April 2010

And the Fish take the Series…

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes.com. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.

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Behind great starting pitching, perfect innings from the bullpen, a couple of great defensive plays from Coghlan, and Dan Uggla‘s bat, theMarlins took the rubber match of the series Sunday at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Cole Hamels had a great afternoon on the mound. He went 8 1/3 innings for the Phillies and allowed just two runs on eight hits, and struck out seven.

Dan Uggla was the only Fish that gave Hamels trouble, as he hit a solo homer in the top of the second inning to give the Marlins 1-0 lead.

And a 1-0 lead was all Nate Robertson would need.

After his last start for the Marlins left a lot to be desired, Nate tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Phillies. He gave up only four hits to the their loaded lineup, and pitched his way out of trouble a few times to turn over a 1-0 lead to the bullpen.

Nate ran into trouble in the bottom of the second when he walked three to load the bases. With two out, Cole Hamels came to bat and hit a long fly ball to left field, and Chris Coghlan–already banged up from a previous defensive gem–ran into the wall to make a great catch to end the inning.

Robertson got the first out of the seventh, but with two on, the Hopper was called on to record the last two outs of the inning. Hop got Polanco and Utley to fly out to right field to end the threat, and with the help of a second great defensive play from Coghlan, the Hopper pitched a perfect eighth inning. 

Uggla added an insurance run off of Hamels in the ninth when he doubled in Cantu to make it 2-0, and Leo Nunez closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to log his third save of the season.

The Marlins took the series from the reigning National League champions, and end the series in Philadelphia 8-5, having won two games of each of the four series they’ve played so far this season.

Fish Beat Grandfather Moyer

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes.com. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.

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The Marlins and Phillies faced off for game two of their series at a very chilly Citizen’s Bank Park Saturday, and like Friday, the first inning wound up being the deciding factor. This time, though, it was advantage: Marlins.

With Jamie “Freaking” Moyer on the mound, the Fish put up a five-spot in the first inning. Cantu started up a brand new RBI streak when he singled in Maybin, Uggla drove in a run with a single of his own, and Ronny Paulino delivered the big blow in the inning with a three-run homer to left field.

It seemed the Fish had solved Grandpa Moyer, who has traditionally owned them on the mound, but he settled in after the first, and didn’t allow another run through six innings.

The story of the game, though, was Ricky Nolasco, who was about as “on” as it gets. Ricky pitched his fourth career complete game with 109 pitches and allowed just 5 hits to the Phillies, and very nearly threw a shutout. He carried it all the way to the second out in the ninth inning, when Jayson Werth hit a home run to put the Phillies first and only run on the board.

The Phillies didn’t have a hit against Ricky until two outs in the bottom of the fourth when Chase Utley singled. Ricky ran into a little trouble in the sixth when he gave up a single to Bryan Schneider and walked Victorino and Utley to load the bases for Ryan Howard. But Howard grounded to first and Ricky escaped the inning with his shut-out intact.

Ricky even worked the bat a little in the game, with a two-out hit against Moyer in the fourth.

Behind Ricky No-No’s fantastic start, the Marlins split the series with the Philths, and have a chance at the win in Sunday’s finale.

Not much in life feels quite as good beating the Phillies.

Fish Fall Short of Philths

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes.com. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.

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So close.

Jorge Cantu had the perfect opportunity to extend his RBI streak another game, and the Marlins very nearly snatched victory from the jaws of an ugly defeat on a rainy night at Citizen’s Bank Park. But in the end–no cigar.

The Marlins headed into Philly riding a two game win streak, and were met with the perfect antidote to victory:Roy Halladay.

Well, on second thought, the antidote to victory may have been Anibal Sanchez, who threw 35 pitches in a disaster of a first inning. Anibal walked three and gave up three RBI singles to put the Phillies up 3-0 in their first at-bat. In the second, Placido Polanco homered off of Sanchez to give the Phillies a four-run lead, and by the fifth inning, the Marlins were in a 5-0 hole.

While Sanchez struggled, Halladay made quick work of the Fish. He allowed just two runs on eight hits in eight innings of work. In the top of the fourth, Dan Uggla hit a solo shot to left, and the Marlins added another run against Halladay in the seventh inning on an RBI double from Hanley Ramirez.

Jorge Cantu had no luck against Halladay in his attempt to add to his Major League record of 10 straight games with an RBI to open a season. Jorge was 1 for 4 with a single against the Phillies ace, and didn’t drive in a run. Cantu was the last batter Halladay faced in the game, and he flied out to right field to end the inning, and seemingly his RBI streak.

Anibal settled down after the third inning and held the Phillies scoreless through the sixth. He left the game after allowing five runs on eight hits and four walks before the Marlins went to the bullpen.

Dan Meyer‘s struggles on the mound continued in the seventh inning when he gave up three runs without recording an out. Chase Utley hit a home run to lead off the inning, and Jayson Werth and Juan Castro both drove in runs to put the Phillies up 8-2.

Leroux made his second relief appearance for the Marlins. Chris recorded the three outs that had eluded Dan Meyer, and tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

The Fish mercilessly toyed with our emotions in ninth when they sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs to pull within two of the Phillies.Then, it was nearly poetic when Cantu came to bat with two on and two out in the top of the ninth. Cantu, who had recorded the last out of the eighth inning, was given yet another shot at extending his RBI streak.

Unfortunately both Jorge’s and the Marlins’ luck ran out there. Cantu grounded out to end the game as well as his RBI streak, and the Fish dropped game one of their road trip to the reigning National League champs.

Fish Wrap – Marlins 10, Reds 2

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.

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The Marlins have definitely shown us their ability to battle* their way to wins so far this season, but in their series finale against the Reds Thursday, they finally took a break from the dramatics and made it look easy. (At least much easier than trying to identify players at the park, as everyone from Hanley to the ball boys donned number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.)

It started with good pitching as fans saw glimpses of the Josh Johnson of old on the mound. JJ dominated Cincinnati through six innings, giving up only one run on five hits and striking out ten.

While Josh held the Reds to one run, the Marlins offense was on fire against Aaron Harang. They scattered four runs over the first four innings, and chased Harang from the game when they added another five runs in the fifth.

Cody Ross was 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles and three RBI. Cameron Maybin was 3-for-4, and hit his first home run of the season in the fourth inning. Dan Uggla and John Baker each had a pair of RBI, and Jorge drove in a run on a double in the fifth inning. With that hit, Cantu extended his record-breaking RBI streak to ten games to start the season, and 14 games dating back to the end of 2009.

Clay Hensley tossed two scoreless innings in relief of JJ, and Chris Leroux made his first appearance of the season for the Marlins in the ninth. He gave up triple to Gomes and allowed a run in his debut, but that was all for the Reds.

After dropping the first two games in miserable fashion, the Fish split the series, and are headed to Philly with a little win streak in the making.

* “battle” is a registered trademark of Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, and is used with permission.

You Can’t Spell Badenhop Without… SV?

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.

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After back-to-back extra-innings losses to the Reds, the Marlins and Homer Bailey and Cincinnati to try and right the ship.

And, well, consider the ship righted. At least for the day. Good pitching, good defense, record-breaking RBI, a near cycle, and the Hopper’s first career save were all it took to end the Marlins two-game losing streak. Too bad it wasn’t televised, and hardly anybody got to see it. But, you know, there was a very good poker game on FSFL, so…

The Fish didn’t have much trouble with Bailey. They got off to a quick start when Baker doubled to score Maybin and put the Marlins on the board in the first, and added another run in the second inning when Volstad helped out his own cause with a single that scored Gaby Sanchez from third.

Brett Carroll was activated from the DL Wednesday and made his season debut in left field. Cogz was banged up from his wild catch on Tuesday, and had the night off, and let’s just say Brett made up for lost time. After a double in his first at bat, he launched a solo home run in the fourth inning, and finished the night a triple short of the cycle. Welcome back, BC.

All eyes were on Jorge Cantu as he attempted to extend his RBI streak to nine games, and set a new Major League record. After he grounded into a double play and struck out in his first two at-bats, Jorge launched a ball to deep left for a home run in the bottom of the fifth. With that RBI, Jorge has now driven in a run in all nine games to start the season. He’s the first player to do so since the RBI became an official stat in 1920. (Hip Hip!…)

The Marlins added on in the sixth with another RBI from John Baker, and Homer Bailey’s night was done after giving up five runs on eight hits through 5 1/3 innings. 

Volstad went a little deeper into the game and had a 5-1 lead with two out in the seventh inning. Then, on his last pitch of the game, Vols served up a 2-run home run to Paul Janish to bring the Reds within two. Chris left the game after 6 2/3 innings, having allowed three runs on five hits, and 5 Ks. 

As a grande finale to a great game, it was Burke Badenhop who was called on to close. Hopper tossed two perfect innings, and struck out Laynce Nix looking to end the game for his first career save. 

Let’s have another one like that Thursday, shall we?

Fish Come From Behind, Drop It In Extras

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.

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Dear Florida Marlins,

If you are going to end up losing the game anyway, please stop forcing extra innings and getting our hopes up, only to dash them in the end. Thanks.

XOXO,

HLD&S

Game-tying home runs, web gems, and history-making hits weren’t enough to put the Fish in the win column. For the second night in a row, the Marlins were able to come back, only to end up losing in extra innings.

Nate Robertson made the start for Florida, and went just five innings, allowing six runs on five hits.

In the second inning Nate gave up a three-run homer to Johnny Gomes, and very nearly followed that up with another when Jay Bruce hit a long line drive to right that was originally ruled a home run. The call was overturned, but then with two out in the fourth, the long ball struck again. Nate gave up another three-run shot to Ryan Hanigan to put the Marlins in a 5-run hole. In all fairness to Robertson, those three runs were unearned, the result of Cantu’s misplay of a grounder for the Marlins 12th (and Major League-leading) error of the season.

The Marlins broke through against Bronson Arroyo in the fifth inning with RBI from Mike LambCameron MaybinHanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu to bring the Fish within a run. With his RBI single, Jorge became just the second player in history, and first since 1921, to have at least one hit and one RBI in the first 8 games of the season.

The Reds scored another two runs in the top of the eighth off of Jose Veras, but in the bottom of the inning, the Marlins answered back against rookie reliever Logan OndrusekCody Ross walked up to bat to the usual chants of “Cody! Cody! Cody!” from the home crowd, and smashed a three-run home run to tie the game at 8.

Both bullpens held the score for two innings, but the Marlins luck ran out in the 11th. Dan Meyer gave up a single to Hanigan and walked Stubbs. Then with one out, Chris Coghlan further elevated the hopes of Fish fans when he showed off in left field, making a spectacular play and robbing Orlando Cabrera of a few RBI.

But it wasn’t enough to prevent the inevitable. After Coghlan’s web gem, Dan Meyer gave up the game-winning RBI single to Joey Votto. Francisco Cordero recorded another save, and the Fish dropped their second extra-inning affair in two days.

Sigh.

Fish Wrap – Marlins 5, Reds 6

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.

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It was the long ball and a dude named Scott Rolen that did the Marlins in.

The Fish opened a four-game set with the Reds at Sun Life Stadium Monday night, and continued their new trend of dropping the first game of every series. Ricky Nolasco was on the hill for Florida and Johnny Cueto made the start for Cincinnati.

The Reds grabbed a 2-run lead in the second when Scott Rolen hit his first home run of the game (it’s never a good sign when they have to be numbered), and Laynce Nix added an RBI single.

In the bottom of the inning, Cueto hit Dan Uggla and loaded the bases on singles to John Baker and Cody Ross. Gaby Sanchez grounded into a double play to score one run, but that’s all the Marlins could manage to extract from a bases loaded, no out situation.

Things went downhill a bit for Cueto in the bottom of the third. Maybin singled and Hanley walked before Jorge Cantu continued his campaign to have RBI in every game this season, and doubled to drive them both in. With Uggla at bat, Cueto balked to advance Jorge to third, and Uggs doubled to drive in the fourth run of the game.

Ricky must not have been feeling the whole prosperity thing the Fish had going for him, because the very next inning he gave up home run #2 to Scott Rolen. In the sixth, Ricky served up his third long ball of the game, a two-run shot to Orlando Cabrera to give the Reds a 5-4 lead.

Cueto was finished after five innings, which was good news for the Marlins, considering the Reds bullpen has stunk even worse than theirs so far this season. Unfortunately, they didn’t stink enough.

With two on in the seventh, Ronnie Paulino pinch hit for John Baker and hit an RBI single to tie the game.

After Ricky gave up five runs in six innings, the Marlins bullpen took over and managed to hold the score for three innings for the second game in a row. Tim Wood made three quick outs in the seventh, Clay Hensley pitched out of a jam in the eighth, and Leo Nunez worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

With one out in the bottom of the inning, the Fish had a good chance to walk off. They loaded the bases, but Paulino struck out and Cody grounded out to push the game into extras.

After proving to be the most valuable arm out of the ‘pen through the first week of the season, it was The Hopper who ended the bullpen’s scoreless inning streak. He issued his first walk of the season to Joey Votto and gave up his first run–an RBI single to none other than the pesky Scott Rolen to put the Reds in the back in the lead.

This time, they held on. The Fish went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the tenth, and dropped game one to the Reds.

Can-TOO Win Another One for the Fish…

GameFish is now a regular blogger for Marlins fan blog FishStripes. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 season there.

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For the second day in a row, Jorge Cantu was the Marlins difference between a win and a loss.

Does anyone want to stop right here and imagine what the Marlins record would look like if Cantu weren’t in the lineup? Me either.

Anibal Sanchez made his first start of the season Sunday in the series finale with the Dodgers. He lasted six innings against LA, and gave up five runs (4 earned) with a little help from the Marlins less-than-s
tellar defense.

In the top of the fourth, Anibal ran into trouble. He gave up three straight singles, the last of which skipped by Maybin in center field and allowed Belliard to take third base. Anibal followed up Maybin’s error with an RBI triple to Reed Johnson, who also ended up scoring on a squeeze play to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

Cody Ross committed the Marlins second error of the game, and tenth of the young season, when he dropped a fly ball in right, allowing a run to score.

But the sloppy defense and 5 Dodger runs weren’t the bad news for the Marlins, it was Charlie Haeger and his frikkin’ knuckleball. Haeger baffled Florida’s bats through six innings, striking out a career high 12, and allowing just three hits to the Fish. Through the first three innings, Anibal Sanchez was the only Marlin to manage a hit off of Haeger, when he singled on a line drive to center field.

In the fourth inning, though, Jorge Cantu decided he’d had enough of Haeger and his knuckleball, and launched one of them into the center field seats. The three-run shot made it six straight games that Jorge has had an RBI. 

But he wasn’t finished yet. An RBI single from Cody Ross brought the Marlins within a run in the sixth, and Jorge followed in the seventh with a two-run double. Cantu’s five RBI matched his career high, and put the Fish in the lead, 6-5. 

Even after Cantu’s heroics, a win seemed unlikely as the bullpen took over for Sanchez, with only a teensy little one-run lead to work with. But, in an earth-shattering turn of events, two relievers not named Burke Badenhopmanaged to pitch scoreless innings. Clay Hensley didn’t allow a run in the seventh and eighth, and Leo Nunezcame in to close things down in the ninth.

Of course, it just wouldn’t have been a Marlins game, or an inning pitched by Nunez, if things didn’t get a little interesting, so Leo walked the leadoff batter and gave up a single to put runners at the corners before he got the final out of the game.

Despite bullpen drama and some really crummy defense since opening Day, the Marlins have taken their first two series of the season.

Hip-Hip Jorge!

Marlins 6, Dodgers 5

SUPER Saturday

GameFish is now a regular blogger for Marlins fan blog FishStripes. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 season there.

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What a crazy night at Sun Life Stadium.

It was the first Super Saturday of the season, and the Marlins sent their ace Josh Johnson to the mound to make quick work of that annoying 9-inning thingy that fans are forced to sit through before they can enjoy the true meaning of baseball, which–as all purists know–is fireworks and a Nelly concert.

JJ was on the mound vs. Vicente Padilla, and Josh didn’t look particularly ace-like in his second start of the season. He tossed 93 pitches through five innings, and gave up three runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out seven. Josh seemed to run into trouble repeatedly, and it finally caught up with him in the fourth when theDodgers put up three runs on an RBI single from Matt Kemp, a sacrifice from Manny Ramirez and an RBI double from Casey Blake.

The Fish got on the board in the first when Hanley doubled down the left field line to score Maybin, who had singled in his first at-bat. They didn’t accomplish much more against Padilla until the fourth inning, when Gaby Sanchez put the Marlins back in business with his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to give the Fish a 4-3 lead.

LA’s bullpen took over for Padilla with one out in the fifth, and for a while made Fish fans just a little jealous of the fans wearing Dodger blue. Jeff WeaverRamon Ortiz and Ramon Troncoso held the Fish scoreless through the eighth. Outs? Holds? Scoreless innings? We didn’t think anyone but the Hopper could make those happen.

JJ left the game after the fifth with a one-run lead and in line for the win, though nobody sane expected him to actually end up with it, considering our bullpen so far this season. If anybody could make it happen, though, it was Burke Badenhop, and the Marlins held onto
their lead as Burke tossed two scoreless innings in relief.

Unfortunately, there is only one Hopper, and he can’t pitch every inning (though I have written several strongly-worded letters to Fredi this week, suggesting that very thing), so it was time for the obligatory bullpen melt-down.

Tim Wood gave up a hit and a walk to open the eighth inning. Dan Meyer replaced him and gave up a two-run single to Andre Ethier that gave the Dodgers the lead, and Veras rounded out the sucktitude when he gave up a long home run to Kemp in the top of the ninth to put the Dodgers up 6-4.

But the Marlins weren’t quite ready to admit defeat. I mean, it was Super Saturday after all.

The Fish staged a comeback in the bottom of the ninth when Gaby Sanchez singled off of Troncoso to open the inning. Then Sherrill came into the game for LA and hit Wes Helms with a pitch and walked Chris Coghlan to load the bases. Ronny Paulino pinch hit for Cameron Maybin and hit a 2-run double to tie up the game. 

In a move he may now regret, Sherrill walked Hanley intentionally to pitch to Jorge Cantu. The Dodgers clearly hadn’t heard about that whole get-an-rbi-in-every-game-of-the-season thing that Jorge’s got going right now, but he happily let them in on it. With a sac fly to center that scored Coghlan, Cantu made it five straight games with an RBI, and the Marlins won their very first Super Saturday game in walk-off fashion.

I think Jorge summed it up best in a post-game interview when he said “we like a little drama.”

So it would seem.

Marlins 7, Dodgers 6

Marlins 2010 Home Opener

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. You can read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.

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It was a promising night for the Marlins Friday as they opened their first home series of the season at Sun Life Stadium in front of 40,666 fans–the largest home opener since 2005.

Volstad was on and dealing through six innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk to the Dodgers, and at one point retired 11 in a row. With Chris on his game, it seemed that the most abysmal aspect of the evening might prove to be Scott Stapp butchering the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.

Of course, that was before the late-inning sloppy defense and shaky bullpen made their scheduled appearance.

Not many people had expected a pitchers duel going into the game, but Hiroki Kuroda was dealing as well, and put on a nice show through eight innings. He gave up just five hits and a walk, and struck out seven. The lone run Kuroda allowed came courtesy of Jorge Cantu, who has had an RBI in all four games the Marlins have played this season. In the bottom of the sixth, Cantu singled to score Cameron Maybin and give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

Vols ran into some trouble in the seventh when Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake both doubled to tie the game. Blake DeWitt followed with a single that put the Dodgers in the lead, and with one out, Chris handed the ball over to the bullpen.

Unfortunately, Hopper was  not available.

Clay Hensley came on in relief of Chris, and it seemed as though things picked up right where they left off on Wednesday night. Hensley promptly loaded the bases, and Hanley committed a costly error when he fielded a ground ball from Reed Johnson and tried to get the force out at second. He ended up throwing the ball into right field instead, which allowed two runs to score and gave the Dodgers a three-run lead.

Next up out of the pen was Jose Veras. He miraculously escaped the eighth without giving up a run, but did commit the Marlins second error in as many innings when he lobbed the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt at second base. In the ninth, Veras walked one and gave up a double before he was lifted from the game.

When Renyel Pinto came out of the bullpen, he was met with a chorus of boos from Fish fans who clearly weren’t ready to forget Wednesday’s meltdown in New York. In response, Pinto served up a double to James Loney, and (naturally) both of his inherited runners scored. Manny Ramirez singled on a pop-up that Gaby couldn’t get to, and put the Dodgers up 7-1 before the inning was over.

The Marlins did try to stage a bit of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Wes Helms had a 2-run pinch hit double–his 45th pinch hit with the Marlins–which established a new franchise record. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. 

Jonathan Broxton finished off the Fish, striking out Chris Coghlan and Cameron Maybin to end the game, and the Marlins dropped their home opener. 

If games only lasted six innings, the Fish might have a perfect record right now.

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