Results tagged ‘ Brian Sanches ’

Fish <3 Fox Saturday

150758_phillies_marlins_baseball.jpgOn the very last Saturday afternoon of the regular season, Fox finally decided to grace us with a game that featured the Marlins. Boy, the national exposure couldn’t have come at a better time…you know, after the Phillies clinched the NL East, and after the Marlins had been eliminated from the Wild Card. 

But we won’t complain too much, because a Fox Saturday game appears to be just what Hanley Ramirez needed to emerge from his recent slump. Come on, we all know what a fan Hanley is of the big stage, and after getting Friday night off, he wasted no time busting out of his 0-for-11 skid on national TV.  
In his first at bat, Ramirez doubled off of Cole Hamels to drive in Coghlan, stole third, and then scored on a sac fly from Jorge Cantu. The sacrifice was Cantu’s his 100th RBI of the season, and put the Marlins up 2-0. 
Unfortunately for Hanley and Cantu, they wouldn’t last the game. In the fourth inning Hanley left with a knee contusion, and Cantu followed shortly after with a sprained ankle. Hanley is questionable for the series finale, but Cantu’s season ended when he was doubled off in the sixth.
Anibal Sanchez also seemed to be a fan of the national exposure. Or maybe he just wanted to keep up the Jekyl and Hyde routine he’s had going of late. Whichever is the case, Sanchez put in a strong performance against the Phillies. And unlike his 8-walk start earlier in the week, he was actually able to locate the strike zone Saturday. Sanchy went seven innings, and allowed only one run on five hits and two walks. The one run he gave up was naturally another *yawn* Ryan Howard home run– his 45th of the season.   
In the second inning the Fish scored a third run off of Hamels on an RBI double by [NL ROY] Chris Coghlan. Three innings and 47 pitches were all the Phillies allowed Hamels, who was pulled after giving up three runs on three hits and two walks.
The Marlins added what would prove to be a very valuable insurance run in the eighth on an RBI double by Uggla. And it was nice of Dan to drive in the extra run, because he was a big part of the reason the Fish ended up needing it. Uggla’s throwing error in the bottom of the eighth allowed Ryan Howard to reach base before Brian Sanches gave up a home run to Jayson Werth that brought the Phillies within a run. 
Brad Lidge was surprisingly not in the mood to give up any runs in the ninth, so it was up to Leo Nunez to save the game with just a one-run lead. With the help of a nice defensive play from Uggla (which partially redeemed him for his costly eighth inning error) Leo handled the Phillies one-two-three for his 26th save of the season. 
With their fourth win in a row, the Marlins improved to 13 games over .500 and took over sole possession of second place in the NL East. The win also made Fredi Gonzalez the winningest manager in Fish history. 

The Fish Take the Series

Josh+johnson.jpgIt was a cursed day game Wednesday at Busch Stadium, and so HLD&S will base this recap off of the cartoon images on MLB’s GameDay, which South Florida fans were reduced to sneaking peeks at while their boss wasn’t looking… Consider yourself forewarned. 

Josh Johnson was not in top form as he took the mound, but as a true ace, all that meant was that he gave up nine hits in his six innings, most of which did not result in any runs for the Cardinals. JJ pitched out of trouble a few times and held the Cards scoreless until the sixth inning when Julio Lugo drove in St. Louis’s lone run of the game. JJ threw 100 pitches to get through six innings, and the bullpen took over from there.
The Marlins jumped on Joel Pineiro for three runs in the first inning, and played some small ball for a change rather than relying on the home run as they had in Tuesday’s contest. Of their twelve hits in the game, eleven were singles. Five of those singles were hit in the first when the Marlins loaded the bases on consecutive hits. After Dan Uggla lined out to score a run, John Baker and Cody Ross each added RBI singles to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. 
In the second, Josh Johnson helped his own cause when he singled and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Cantu, and Cody Ross added another RBI hit in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and put the Marlins up 5-1. 

The Fish pen handled the seventh and eighth innings with little trouble, but made up for that when Brian Sanches came in to pitch the ninth. Sanches recorded an out, and then the inning got a little dicey. Or a lot dicey. Mark DeRosa doubled, and with runners at second and third, it was Leo Nunez who got the call from the bullpen to come in and try to save it. 

It seems Leo wasn’t thrilled that his afternoon nap had been interrupted by Sanches getting into a bit of trouble, because he promptly hit the first two batters he faced, one of whom was Albert Pujols. The two HBP forced in a run and brought the Cardinals within three. But with Matt Holliday up and the bases still loaded, Nunez induced a ground ball, and a double play that ended the inning. 
Less dramatic endings to games are always preferable, but nonetheless, Leo logged his 22nd save of the season, JJ his 15th win, and the Marlins took the series from the Cardinals. 

Marlins 4, Mets 2

There was still a pretty awful taste in our mouths from the bullpen’s botched sweep of the Nationals as the Marlins rolled into Flushing, New York on Tuesday. 

Sure, the Marlins diplomatic soundbites about “forgetting” the horror of the loss thirty minutes after it ended sounded nice in the clubhouse, but put Craig Minervini’s mic in front of a few Fish fans, and you’d hear decidedly less upbeat feedback. 

Rick VandenHurk got the start as the Fish opened up their series with the Mets at Citi Field, and he looked pretty good to start, allowing just one hit to the Mets through the first three innings. 

New York got on the board in the fourth when Daniel Murphy and Jeff Francoeur singled with one out, and a sac fly by Josh Thole scored a run. Hurk struck out Anderson Hernandez to end the inning, but not before he grabbed at his side in apparent pain. Vandy winced walking off the mound toward the dugout, and his night was over due to a stiff back after a neat 4 innings in which he struck out three and allowed just one run on four hits and one walk. 
The Marlins tagged starter Tim Redding for four runs on a couple of long balls in his five innings of work for the Mets. With Coghlan on base in the third, Hanley Ramirez jacked his 101st career home run to give the Fish a 2-0 lead, and Cameron Maybin followed with a 2-run shot in the top of the fourth that landed right in the apple in center field. 
It was Hopper who came in to relieve Hurk in the fifth inning. Hop gave up a run when Luis Castillo singled to score Angel Pagan, who had tripled to open the inning. 
The Fish had a chance to add on in the top of the sixth when Gaby Sanchez singled with Dan Uggla on second. Uggla was held at third, but attempted to score when the throw to the plate sailed past Thole. Uggla was thrown out at the plate, and that was as close to scoring as the Marlins would get for the remainder of the game. 
The Fish managed just two hits and two walks off of the Mets bullpen, and couldn’t add to their four runs. 
In the meantime, the Marlins bullpen worked on redeeming themselves for Sunday’s heartbreaker. Brian Sanches pitched a scoreless sixth, but got into trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with one out. He struck out David Wright for the second out of the inning before Carlos Beltran flied out to the warning track (which induced about 40,000 Fish fan heart attacks, but got the Marlins out of the inning unscathed). 
Lindstrom was up next, and handled the Mets 1-2-3 in the eighth, before Leo Nunez marched in to save it in the ninth. Miraculously, saving the game is exactly what he did. 
It was Brian Sanches who got the win, and the Fish got off to a good start against the Mets, taking game one of the series at Citi Field. 
We won’t call it redemption for Sunday, but at least it’s a start. 

Fish Make it Four in A Row

excited2.jpgThe Marlins started and ended game two of their series against the Nationals in much the same way they started and ended game one. 

Facing Livan Hernandez Saturday night, the Fish once again put three runs on the board in the first inning. With two on, Jorge Cantu doubled to score the first run of the game, and Cody Ross followed with a two-out, two-run single to put the Fish up 3-0. 
Josh Johnson was once again not at his sharpest on the mound, which for a normal pitcher might mean trouble, but for Josh means something entirely different (like, you know, that he didn’t have a no-hitter going into the eighth inning). JJ got into a bit of trouble in the second when he loaded the bases with nobody out, but two ground balls later, JJ was out of the inning and only one run was on the board for the Nats. 

In the fourth inning, the Marlins offense jumped on Livan again. Helms and Coghlan singled, and Maybin hit a sac fly to score a run. Hanley Ramirez followed with his 20th home run of the season to put the Marlins up 6-1. 
Josh settled down after his shaky second, and tossed three straight 1-2-3 innings before he gave way to the bullpen. JJ lasted through five, and his night ended after 82 pitches, two hits, three walks and the lone run to the Nationals. 
With Victor Garate on the mound in relief of Livan in the sixth, Brett Hayes pinch-hit for JJ and hit the first home run of his major league career. Cameron Maybin followed with a walk, and Jorge Cantu doubled him in to give the Marlins an 8-1 lead. 
Christian Martinez pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but with one out in the seventh gave up three runs to put the Nats within striking distance… and to remind us that he is not exactly Burke Badenhop. Dan Meyer took over and recorded the final two outs of the seventh.
A Hanley Ramirez RBI double in the eighth capped off the scoring for the Marlins.
Brian Sanches took over for Dan Meyer with one out in the eighth, and stayed in to finish up the game. With two out in the ninth, he made things interesting when he gave up a double and a one-run single, but a fly ball to right ended the game, and the Marlins won their fourth straight. 
For the second night in a row, the Fish scored nine runs. If they can manage to keep that up, they may have a better chance at the Wild Card than HLD&S originally thought. 

All’s well that *ends* well. Which is a tough break for the Fish.

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What’s that saying? It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish? 
That’s just too bad for the Marlins, because if we were going purely based on “start” in their series opener against Atlanta Monday night, they’d have had the game in the bag.
(You’ve just read the short version of the recap, so if you’d rather not dwell on the depressing details of the latest Marlins loss, then be content with “it sucked,” and go find something else to do with the next two minutes of your life. However, if you’re into details and/or self-injury, by all means read on to savor the agony…)

With Florida and Atlanta all tied up in the NL East and in the Wild Card, The Fish kicked off an important four-game series Monday night at Land Shark Stadium. Josh Johnson was on the hill for the Marlins, and Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami took the mound for Atlanta. With their ace making the start, the Marlins had the perfect opportunity to gain a game on the Braves in both the division and the Wild Card. 

Sadly, opportunity has to be seized, and it didn’t appear the Marlins bats were up to participating in anything remotely resembling seizure in the series opener. 
JJ was on from the start, and after he handled the Braves nicely through two innings, Jorge Cantu doubled to lead off the bottom of the second. John Baker followed with a single to move Jorge to third, and Uggla hit a sac fly to score the first run of the ball game. 
One run on six hits was all the Marlins would be able to shake out of Kawakami in his six innings of work, but for a while it looked as though one run might actually do the trick, since Josh Johnson was in the mood to tease us all by flirting with a no-hitter for the second time this month.  
JJ took his no-no all the way until two outs in the sixth inning, when Matt Diaz finally singled to record the Braves first base hit of the game. Despite the hit, Josh made it out of the inning without incident, and the Fish maintained their lead. 
For like ten minutes, anyway. 
After Josh recorded two outs in the seventh, things went South. JJ’s energy seemed to fizzle out, and the final out of the inning eluded him. With two men on, Josh gave up a triple to Omar Infante that cleared the bases and gave the lead to the Braves. David Ross was the last batter JJ would face in the inning, and he singled to score Infante and put Atlanta up 3-1. 
Johnson’s night ended after 6 2/3 innings, five hits, three runs and eight strikeouts. Brian Sanches recorded the last out of the seventh, but by then the damage was done, and the Fish had a two-run hole to dig themselves out of… Um, but instead of the lineup digging the Marlins out of the hole, the bullpen worked on digging aforementioned hole even deeper. 
Sanches hit Diaz to open the bottom of the eighth, and intentionally walked Chipper Jones before Dan Meyer took over and gave up two straight singles to put the Braves up 5-1. 
The Fish made things mildly interesting in the bottom of the ninth when Cantu doubled, and Uggla drove him in with a two-out double of his own for his second RBI of the game. But that was all the offense the team could muster on a night when the Marlins managed eight hits– none of which came from their superstar. Hanley Ramirez was 0-for-4 again, marking his third game in a row without a hit. 
JJ suffered his fourth loss of the season, and a night that started with promise ended miserably for the Marlins. Suddenly, rather than lamenting the lost no-hitter, the Fish were lamenting another series-opening
loss, which set the team back farther in both the division and the Wild Card, and brought the month of August to a close at an even 14-14. 
.500 baseball isn’t going to win the Wild Card, Fish. 

And the Fish Take the Series.

sean-west.jpg

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.

Fish Win Fifth Straight… I Think.

blockedview.JPGThe way the Marlins have been scoring runs of late, a little five-run deficit Tuesday night honestly felt more like a mild annoyance, rather than a sign that the game might end poorly for the Fish.

Not that I would have been able to see a sign of any kind from where I was sitting as the Marlins took on the Astros in game two of the series at Land Shark Stadium. I’m not complaining, though, because while I missed a good 90% of what happened on the field, I did have a charming view of the backs of several strangers who were–quite literally–on the edge of their seats the entire game.   
Tell me again why we didn’t need to use eleventy billion taxpayer dollars to build an actual baseball facility for the Marlins? Exactly. (HLD&S’s stellar sight lines pictured top left. Please read the following recap with that view of the game in mind.)  
Chris Volstad seemed sharp to start the game, and pitched fairly well through four innings, but that’s where the good news about his outing ends… Unless you count as good news the fact that he didn’t give up a home run for the first start in a long while. I personally don’t, seeing as the Astros didn’t have a need to go deep, since Chris seemed happy enough to give up half-a-dozen runs to the team the old-fashioned way.
In the top of the fifth, Volstad suddenly forgot how to throw strikes, and before he could record the third out of the inning, Houston had scored five runs to give the them a 6-2 lead over the Fish. 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, three walks and six runs were what we enjoyed from Chris before the bullpen took over in the game. Fantastic.  
One bad inning from Volstad may have been all it took to put the Fish in a hole, but thankfully one bad inning from Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt was all it took for the Marlins to begin to claw their way out of it. Oswalt, much like Volstad, pitched well to start, but he gave up four runs in the sixth on four straight hits and two bases-loaded walks to bring the Fish within a run.   
Down by one in the seventh, John Baker, who also had an RBI single in the sixth, hit a two-run double to give the Marlins the lead.
With the Fish up 8-7, Leo Nunez headed out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth, and I pleaded with him to give us a 1-2-3 inning. He ignored me, of course (because it just wouldn’t be a Marlins game without somebody giving up runs in the ninth inning, now would it?). Leo gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Geoff Blum to tie the game. 
Renyel Pinto and Brian Sanches pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings respectively, and then the collective yawns of the home crowd signaled to the boys that it was time to end this thing.
Chris Coghlan and Nick Johnson drew walks to open the bottom of the eleventh, but things didn’t look too promising for the Fish when Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms both struck out. But then John Baker drew a walk, and Dan Uggla, who was 3-for-5 in the game, came through with his first walk-off hit of the season. Dan’s single scored Coghlan, and gave the Marlins their fifth win in a row.
The Fish not only extended their win streak Tuesday night, they also added an eighth game to their double-digit hit streak, and pulled within 2 games of the National League wild card lead.
Sounds like it was a good game. Would have been lovely to see it.

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. 

Fish Win. For Real.

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While the majority of the nation celebrates Independence Day, HLD&S is celebrating a far more important event in history: the Marlins have finally won a game against the Pirates this season. 
Big Game Andrew had a nice night on the mound (other than trying out his best Chris Volstad impersonation by serving up two home runs), and earned a win for the first time in almost a month as the Fish took on the Buccos in game two of the series at Land Shark Stadium. Miller gave up a total of three runs on eight hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings.

While BGA did his thing, Hanley decided that after going 0-for-4 Friday night, he’d had enough of this “no RBI” business. The All Star shortstop jacked the first pitch he saw from Zach Duke, and put the Marlins up 2-0 in the first. 

Meanwhile, Emilio Bonifacio worked to shift Fish fans back to the “love” side of their love/hate relationship with the third baseman. Boni went 4-for-4, tripled, and scored a pair of runs in the game. And we can’t really complain about that, now can we? (Trust us, we’ve looked at this from every angle. We can’t make it work. Sigh.)
Brian Sanches struck out three in an inning of relief, and Dan Meyer closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the season.
The Marlins have defeated the Pirates. And they managed to do so without so much as a one-minute rain delay.
Let the fireworks commence.
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