Results tagged ‘ Brendan Donnelly ’

Ask and you shall receive…

008101209_marlins_.JPGHLD&S would like to think that all the drama in Wednesday’s Marlins-Braves series finale was a response to Monday’s lament about making the last few games of the season a bit more thrilling than watching paint dry. But whether or not that was the case, the rubber match at Turner Field was one exciting game to witness. 

Despite the bats showing up for the second night in a row, the real show Wednesday was Ricky Nolasco. In his final start of 2009, Ricky pitched like a man possessed, striking out batter after batter after batter. 
At one point, Nolasco struck out the side in three consecutive innings (third, fourth and fifth), becoming just the fourth pitcher in history to do so. The nine straight K’s were also one short of the Major League record.   
Against Javier Vazquez, the Marlins provided some run support for the dealing Nolasco, and scored three times in the second inning. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla both hit RBI singles, and a wild pitch scored a run to give the Fish a 3-0 lead. Ross Gload went deep off of Vazquez in the fifth, hitting a two-run shot to put the Marlins up 5-0. 
The Braves finally got on the board against Ricky with two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. With two out, Garret Anderson singled and Yunel Escobar reached on an error by Hanley. Adam LaRoche drove in both runs with an RBI single, and erased the shutout of Atlanta. 
Ricky recorded his sixteenth strikeout of the game in the eight inning, and his night was done after 7 2/3 innings and 123 pitches. Ricky gave up four hits, two unearned runs, and recorded a career high 16 strikeouts in the start. The K-fest set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a game, and Ricky also plowed through his career high for strikeouts in a season, ending 2009 with 195.
As if Ricky’s display wasn’t excitement enough, the Marlins generously gave us a nail-biter of a ninth inning, where–to quote Nolasco in the understatement of the week–“it got a little interesting.” 
Leo Nunez walked Brian McCann to lead off the bottom of the ninth, a botched double play and error by Jorge Cantu advanced McCann to third base, and Yunel Escobar singled to drive in the run. With one out, Wes Helms committed the second error of the inning on a throw to first that ended up in the dirt and allowed Matt Diaz to reach. Omar Infante added a pinch hit RBI single to bring the Braves within a run.    
After the performance of a lifetime, Ricky Nolasco was getting dangerously close to a no-decision. Leo walked Nate McClouth to load the bases, and the call to the bullpen brought out veteran Brendan Donnelly. 
Donnelly’s very first pitch in the game got by Ronny Paulino, and Matt Diaz started for home. He retreated as Paulino got to the ball, but couldn’t get back to third before the catcher picked him off for the final out of the game.
With that out, Donnelly got his second save for the Fish, and Ricky Nolasco won his 13th game of the season.
While HLD&S is appreciative of the Marlins attempts at entertaining us in the last few days of 2009, we could do without the cardiac arrest. And seeing as all four of Atlanta’s runs were unearned, we could also do without the sloppy defense.
But now we’re just nit-picking.
Though it’s true that nothing can compare to the feeling of one’s own team making it to the post-season, essentially taking the chance away from a division rival is kinda fun too.

Super Saturday ends on a high note

default.jpgIt was the final Super Saturday of the season as the Fish and Mets faced off for game two of their series at Land Shark Stadium, and Marlins fans were looking to rid their mouths of the awful taste left from Friday night’s blown save.

The Marlins grabbed an early 2-0 lead off of John Maine in the second inning. Cantu and Uggla singled, and John Baker walked to load the bases. A ground ball from Brett Carroll scored the first run, and Uggla scored when Maine threw a wild pitch with Sean West at bat. 
West did well enough to earn his eighth win of the season with a quality night on the mound. He pitched five innings, giving up seven hits to the Mets. Fernando Tatis tied the game with a two-run homer in the fourth, and New York took the lead in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by David Wright. 
The Marlins answered back with a vengeance in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs off of Maine. Perhaps they were fired up when Cody Ross was hit on the hand by a pitch, and had to leave the game. Or maybe that had absolutely nothing to do with the offensive explosion that ensued. But either way, the bats suddenly came alive. 

Jorge Cantu hit an RBI double to tie the game, Dan Uggla drove in a run with a single, and Cameron Maybin hit a three-run shot to give the Marlins a 7-3 lead, and chase Maine from the game. Elmer Dessens took over for Maine and gave up an RBI double to Brett Hayes, who pinch-hit for Sean West. Chris Coghlan capped off the inning by doubling in a run to put the Marlins up 9-3. 
Badenhop relieved West and allowed just one hit as he held the Mets scoreless through two innings. Carlos Beltran hit a home run off of Brian Sanches in the top of the eighth to make it 9-4, and then came Florida’s obligatory struggle to put the game away. 
In the top of the ninth, Matt Lindstrom gave up a single and a double, and then allowed two runs to score on a throwing error–the Marlins’ third error of the game–before the call to the bullpen mercifully came. 

It was Brendan Donnelly who handled the last out of the ninth inning. Donnelly struck out Carlos Beltran to end the game, and earn his very first save for the Fish. 
A nice note on which to end the final Super Saturday of the Marlins season.
9-6, Marlins

Fish Win as Johnson… Electrimazinates™

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“Ace” just doesn’t seem to cut it when looking for an appropriate word to describe what Josh Johnson is as a pitcher. In fact, there may not be a descriptive enough word in any dictionary on the planet that could properly encompass the glory that is JJ and his beastly arm. So HLD&S has made one up…
Electrimazinating.
Josh was on the hill for the Fish to open a three-game series with the Rockies Friday night at The Shark, and to say that he dominated would be putting it very mildly.
Through 8 1/3 innings, Josh struck out a career-high 11 batters, and had a no-hitter going until two outs in the seventh inning, when Garrett Atkins busted it up by blasting a home run, erasing the no-no and the shutout with one powerful swing of his bat. 
While of course a no-hitter for JJ would have been amazing, HLD&S was not shedding too many tears once the initial sting of disappointment came and went. Johnson’s pitch count was at 98 when his no-hit bid ended, and there were 2 1/3 innings left in the game. JJ has tossed 161.1 innings this season, after logging only 87.1 innings in 2008 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Call it paranoia, but we’d kind of like to preserve that beautiful arm for the remainder of the season, which made what happened next a tad confusing. With Josh’s pitch count over 100, he still came back out to pitch the eighth, even though both the chance for the no-hitter and the shutout were already gone. JJ recorded an out and walked one, bringing his pitch count to 114 before he exited the game to a standing ovation from the 15,000+ in attendance.
8 1/3 innings, 11 strikeouts, and one lonely hit for Josh Johnson… You see why we’re forced to alter the English language to accommodate him?
With Jason Hammel on the mound for the Rockies, the Marlins scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings, and put another two on the board when Dan Uggla blasted a two-run shot off of Adam Eaton in the seventh. The Marlins also extended their streak of double-digit hits to eleven games, with ten hits on the night, and continue to enjoy the longest team double-digit hit streak in Major League Baseball this season. Hanley Ramirez was once again 2-for-4 on the night, which brought his personal hit streak to ten games, but Chris Coghlan saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-4 with a sacrifice.
The bullpen took over for Johnson with one out in the eight, and after Pinto recorded the remaining two outs in that inning, the Marlins continued their trend of making those last three outs as difficult–and frightening–as possible. No one was probably as nervous as Josh Johnson, who handed the Marlins a 5-run lead that they managed to whittle down to just one run, thanks in part to some bad defense with Brendan Donnelly on the mound, and a 3-run homer Leo Nunez served up to Chris Iannetta with two outs. 
After the long ball, Nunez managed to close out the game and preserve Johnson’s 12th win of the season. If he hadn’t, HLD&S would be inventing even more additions to the English language today. Four-letter ones. 
The Marlins are now just two games back from the Rockies for the wild card lead, but remain 4 1/2 games behind the aggravating Phillies–who are apparently recovering well from being swept by Florida, and are determined to win every single game they play for the remainder of the season.
In other news, we need a closer.

And the Fish Take the Series.

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Look, kid, we’re beat. Our friggin’ arms are about to fall off in here, and it’d be huge if you could do us all a solid and go at least six tonight.”
Brendan Donnelly’s words to Sean West may not go down in history as the most inspirational pre-game pep talk of all time, but they were all the rookie needed to hear as he made his way out of the bullpen to take the hill in the final game of the Marlins series with the Astros Thursday night at The Shark. 
Actually, to be perfectly honest Donnelly’s words probably won’t go down in history as anything, since I just made them up. But I’m pretty sure somebody had to have said something to West to inspire an outing in which he walked nobody, struck out three and allowed just five hits and one run through six innings of work. Whatever the reason behind his performance, I (obviously) think I speak on behalf of the entire Marlins bullpen when I say THANK YOU, Sean West.
Jorge Cantu got the scoring started off for the Fish when he took a little break from his, uh, break from hitting home runs, and went deep against Mike Hampton in the bottom of the first to give the Marlins the early 2-0 lead. Ronny Paulino also hit a solo shot off of Hampton in the fifth that put the Marlins up 3-1 as the Astros went to their bullpen.

In the end, it turns out the Fish didn’t actually need any of the half-dozen runs they scored off of reliever Chris Sampson in the sixth, but it was entertaining to watch them do it anyway. Ten Marlins came to bat in the inning, and RBI from Helms, Gload, Coghlan, Bonifacio and Ramirez put another six runs on the board to make it a 9-1 ball game. 

After the game, Sampson, who walked two and gave up five hits and six runs in 2/3 of an inning, was optioned to AAA… and another one bites the dust courtesy of the Fish and their smoking bats.
Chris Coghlan’s single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to twelve games, while Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4 to stretch his own hit-streak to nine games. As a team, the Marlins extended a streak as well– the Fish have now logged double-digit hits in ten straight games, with 11 hits off of the Astros in the series finale.
Brian Sanches pitched two scoreless innings in relief of West, and Chris Leroux–who was recalled from AA Jacksonville Thursday to take Tim Wood’s place on the roster, and promptly sent back there after the game–gave up two walks, two hits and a run to the Astros before he recorded three outs in the ninth. (We’re going to have to stop allowing Matt Lindstrom to give these kids pointers before they pitch.)
The Marlins took three out of four from the Astros, and remain 4 1/2 games back from the Phillies in the East, and three games back of the wild card-leading Rockies, who are in town for a three-game series which starts tonight.
Let’s hope the Fish have some hits left in them for the weekend.

Somebody Fetch Me My Antidepressants

andrew-miller-marlins-loss.jpgSunday’s game was a pretty big one for the Marlins. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to mention that to Andrew Miller. 

After the Fish dropped the first two games of the series and saw Saturday’s promising start by Josh Johnson rained out, the Marlins needed Big Game Andrew to come up with a quality outing to give the team a chance to salvage at least one game of the series. 
Instead, Miller chose the finale against the Phillies to have the exact opposite of a quality outing, and pitch horrendously (which may be putting it mildly). 
In the top of the first on Sunday afternoon at Land Shark Stadium, sighs of relief were breathed when a wild Miller managed to wiggle out of a bases-loaded situation without the Phillies scoring, thanks in part to a heads up play by Emilio Bonifacio. But BGA wasn’t so lucky in the second.

With two outs and the pitcher at bat, that elusive third out evaded Andrew again. Three singles later, the bases were loaded, and Miller hit Chase Utley to score the first run of the game. Things went (even more) downhill from there. By the time he was yanked, Andrew had given up four runs on six hits and four walks. 

We’re not exactly sure at which point Miller decided that less than three innings was anywhere remotely close to an acceptable start, but for the second game in a row he lasted only 2 2/3.
To be fair, Andrew Miller could have pitched a perfect game, and it would not necessarily have earned him the win on an afternoon when the Marlins lineup was playing a delightful game of “Who Can Leave the Most Men On.” Of course, HLD&S would never dream of taking anything away from talented Phillies rookie J.A. Happ–we tip our cap to you, sir– but the Fish did their best to make him look good on the mound Sunday afternoon. For real. When the bases are loaded and there are no outs, not scoring would seem to require a lot more effort than just giving in and putting a run or two on the board.
For the second game in the series the Marlins matched the Phillies in hits, but completely failed to hit when it actually mattered. The Fish blew every chance they were given, went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and were shut out by the Phils for the second time in the series. It actually caused us physical pain to watch.
The one thing Marlins fans had to cheer about in an otherwise maddening game was the bullpen, which pieced things together admirably after Miller hit the showers. Brian Sanches pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Burke Badenhop struck out the side in the top of the fifth and tossed a scoreless 6th, Luis Ayala and Renyel Pinto followed with scoreless innings of their own, and after Dan Meyer gave up a run, Brendan Donnelly handled the last two outs of the ninth. Unfortunately, their very nice effort was wasted due to the fact that–as previously mentioned–NO ONE on the Marlins squad could manage to hit with runners in scoring position. 
The Marlins have lost three in a row, have dropped every single game they have played against the Phils at Land Shark this season, and fall to seven games behind their division rivals as they head back out West to face several teams that, unfortunately, are not the Nationals.
 
HLD&S is officially depressed.
Rick Vanden Hurk has been called up to start Monday night in San Diego. Andy Gonzalez was optioned to AAA to make room for the Incredible Hurk on the roster. 
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