Sitting in an overwhelming sea of bright blue while being drowned out by chants of “Let’s go Cubs” is not my favorite way to experience a Marlins home game.
I guess the Fish couldn’t do too much about the blue in the stands, but at least they did a pretty decent job of quieting the away team’s loud mouths as the Marlins opened their series against the Cubs Friday night at Land Shark Stadium.
Chris Volstad was on the mound for Florida, and basically cruised through 6 2/3 innings, including four perfect frames to kick off the game. Cody Ross contributed to Volstad’s perfection with a Willie Mays-like Cody Ross-like catch in the third inning, and earned himself a spot on SportsCenter’s top ten.
While Volstad did his thing, Rich Harden went five innings for the Cubs, gave up five hits, walked three, and matched his career high in strikeouts, fanning 11 (which–as everyone of sound baseball knowledge knows–is just an extremely special accomplishment against the Marlins lineup).
Fortunately, the K’s weren’t enough to ensure a victory for the Cubs starter. With two outs in the second inning, Harden couldn’t put Chris Volstad away, and the pitcher logged his first career RBI on a double that scored Jeremy Hermida. Which reminds me– HLD&S would like to request that every Marlins pitcher begin using Chris Volstad’s bat. The exchange has worked out nicely for Josh Johnson, who crushed two home runs with the magical wood, and after Chris’s RBI hit Friday, we are convinced the Volstad bat is key to our pitching staff’s offense.
Jorge Cantu gave the Fish a two-run lead on a solo homer in the third, and the Marlins enjoyed said lead through six innings, before the inevitable finally happened… They say there is comfort in familiarity, and if Volstad is familiar with anything this season, it’s giving up the long ball. We’ll call it his security blanket. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Chris served up a big fat mistake to Jake Fox, who jacked a two-run shot to tie up the game and end Volstad’s night with a no decision.
Luckily, the Cubs decided to send Carlos Marmol to pitch the eighth with the game tied up at two apiece. Marmol walked two before the Fish inexplicably thought it would be a super neat idea to have Jeremy Hermida bunt with runners on first and second and nobody out. Um, yeah. Good plan. The bunt was just a beauty, folks, and the Cubs got the lead runner, which is–I’m almost positive–not at all what we wanted to happen in that situation. Correct me if I’m wrong.
The good news is Marmol was undaunted by his break, and came back to hit Ross Gload with a pitch before giving up an RBI single to John Baker to put the Marlins back in the lead.
Wes “Grit” Helms capped off the scoring in the eighth on a 2-run pinch-hit RBI off of Marshall to provide some insurance for the Fish, who–by the way–drove in every one of their five runs Friday night with two outs. Dan Meyer and Brendan Donnelly held the score, Leo Nunez closed up shop, and the Marlins took the series opener against the Cubbies.
Ah, nothing beats droves of opposing fans filing dejectedly out of Land Shark Stadium.
The Fish have won eight of their last ten, trail the Phillies by six games in the East, and are two games back in the wild card race. Tonight, newly acquired first baseman Nick Johnson will make his first start as a Fish, thus (prayerfully) ending The Bonifacio Experiment. Burke ”The Hopper” Badenhop will take the mound to make his second start of the season. (We refuse to call him “the Dragon,” Fredi. We refuse.)