, having six or more of the worst appearances of his entire life. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though, for a nice, quality five innings from The Hopper. I figure if he can give up fewer than 8 runs in two innings, he’s already doing better than our “number one” starter, so there’s that.
A couple things to look for from Badenhop today as he faces the Philths:
1) some ground ball outs
2) a super neat nickname
3) actual hopping on the mound to complement said nickname
4) the ability to lay down a bunt
5) a complete game shut out (ok, sorry. got a little carried away there.)
You’re up, Hopper. Make us look smart, please.

Dost Mine Eyes Deceive Me?

wesley.jpgIt felt a little surreal last night watching the Marlins take on the Phillies to open their series at Citizen’s Bank Park. That was partly because Bud Selig decided it would be a pretty neat idea to make the Fish (and the rest of the league) wear solid red caps in honor of Memorial Day. To the uninformed observer, it looked like the Fish had lost their own hats somewhere between Miami and Philly, and had to borrow some extras from the home team. 

Things only got more surreal from there. 

For starters, the Marlins got hits and scored runs and stuff… off of the big, bad, scary old, decrepit, Marlin-killer Jamie Moyer, no less. The lead-off man actually spent some time on base. The team got a lead–and kept it! Chris Volstad had a quality outing–and miraculously earned the W. For the first time in weeks, the Marlins won back-to-back games! 
Um, what?

Who are you guys, and what have you done with my team? (whatever you did, I hope you hid the evidence well, because we don’t want them back.) 

The best part of the night was Wesley Helms being greeted by a chorus of boos from Philths fans, to which he promptly responded, “Oh yeah? You wanna boo me, do ya? Well here, then. Enjoy this home run, a three-for-five night and these four RBIs. Boo-yah.” 
Despite the Fish victory, I was seeing red last night for most of the game– and I’m not just referring to the fabric of those putrid hats the Marlins were forced to wear. Before you accuse me of being unpatriotic, let me say that I completely support the idea of paying homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. But since when does the solid color red equal patriotism, hmmm? How about next Memorial Day we try blue caps with 50 embroidered stars? Because the last thing a solid red cap makes me feel–especially as we take on the Phillies in Philadelphia–is patriotic. Or memorial…ish. 
5-3, Marlins

I’ll take “microchance” for $400, please.

Answer: Hitting the jackpot, death by terrorist, Marlins win. 

marlins jeopardy.jpg

So close, JJ! But actually, what we were looking for is “events with a probability of 0.000001.” 
If I were Josh Johnson, I would chain myself to the mound after the seventh inning and dare Fredi to try and lift me from the game. That, or use my solid 6’7″ frame to rough up the guy who decides to come out and screw with my lead. Yesterday’s victim (were Josh a little less even-keeled) would have been Leo Nunez, who came in after seven solid innings from JJ and gave up a solo shot to Jason Bartlett, tying the score. 
I guess the guys wanted to squeeze as much drama as possible out of the homestand’s finale to make up for the fact that we had so little to cheer about over the last ten games, so on to extra innings they went. In the end it was Ross Gload who played hero to all us loss-weary fans. Gload, who scored the first run of the game, drove in the last as well, lining a walk-off single in the bottom of the eleventh, practically reducing grown men to tears of joy and relief. The Marlins avoid a sweep, and their fifth straight loss. And I avoid the need to hurl myself from a tall building.
Well, we’ve finally won, so I guess that means it’s time to get to work on another five or six-game skid. (Sorry, optimism just isn’t on the menu today, especially not as the Marlins get set to face Grandpa Moyer and the Philthies.)
5-4, Marlins.

Happy Birthday to You.

reynolds cake.jpgHappy (belated) birthday, Andrew Miller! Thanks for going 7 innings strong against the Diamondbacks last night on your big day. That was swell. 

Gee, I hope you enjoyed the bullpen’s gift to you– Cristhian Martinez, who came into the game and erased all of the good you did on one lousy pitch to Mark Reynolds. Nothing says “happy birthday” quite like a blown save. (It was nice to see your teammates all pitch in with sixteen strikeouts, too. I’m sure that was on the top of your birthday wish list as well.) 
The icing on the cake? The Marlins just dropped three of four to a team with one of the worst records in baseball, and sink four games under .500.
@#$%!!!!!!
&#%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
$@%#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This losing business is getting really, really old.
4-3, Diamondbacks.
 

You Can’t Spell Burke Heinrich Badenhop without BURNED PEN

burn notice.jpg

I guess our boys decided that two games in one night wasn’t quite exhausting enough, so they opted to go for extras yesterday in game two of the doubleheader against Arizona. Around the tenth inning I gave up trying to force my eyelids to stay open, and woke up this morning half expecting the game to still be going on. Instead, I was greeted with news of the Marlins’ the 13-inning loss to the D-Backs. Sweet.
Hayden Penn made his first start for the Fish (and first since 2006) and did his best John Koronka impersonation, lasting just 2 2/3 innings and giving up a 4-0 lead. Enter The Hopper. Badenhop pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Penn, contributed his first major league RBI on a squeeze bunt, and handed over a 3-run lead with one out in the seventh. One can never get too excited about a lead that is less than 17 runs, though– not when Renyel Pinto is just a call to the bullpen away… Enter Renyel, exit ball from park, hello tie game. 
Two blown saves from Pinto in two days. That is just really good stuff.
Some other things happened after that, I think, but to be honest the fires of infuriation have incinerated it all from my memory. I don’t know if it was caused by our criminally overworked bullpen being trotted out one by one as lambs to the slaughter, our inability to do anything but ground into double plays in bases-loaded, no out situations, or Justin Upton and his insistence on hitting home runs in every at-bat. But I do know that the game lasted almost five hours, and that the Marlins were forced to use everything that wasn’t nailed to the bullpen to pitch in the 13-inning affair. 
Four relievers that had already put in a night’s work during game one had to be called on once again in the second game of the night, which puts us in an incredibly awesome situation this evening as Andrew Miller takes the mound. You know, seeing as he normally doesn’t like to toss more than five innings, and our relievers threw about 80 pitches apiece yesterday.
Memo to Miller: Cody Ross is the only arm that’s available until Memorial Day. I hope that fact is enough to scare a quality start out of you. we need a complete game, Andrew. But we’ll settle for 7+ innings. Pretty please. (And happy birthday.)
EDIT: from Juan Rodriguez via Twitter: Marlins recall LHP David Davidson, select RHP Cristhian Martinez, option OF Alejandro De Aza, DL Alfredo Amezaga.

You are all doing just a real fine job.

positive.jpg

I’m going to try something new on this here blog. It’s a little something I like to call positive reinforcement. (Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it before. It’s a relatively new concept.) I guess I could spend the next 80 paragraphs berating the Marlins for yesterday’s loss to the D-backs–their seventh loss in the last eight games–but that isn’t exactly thinking outside the box for HLD&S. And since desperate times call for a raiding of grandma’s prescription drug stash desperate measures… positivity, here I come.

*ahem*
You are all doing just a real fine job. Especially you, Bonifacio. I know you had an 0-for-4 night and committed that error that helped Arizona put up a five spot in the seventh which led to them winning and us losing, but hey! Look at you go with that walk there. That was some fine effort to draw that base on balls. Good job little buddy.
Uggs, you had an RBI hit last night! That’s almost as rare as seeing a shooting star or finding a four-leaf clover these days! Plus, I read in a very reputable baseball publication recently that .192 is the new .300 (and that striking out with runners in scoring position and only one out is the new RBI hit or sacrifice).  
Hermida, you might be feeling down after an 0-for-4 night in which you killed our one hope of a rally, but the good news is, you were NUMBER ONE on the team at leaving men on base! Better than anybody else at stranding runners! Go you.
And Renyel, sure you came into the game and blew the lead for Josh Johnson and the Marlins by pitching real bad not pitching to the fullest of your highly impressive ability, but, uh…………………………………………………………………………………………………….  …………………………………….. it didn’t rain at all while you were on the mound! 
Josh, Cody, Jorge and Hanley, it may seem your efforts last night were in vain, but it was nice to have a few things to cheer about before the inevitable. Thanks for those few heartwarming moments before our hopes of a victory were once again dashed.
As for me, I am no longer looking at this as a “rough patch.” I’m choosing to see it as a “strengthening of our team’s character” patch. Instead of focusing on the fact that the Fish are now three games under .500, I choose to rejoice that we’re 18 games above .000! Things could be worse. (But, you know, feel free to not let us experience that firsthand.)

No No-No!!!!!!!

cody no-no.jpg

Multiple NOs followed by exclamation marks are what you will typically hear me shouting during Marlins’ games these days, but thanks to a hyphen and a Cody Ross, yesterday the shouting took on an attitude of joy for a change.

First things first. 

I was full of confidence as John Koronka took the mound for Florida in the final game of their series with LA yesterday afternoon at Land Shark Stadium. Mostly I was thinking to myself, “gosh, it’s a good thing the Marlins don’t read this blog for advice, otherwise Burke Badenhop would be starting right now instead of this beastly lefty who will more than likely pitch real great today.”
I am shocked. Simply shocked things didn’t turn out that way.
On a day we needed our starter to go deep into the game, Koronka delivered a solid 2 2/3 innings. Yeah. The box score will tell you he earned only four of the six runs he allowed, but the HLD&Score will tell you that John actually earned every single run fair and square, thanks to his own awful fielding.
While Koronka worked on getting himself designated for assignment, Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw decided to get cute and toss a no-hitter through seven innings, making for just an extremely enjoyable afternoon overall for Fish fans.
Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning hitless and down 11-0, I consoled myself with the fact that the last time the Marlins were getting blown out this bad at home, we got to watch Cody Ross pitch an inning in relief. Maybe Cody would take the mound again and give us something to smile about as the Fish sank to fourth place in the NL East.
Well, he didn’t end up on the mound, but Cody did treat us to both of the only things we had to cheer about all game long. First, everybody’s favorite former rodeo clown busted up the no-hitter with a double to lead off the eighth inning. Then, just for effect, Cody added a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, solidifying his role as in-blowout entertainment. And the hot, angry, frustrated crowd goes wild.  
I think it was fitting that the former Dodger would be the one to dash Kershaw’s no-hit hopes (and geez, probably save the kid’s arm so he could, like, use it again sometime). 
12-5, Dodgers.
Oh, and by the way, Koronka has been designated for assignment. Seems the Marlins are suddenly keen on not calling up real bad bad pitchers simply because they are left-handed, and are instead flirting with the idea of starting [lowly right-handed dudes] Penn or Badenhop in the newly vacated spot in the rotation. Gosh, what a crazy idea I hadn’t thought of before. So crazy it just might work.

Welcome to Hell.

rapuano is the devil.jpgAnd what hell might I be referring to, you ask? Would it be the hell that involves the Fish dropping another five straight? The hell where our team is now two games under .500 after starting the season 11-1? The hell of Dan Uggla’s .182 BA and his present “automatic out” status that is greatly contributing to the Marlins’ inability to win ball games? The hell where even Jorge Can’tu? Or perhaps the hell of a rotation that will now feature Andrew Miller and John Koronka to compliment the all new Ricky YESlasco we’ve been enjoying this season? 

Well, no. Not any of the above. The hell of which I speak would be the seventh circle of hell also known as an umpiring crew which features Joe West and Ed Rapuano. Now, I am not typically an umpire-basher, having spent a little time in blue myself (I was god-awful. Thank you for asking). BUT there are a few exceptions to my support of baseball’s officiators. Their names are Joe West and Ed Rapuano.
The way I see it, umpires should be about as recognizable as the ladies in skimpy dresses who open briefcases on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Sure, you know they’re there, and they help move the game along, but it’s not like they’re the main attraction, and you definitely can’t tell them apart. When I know an umpires name and face like the back of my hand and am filled with a sense of dread upon seeing him, there is a problem. When the Marlins even-tempered skipper only gets tossed from games when the two of them are involved, there is a problem. When an umpire makes a call, then changes his mind because the almighty Joe Torre takes exception to it, well, you get the idea.
I won’t blame last night’s loss on Ed and Joe, seeing as the Marlins are getting pretty good at losing without help from blue. But I will say that last night was one of the worst excuses for officiating that I have seen in a long while. Seriously, the last time I can remember the umpiring being this bad was when… oh yeah. They were there for that game, too.
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