Results tagged ‘ Josh Johnson ’

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.

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

Opening Day 2010 (aka Whoa, Ugly)

GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes, so you can check out her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Florida Marlins there.
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Ah, sweet Opening Day. Is there anything better? Sun shining brightly, birds chirping gleefully, the smell of peanuts and cracker jack wafting through the fresh spring air… or at least that’s what you’d imagine opening day to be like, if you weren’t stuck in a cubicle at your place of employment, reloading Gameday audio 12,042 times while simultaneously researching where to purchase an atomic bomb with which to obliterate MLB.tv tech support. 

[Deep cleansing breath.] 
Luckily, when the Marlins opened their season against the Mets at Citi Field Monday, they gave us Fish fans a few reasons to be glad that it’s hard to find a way to be in front of a television at 1:10 in the afternoon. Sure, it promised to be a good match-up with Marlins ace Josh Johnson starting against Johan Santana, but things didn’t exactly unfold that way. (Not that I saw how any of it did unfold, but I got to watch those little cartoon-y figures on MLB Gameday, which we all know is practically the same as being there live.) 
JJ lasted just five innings in his season debut, and gave up four runs on five hits, walked four, and put the Marlins in an early hole on a two-run shot to David Wright in the bottom of the first. 
The Fish, meanwhile, couldn’t get much of anything accomplished against Santana, who–despite the many hopes of every non-Mets fan in existence–did not miraculously forget how to pitch during the off-season. (I, for one, intend to return my voodoo dolls to the manufacturer for a full refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling.) 
The Marlins managed a meager four hits off of Santana in his six innings of work. They finally got on the board in the sixth on an RBI double by Jorge Cantu that scored Chris Coghlan, but that was the last of the good news for Florida. 
Things got sloppy for the Marlins as the bullpen took over in the sixth. The Mets scored four times, and Clay Hensley, Dan Meyer and Gaby Sanchez all committed errors in the half inning. Hensley–whose current ERA is 27.00, which is fun to say–gave up two runs to the Mets in his Marlins debut, and Tim Wood allowed a run in the seventh to make the score 7-1. 
Aside from 2-for-4 afternoons from Hanley and Gaby, it was a sloppy, forgettable game that definitely didn’t leave Fish fans with warm, fuzzy feelings to kick off the regular season. 
The good news is, we get to try this 161 more times. 
Marlins 1, Mets 7

The End.

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In the final game recap of the 2009 season, it would be superb to declare that the Marlins finally managed to hold onto one of the half-dozen or so leads they had in the game, and pull out the victory to end the year with a bang. 
But unless we just ignore the box score and make up our own magical fairy tale of a season finale, the news is not all that thrilling.
Both Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu were out of Sunday’s lineup due to injuries. The Phil’s lineup was also void of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who are clearly in need of much beauty rest, and had the day off.
In what became sort of a late season tradition, the Marlins put two runs on the board in the first inning. Coghlan wasted no time securing last-minute NL ROY votes as he led off the game with a single, advanced to third on Cameron Maybin’s double, and scored on a sac fly from Nick Johnson. With two out, Ronny Paulino doubled in Maybin to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
Josh Johnson was on the hill in his final start of 2009 and looked good through the first three innings. In the fourth, though, Josh gave up two runs to tie up the game. Miguel Cairo homered to lead off the inning, and Jayson worth followed with a hit, stole second and third, and scored on Ben Francisco’s single.
The Fish reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth when they loaded the bases with one out. JJ and Nick Johnson walked, and Coghlan singled to load them for Wes Helms, who drove in two on a single to right field. Dan Uggla followed with an RBI single, and the Marlins were back in the lead at 5-3.
For about ten minutes.
In the bottom of the inning, JJ got into trouble and erased the Marlins lead yet again. Andy Tracy tripled and scored on a single by Eric Bruntlett, and Victorino and Dobbs both followed with RBI hits to once again tie the score. 
JJ’s afternoon and season were over with two out in the fifth, after he gave up five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3. He finished the season 15-5.
It didn’t take long for the Marlins to once again nab the lead. Chris Coghlan, who finished the game 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored (and an even stronger case for the NL Rookie of the Year award), grounded into a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning to score Emilio Bonifacio and put the Marlins up 6-5.
After two scoreless innings from Burke Badenhop, Ross Gload pinch hit for Hop in the top of the eighth and singled, giving him 21 pinch-hits on the year. With the single, Ross Gload and Wes Helms became the second pair of teammates since 1900 to have 38 pinch hits. 
In the bottom of the eighth, it was time for another Marlins lead-relinquish. Miguel Cairo tripled off of Kiko Calero to open the inning, and scored on a throwing error by Dan Uggla to yet again tie the game.
The Marlins didn’t appear to be ready to let go of the season, and so Renyel Pinto tossed a scoreless ninth to force extra innings. But in the bottom of the tenth, Florida’s luck ran out. Dan Meyer gave up a single to Mayberry to lead off the inning, and after an intentional walk to Jayson Werth, Paul Hoover lined a single to score Mayberry and end the game.
The Marlins finish the season 87 and 75, in second place in the NL East, and surrounded by rumors of the possible removal of Fredi Gonzalez, who led the Fish this season to their third-most wins in the history of the franchise. 
Ah, the joys of Marlins baseball.

7-6, Phillies

The Scoreless Streak Ends! But, Um, So Do Our Post-Season Hopes.

bats alive.jpgIt took a starting pitcher to end the Marlins’ streak of scoreless innings at 22, but the bats finally came out of hibernation Tuesday night at Turner Field.  

In the second inning Josh Johnson said, “enough of this scoreless business,” and did what the Fish have struggled to do the last few games: he hit with a runner in scoring position. (!) 
Johnson drove in his 10th run of the season, doubling off of Braves starter Tim Hudson, and opened the proverbial floodgates for the Marlins. Dan Uggla, who also doubled and scored a run in the second, followed with a solo shot in the fourth inning, and Cameron Maybin added a 2-run homer in the fifth to give the Marlins a 4-1 lead. (OK, so the floodgates were more cracked slightly than fully opened. But we’ll take it.)
Still not 100% recovered from the flu, Josh worked five solid innings for the Fish. He had to work his way out of some trouble, but JJ allowed just one run on three hits to the Braves, and struck out five. With the start, JJ also surpassed 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career, and left the game with a 4-1 lead, in line for the win.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brian Sanches erased the decision for Josh when he gave up a three-run shot to Matt Diaz that tied up the game.  
The good news is that Jorge Cantu decided to continue the all-new trend of driving in runs rather than leaving them on base, and reclaimed the lead for the Marlins in the seventh when he hit an RBI single to score [the clear choice for NL Rookie of the Year] Chris Coghlan. Cogs was 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of doubles, a pair of runs, and his 46th hit in the month of September, which established a new team record. 
Leo Nunez capped off the game with his 25th save of the season, and the Marlins took game two of the series. 
And now for the bad news. The Rockies declined to be of any help to the Fish, and selfishly came back to win their game against the Brewers in extra innings, thus eliminating the Marlins from Wild Card contention.

The End is Near

f5d3c08d-9e3c-4c0d-aae4-8c30c1264577.jpgFans should have been prepared for the worst Sunday afternoon as the Marlins played their final home game of the season against the Mets at Land Shark Stadium. 

First of all, Josh Johnson was home puking with what the rest of the team can only pray is not H1N1, and had to be scratched from his start in favor of the struggle-laden Chris Volstad. Nick Johnson was also out due to the flu, and although Jorge Cantu was in the lineup, he was feeling a little queasy himself. Cody Ross, one of the few Marlins not sitting around the clubhouse with a thermometer hanging out of his mouth, was still nursing his badly bruised wrist, and was only available to pinch run. 

With all the above considered, we should have mentally prepared ourselves for the worst. But call us crazy, we still had hope the Marlins would find a way to win, and send fans home with magical, victorious memories to sustain us until April. 
They did not. 
Volstad wasn’t necessarily awful in the game, but he lasted only four innings, and gave up three runs to the Mets. The three runs naturally included Volstad’s signature long ball, this time a two-run shot by Jeff Francoeur in the third inning. 

The truth is it wouldn’t have mattered if Volstad had gone eight innings strong, and had only given up one run to the Mets. After New York was on the board in the second, the game was over for the Fish, thanks to Pat Misch. 
Misch decided to be a hero Sunday, and tossed a complete game shut out. It wasn’t as though the Marlins couldn’t touch Misch; they had eight hits and three walks off of the starter, and threatened in the first inning with men on second and third and nobody out. But they were 0-for-the-game with runners in scoring position, and were unable to put anything together through nine innings. 

Sadly, as is usually the case, when one cannot score, one cannot win.

The loss eliminated the Marlins in the NL East, and put them 4 ½ back in the wild card with a mere six games left to play. 

What a charming way to end the final homestand of the season. 

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. 

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. 

He is Mortal.

jjmortal.JPGThe Marlins hadn’t lost a series since they were swept by Washington August 4th through 6th, and we had nearly forgotten what it felt like to lose two games in a row. 

The Fish were kind enough to remind us Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. 
Josh Johnson was completely out of character on the mound as he played the role of a mere mortal in the series finale with the Astros. JJ lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up 4 runs on seven hits, which marked only the third time this season that he has allowed more than three earned runs in a start. (JJ allowed 6 runs on April 18th and 4 runs on August 4th, both–interestingly–in starts against the Nationals.) 
Less than sharp through the first three innings, Johnson still managed to hold the Astros scoreless. And then Carlos Lee continued his campaign to become HLD&S’s least-favorite Astro when he crushed another home run in the series, a 2-run shot in the fourth to put Houston on the board and in the lead. Hunter Pence followed Lee with a long ball of his own, and stretched the Astros lead to two runs. 
In the fifth, Josh was in trouble again. He gave up a double to Quintero before Wandy Rodriguez forgot he was a pitcher and doubled to drive in a run. JJ went on to load the bases with one out, and thus ended his night on the mound. 

Cristhian Martinez finished the inning by inducing a double play, and tossed 2 2/3 scorelesss innings in relief of Johnson. He was thanked for his efforts by being demoted immediately following the game. 
A three-run deficit doesn’t seem insurmountable at all, but that’s only if you’re going to get hits and score and stuff. It didn’t appear the Fish were in the mood to do any of the above, and not only did the Marlins’ streak of series wins come to an end Thursday night, the team’s double-digit hit streak was also snapped as the lineup struggled to get much of anything done against Wandy Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez threw a bunch of pitches in a shaky first inning and loaded the bases with Fish thanks to walks and a throwing error by Tejada. Then the scoring started for the Fish when Bonifacio walked and then scored on Uggla’s RBI fielders choice. 
Unfortunately, that is also where the scoring ended for the Fish. 

After his first-inning struggles, Wandy lasted through eight for Houston and allowed just 4 hits to the Marlins lineup. So, once again the Marlins started a game with promise only to fizzle out offensively. 

If you’re looking for a bright spot in the loss, Hanley did manage to extend his hitting streak to 15 games on an infield single. OK, so maybe that’s more of a dimly-lit spot than a bright one, but it’s all we’ve got. 
The Phillies and Rockies won, of course, because it would just be too much to ask either team to ever lose, and the Marlins slipped back another game both in the Wild Card and the NL East. 
Sigh.
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