If the Marlins don’t go yard, they won’t win.
That’s one of the lessons learned Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park from a series sweeping defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4. Florida began the series red hot with an 11-1 record, a seven-game winning
streak and a 6-0 road record, only to be greeted to the cold Pittsburgh conditions being outscored 18-6.
Ricky Nolasco benefited from an awakening of four runs in support only to earn his second loss in three starts this season, allowing six runs over six innings of work.
Nolasco, like the other Marlin starters this season, fell into trouble early when Adam Laroche belted a ground rule double that hopped over the center field wall and scored Feddy Sanchez.
Two innings later, Sanchez was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored off a Nate McClouth single. Pittsburgh tacked one more run in the third off an Andy Laroche sac fly.
With the Marlins down 3-0 entering the fourth, it appeared a sweep was immentinet. That was before Wes Helms lifted a 2-for-17 skid with RISP, with an RBI double to score Hanley Ramirez.
Florida would then chip away at the defecit with a Nolasco RBI single in the fifth and Ronny Paulino’s RBI single in the sixth.
Cody Ross would tie the game at 4 with an double in the sixth and for the first time this series, the Marlins would be tied with the Pirates. But not for long.
Nolasco took the ball in the sixth inning and after a quick out, pinch hitter Delwyn Young doubled off the wall and scored off a Nyjer Morgan single, who reached second on the throw home, to reclaim the lead at 5-4. Morgan swiped third and when Paulino’s throw skipped down the
left-field line, Morgan scooted home to give the Pirates a two-run
Pittsburg tacked on another run in the seventh and Matt Capps prevented another Marlin Miracle as seen in DC.
Florida got on the board with a run against Pittsburgh ace Paul Maholm
in the top of the fourth, but probably should have had more. Emilio
Bonifacio and Jeremy Hermida kicked things off with singles. Bonifacio
stole third to put runners at the corners. Hanley Ramirez hit a
comebacker to Maholm, who turned and fired to second to force Hermida.
But Sanchez then fired home instead of to first to get Bonifacio hung
up for the taylor made 1-4-2-5-1 double play.
Despite the sweep and their first three-game losing streak of the
season, the Marlins still had a 6-3 road trip and return home 11-4 atop
the National League East.
Last time the Marlins got swept in a three-game series by Pittsburgh was May
30-June 1, 2005.
The Marlins bats came alive with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-9 Wednesday with four doubles and all runs scored with two outs. Florida hit .156 with RISP their last five games.
The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff caught the nations attention Monday night.
Their major-league leading fourth shutout came against the red hot hitting Florida Marlins, resulting in an 8-0 victory. Of coarse it would come on a cold, wet and rainy Pennsylvania night in front of 8,790 brave souls.
One of those souls, the biggest question mark on the Marlins starting rotation, Andrew Miller will plead the fifth in proving a lock in the rotation.
Miller exited an out before ending the fifth inning letting four runs
score off five hits and four walks. The control problems might have
been due to a strained right oblique muscle which will sideline Miller
for the next 15 days on the Disabled List. Miller was a DL victim last season with a knee injury. Might be a bad omen, but in 2008 Miller was replaced in the starting rotation by Josh Johnson and ended the season in the bullpen.
“I just didn’t have that second gear when I wanted to put somebody away,” Miller said. “It felt like I was throwing at 80-85 percent to prevent [the injury] from obstructing with my ability to throw the ball because I just couldn’t throw through it.”
Entering Monday’s game, the exclamation point was the high powered offense that thrusted the Marlins into a seven game winning streak and dash to ten games above 500. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf quietly entered and cut that streak to a half, winning just his second career major league game. The hurler earned it through a career high seven innings pitched allowing just two hits and get this, NO Homers.
The long ball were the Marlins bread and butter in their winning steak, four straight games involved a homer and every game they rocked out at least nine hits. Not Monday night as Ohlendorf was able to do what Johan Santanta, Derek Lowe and the entire Nationals rotation couldn’t do: hold the Fish from extra base hits.
Impressive numbers considering the Ivy Leaguer was trade scrap to the Yankees for Randy Johnson and then to Pittsburg for Xavier Nady.
Pirates relievers Tyler Yates and Jesse Chavez pitched a perfect eighth and ninth, respectively.
All the things the Pirates did right, the Marlins did wrong. Both needed their starting pitcher to go deep into the game, and get quality relief from the bullpen. That didn’t happen for manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Logan Kensing entered his fifth game of the season and would last 2 1/3 banged and damaged innings. Kensing let up six hits, four earned runs with two walks, none bigger than a Nate McLouth game-icing, 433-foot, three-run homer in
the sixth that splashed into the Artic Allegheny River.
With the game out of grasp, Dan Meyer came on and pitched an eriely quiet eighth inning.
Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez contributed the only hits for the Marlins, both singles.
The Bucs take game one on a cold and wet night at PNC Park from a pitcher with one major league victory. Tuesday night will feature the other pitcher acquired from that Nady trade: Jeff Karstens.
Karstens will be making his second start of 2009, lasting four innings against the Houston Astros in his first. Kastens last season went 2-6 with an earned run average of 4.03. The Marlins will counter with Anibal Sanchez, who has just 2 earned runs in as many starts.
The rain left the downtown Pittsburgh ballpark about 20 minutes too late and delayed the game’s start time.
Marlins are the USC of Major League Baseball: An early number one in the polls….
That’s according to ESPN’s latest Power Rankings which have the beloved Fish tops in baseball (too bad the season isn’t three weeks long). The teams seven game winning streak with sweeps in Atlanta and Washington, dethroned last week’s number one (Braves) all the way down to 15th.
Down…..But Not Out
Pittsburgh has been a streaky team in 2009, take their past weekend action for instance. They shut down the Braves with wins of 3-0 and 10-0 but slipped on Sunday to get blown out 11-1.
McPherson Goes West
Ok so it appears Marlins President of Ops Larry Beinfest made the right decision sticking with Bonifacio instead of minor league home run king Dallas McPherson. According to Henry Schulman the San Fransico Giants have signed McPherson and will send him to extended Spring Training before potentially sharing time in the Fresno Grizzles (AAA) lineup
Quick! Grab Your Badenhop Jerseys Out of The Garage
“To replace Miller, the Marlins have promoted right-hander Burke
Badenhop from Triple-A New Orleans. Badenhop was scheduled to pitch
tonight at Round Rock (Tex.). Instead, he’ll be available to pitch in
relief tonight before taking Miller’s next start Sunday at Dolphin
Stadium against the Phillies.”
So Bandenhop (involved in the December 5, 2007 Miguel Cabera-Dontrelle Willis trade) is pitching call-up number one on the season. Ryan Tucker who also has big league experience was placed on the DL last week.
Badenhop, a righty, was 2-3 last season with a forgetful 6.08 earned run average, making eight starts in the majors. His promotion will be a blessing to the tired bullpen arms.
No one on the corners has swagger like them.
Jeremy Hermida had barely cleaned the crust out of his eyes
when he lifted the Marlins to a second series win against the Washington
Nationals. With their backs against the ropes for a second straight day in
Nationals Park, the Florida Marlins
leftfielder relived the glory from a Friday night late inning game winning
single with a pair of bombs to first tie the game, then give his team a lead.
The Marlins (and Nationals for that matter) could have
easily let up on themselves before the first inning came to a close. On a day when a team’s bread and butter
(starting pitching) was far from solid, their sudden backbone (bullpen arms and
a tweaked batting order) came to the limelight.
Josh Johnson, who mastered his way through the Mets and Nationals
lineup in his two starts on the season, came across as solved puzzle Saturday
afternoon. Johnson was tagged with an
Austin Kearns grand slam in the first but managed to minimize the damage
through six innings with the Marlins down 6-3.
Handing the ball over to the Marlins bullpen for a win on a
day like Saturday appeared to be a prayer entering the season. But this so called Achilles’ heel has produced
21 1/3 straight innings without an earned run crossing the plate. You’d have to
pull up last Friday night’s game against the New York Mets to find an earned
run suffered by a Marlins reliever.
Dan Meyer, Kiko Calero (1-0), Logan Kensing, and Reynel
Pinto carried the load Saturday afternoon frustrating Nationals hitters
with a solo hit the last five innings of a game they started with hit after
Those hits transferred in waves over to the Marlins dugout.
After a Cody Ross double, catcher Ronny Paulino proved he could tag lefty pitchers
with “half a grand slam” shot in the second inning. The Marlins scraped
together a run before Nationals closer Joel Hanrahan again entered the ninth
trying to preserve the lead. But Hanrahan again fell victim to the long ball
and will be looking forward for the Marlins to leave town after Sunday’s game.
This time it was Hermida who would provide the devastating
ninth inning blast to tie the game up, a two run shot to even the score for the
first time since inning number one. After an inning and a half of solid pitching,
Hermida reached the plate with two on and no outs and swung another pitch into
the Nationals Park bleachers.
Calero pitched a quiet 11th to earn his first win
since 2007 with the Oakland A’s.
The Marlins improved to a big league-best 10-1. The
Nationals have the worst record at 1-9.
Facing their second loss on the season just two outs away, Cody Ross
took matters into his own hands…err his own bat off a ninth inning John Hannan fastball.
Ross belted the inside pitch into the Nations Park left field seats and
told Leo Nunez to strap up because the game was going at least nine
After another night of Nunez doing his job, Jeremy Hermida’s infield
single scored Jorge Cantu in the 10th inning, capping a two-out rally
to give the Marlins a 3-2 win over the last place Washington Nationals.
Hermida’s at-bat was an afterthought for Nationals catcher Jesus Flores, who started for the dugout along with reliever
Saul Rivera after Dan Uggla took a 2-2 pitch
on the outside corner with two out and Cantu on.
about all involved thought it they’d hear the “SSSSSStrrrrrikkkke!!!”
call from home plate umpire Tim
Timmons, except Tim Timmons. Uggla dumped the “new life” next pitch
into short right, setting up Hermida for the game-winning RBI on an
infield single to short
Friday at Nationals Park.
Closer Matt Lindstrom survived an Elijah Dukes lead-off double in
the bottom of the 10th to notch his second save and give the Marlins
their best start in franchise history.
Noteworthy: LHP Taylor Tankersley had successful
surgery Friday to repair a stress fracture in his throwing elbow.
Tankersley, on Class AAA New Orleans’ roster, will be evaluated in six
weeks before a throwing program is determined.
Nolasco was pretty angry after exiting the game before the fifth. Not quite sure at whom but take a look at what he said after the game to decide. “I’m pretty angry I wasn’t able to go deeper”
Lucky Can of Skoal earns Marlins MVP of the Week…it’s safe to say that Cody Ross broke out of his 2 for 25 slump to enter the season with two homers in as many games. But how exactly did he break out of it? Well according to Clark Spencer and Mike Phillips in their Herald blog it was because of the empty Skoal can given to Ross by none other than Hanley Ramirez. Hey when you guys are done with it…my church league games are Wednesday nights.
A spot in the rotation. A Closer. A backup catcher. A Leftfielder and a first basemen.
If Florida Marlins General Manager Larry
Beinfest drew up a shopping list this offseason those would be the main
entrees for them to pick up. With 17 players due to get a huge pay
raise since playing at the major league level for three seasons, it was
going to be an interesting Hot Stove for the Marlins.
For starters you parted ways with a ninth
inning pitcher whose contributions were in question. On paper, Kevin
Gregg is a proven closer with 32 and 29 saves the last two years,
respectively. However, August was a month he was happy to end last
season. Gregg lost four games including back-to-back blown saves to the
New York Mets during what was turning out to be a close race for first
place. A day after giving up a lead changing grand slam to Carlos
Beltran with two outs in the ninth, Gregg complained about
“inflammation in his left knee” and also learned he wouldn’t be
resigned next season. Matt Lindstrom won the September closer audition
over set-up man Joe Nelson, who left for greener pastures in Tampa.
Trades were inevitable for the Marlins and
none bigger when Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen were shipped to
divisional rival Washington. Willingham averaged 20 homers with a .266
batting average but his 100 strikeouts a season was far too much for
Beinfest, not to mention missing 60 games last season due to a back
injury. As for Olsen, his DUI last season mixed with
fights with teammates became too much to bear along with a 31-37
win-loss mark. We’ll be seeing the Nationals 18 times this season.
Here’s a breakdown of the players who won’t be
returning to camp this year. Interesting to note it would have cost us
20 million to retain these players.
Mike Jacobs- The power-hitting first baseman
was a centerpiece of the Carlos Delgado trade. A converted catcher,
Jacobs put up huge numbers last season with 32 homeruns and driving in
93 runs. However 119 strikeouts and just 118 hits was a major flaw in
Jacobs. He’s currently battling arbitration with the Royals, whom he
was traded to for Leo Nunez.
Expected ’09 Salary -Seeking 3.8 Million ’08 395,000
Kevin Gregg- Gregg was lights out during his
two-year stint with the Marlins. Totaling nearly 30 saves both seasons.
However struggles to the bullpen before the September stretch run saw
demotion come Gregg’s way who was playing with “Inflammation in left
knee.” With the closer role open during September, Matt Lindstrom
out-battled Joe Nelson to secure the gig.
Expected ’09 Salary 4.2 Million ’08 2.5 Million
Joe Nelson- Nelson was a very
solid reliever for the Marlins and his departure to intrastate rival
Tampa Bay will be missed. Nelson appeared in 59 games and allowed just
a dozen earned runs all season. However 1 save in 5 opportunities made
it clear who the 2009 closer would be.
Expected ’09 Salary 1.3 Million
Scott Olsen- 25 year old southpaw with plenty of potential. Hopefully things pan out for him in the nation’s capital.
Expected ’09 Salary 2.5 Million (Asked for 3.5 but agreed since he would lose arbitration) ’08 405,000
Josh Willingham- Will have to
compete with a crowded outfield in DC with Lastings Milledge, Austin
Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Elijah Dukes, and Willie Harris.
Expected ’09 Salary Currently taken to Arbitrators (Asking 3.6 million, Received an offer of 2.55 million)
Expected ’09 Salary 750,000
Expected ’09 Salary 645,000
Expected ’09 Salary 1.5 million
Expected ’09 Salary- Invited to Giants camp
Expected ’09 Salary Currently Unsigned Free Agent
Expected ’09 Salary- Signed a 2 year, 4 million dollar deal
Paul Lo Duca
Expected ’09 Salary Currently unsigned Free Agent
Expected ’09 Salary 650,000 (If he makes the Reds 25 man roster)
So just got news that the Associated Press is reporting Dan Uggla won his arbitration case against the Florida Marlins. Uggla will get 5.35 million as opposed to the 4.4 the Marlins front office offered.
Uggla batted .260 last season with 32 homers and drove in 92 runs. Impressive numbers considering he plays a position with very few power hitters. Glad to see he got his value in the market and you can’t really blame the Marlins front office striving for efficiency.
What will be interesting to see this season is with plenty of depth and talent in our farm system at second base, whether or not Uggla finishes the season with us. Reason I say this is because guess what, it’s another contract year for the Tennessee native. And with the Ryan Howard deals out there that I ranted and raved about, as long as Uggla produces and the offseason deals increase, Uggla could get a higher salary in 2010.
I know…….I’m getting ahead of myself. Just trying to be a good journalist and look ahead. I personally wish we could lock him up long term.
There is no doubt Arod is a marked man. But it’s another chapter, not the end of the book.
After the startling admission that the 3-time MVP and arguably best player in baseball took performance-enhancing drugs during the 2001-2003 season, many in the baseball world have written his legacy off. The results from six years ago of 104 players with positive tests were taken in a confidentiality agreement, but due to Rodriguez’s elite name and high contract, his results got leaked out. And since public scrutinity entailed.
But imagine how Arod can greatly improve the game of baseball.
Let me paint you a picture… Five or six years from now, when Rodriguez is closing in on a fully tainted 762 homerun record by Barry Bonds. Imagine Arod blasting number 763. After the momentus occassion, Arod saying something like this:
“Early in my career I struggled with who I was and was unaware of my influence in the sport. Entering the league at 18 and in my first full season hitting 36 homers and 123 RBIs, it all happened rapidly. I didn’t know what I was getting into and for three seasons went along with my peers. I didn’t need the performance enhancers since my numbers didn’t even increase those seasons. After being marked in 2009, I had to prove to myself that I was a better player off them. Standing here as a clean home run king proves that.”
Isn’t that the American way? Sure his legacy has taken a hit, but what lies ahead of him is better than whats behind him. Arod has the ability and opportunity to clean his name, be an ambassador of the game and be an outspoken leader in the clubhouse by making sure his teammates are clean.
People are calling for his head. Bill Madden is asking for his job. Most are claiming he ain’t a Hall of Famer. Regardless of what they think today, prove to us and yourself that steroids gives only a mental edge by continuing your tear on the record books. If baseball writers can’t forgive you, take a page from the late, great Buck O’Neil. The first black manager in the majors with the Cubs was overlooked in 2006 when Negro League players were specially elected into Cooperstown. O’Neil, who’s legacy has been his pleasant attitude, had an excellent response. “If I’m not a Hall of Famer for you, that’s alrite with me.”
Arod can’t do anything to please the hall of fame voters. Don’t try. Just do the best you can to improve your career and clean your name. The satisfaction of a successful, clean career will be your Hall of Fame.
I’d rather have a half-tarnished Home Run King than a fully-tainted one. Don’t just apologize and sweep it under the rug, Alex. Clean up your act, clean up the game of baseball, and break 762. America will forgive you.
So in anticipation of Spring Training I’m counting down the 16 seasons of Florida Marlins baseball. Unfortunately I counting backwards, from worst season for the franchise to the best. My first post was on the 1998 squad and boy that was hard to stomach. It was hard to believe that whole summer we were technically “defending the trophy.” HA!
So my next ranking will actually be the 14/15 rankings. Thankfully we’ve only past the century mark in the loss column once. Our divisional rivals to the North, The Phillies had hundred loss seasons for five straight years, a baseball record from ’38 to ’42. The Braves and Mets were not far behind with four consecutive seasons granted the Bravos did it was a hundred years ago when they were the Boston Doves and the Mets entered their first four years of pro ball with a hundred losses a year. Other franchises remarkably have stayed competitive enough to stay above that Mendoza line: Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, and the California/Anaheim/LA Angels…of Anaheim.
But two years the Marlins came awfully close, the inaugural 1993 season and the 1999 team. Please let me bash the ’99 season first. Ha.
So the largest firesale of a World Series Champion, esentially trading a world champion for minor league players, took a couple years for rebuilding. In ’99 the theme was the same, no expectations of making a playoff push let alone a .500 push. The 3 million fans that showed up in ’93 was less than half in ’99.
But those that made it to Pro Player Stadium welcomed back skipper John Boles, who replaced Rene Lachman in 1996 for 75 games. No…he did not live under a rock and realized he was coaching an entirely different team.
The offense was starting to look good with the rise of Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Preston Wilson, and Alex Gonzalez. Mark Kotsay and Kevin Millar were solid bats. Surprisingly the lineup was pretty well rounded with a .263 team batting average. The pitching staff…however…was rough.
Only one pitcher had double digit wins (Brian Meadows), and Dennis Springer’s career high 16 losses. The rotation saw a young Ryan Dempster and AJ Burnett, so we defintely had promise. The pitching staff was loaded in closers: Dempster, Matt Mantei, Branden Looper, and Antonio Alfonseca. However with an aging Alex Fernzadez, a tailing Livan Hernandez and Brian Edmonson, Vic Darensbrough and Vladmir Nunez, the entire NL East must have had a .100 point bump in their batting average. No wonder Chipper Jones won the MVP Award.
The lasting legacy of this 98 loss team were the transactions this team were able to make. The solid core of a World Series champions were built by the moves made in ’99. The Fish traded three virtual unknowns to the Yankees for Mike Lowell. A solid first round pick in Josh Beckett. Signing a 16 year old Venezuelan named Miguel Cabrera. And sending a promising closer Matt Mantei for a 6’4 righty named Brad Penny. 14 future World Series Champions were due to the comings and goings of the ’99 season.
Not to let the front office go completely scott free. Forget Dan Uggla, the Marlins could have made the best Rule 5 pickup if we held onto a young pitcher named Johan Santana who was traded to the Minnesota Twins. The rest as they say…is history.
Arbitration to me has some pretty stupid points.
The common purpose for it, correct me if I’m wrong, is for players that are due a raise after their third year in the league. I’m a Marlins, fan and I completely agree some players (Dan Uggla) are incredibly underpaid from others. Hence why arbitration is a positive.
As far as my understanding, arbitration should be for three year veterans whose output has far surpassed the league minimum they are getting. Ok. No problems with that…..
But then there’s the Ryan Howards…..the Erik Bedards…and the Adam LaRoches.
Please let me start with the latter. LaRoche puts up decent numbers for an everyday first baseman. But the keyword is decent! LaRoche had THE SAME EXACT NUMBERS in 2008 as 2007 and….get this: gets a raise up to 7.05 (up two mill). Why? Am I the only baseball fan that heard the news and looked up if he were deserving? Let me say I’m aware of not being a major leaguer, but business is business. Competiveness drives my career. If I produce the same 2009 as 2008, the last thing I’m deserving of is a raise.
LaRoche, like most arbitration clients, benefit from the Mark Teixara signings that other teams make. But I’d like to pose the question, if he gives you the same output, why should his salary increase? It should be about what LaRoche brings to the table more so than what the market value for him is.
Ryan Howard is smart to avoid a multiyear contract. No need to compete and better your numbers, just keep the same numbers and you’ll get a raise…every year. Don’t agree? Erik Bedard of the Seattle Mariners won just six games last season and failed to reach 100 innings pitched, but the offseason dealt him a 750,000 raise. Wonder if he called CC and AJ and thanked them for putting a new porch in his house.
Maybe I’m being too critcal. Maybe it isn’t that big a deal and I’m trying to blow it out of proportion. That’s what I’d like the baseball world to decide. Is this just part of the business…or bad business? I would like to say, Can’t wait for the umpire to say “Play Ball” so we can forget about all this. Haha.
Just hours before the Tuesday noon arbitration deadline, the Florida Marlins did come to terms with three players, but interesting was the one they didn’t sign.
Ricky Nolasco, Alfredo Amezaga, and Cody Ross, all agreeing to one year contracts meant the Marlins have either signed or traded 16 or their 17 arbitration elgible players.
Thanks to a healthy 2008 campaign, Nolasco was the ace last season with a 15-8 record and threw over 200 innings. Nolasco agreed to a 2.4 million dollar deal with roughly 50,000 extra if he puts up as good of numbers as last season.
$2.25 million next season with a chance for $25,000 in performance
bonuses, and Amezaga agreed to a deal worth $1.3 million plus $100,000
in available bonuses.
Ross was an every day player (145 games) for the first time in his career and proved his bat would help a lineup, setting career highs in hits, homers, and RBI. Ross will be making the switch in 2009 from centerfield to possibly leftfield with the addition of Cameron Maybin.
As for “The Amazing Amezaga”, he plays wherever the Marlins asking him to. Anywhere from centerfield to short to second and third. Amezaga somehow manages to dig and scrap his way into the lineup (132 games in ’06, 133 in ’07, and 125 in ’08); so keeping him on the roster will prove benefital to the Marlins.
So you would wager before the off-season, of the 17 arbitration eligible players on the Marlins roster, a two All-Star whose brief three year career already has 90 homer runs would be top on your to-do list?
Uggla, seeking $5.35 million, was the only Marlin to exchange salary
figures with the team at Tuesday’s noon deadline. The Marlins countered
with an offer of $4.4 million, which still would represent a massive
raise over the $417,000 Uggla made last season.
Per club policy, the Marlins will cease nogitiations with Uggla and await the February hearing, which will be a three-person panel. If the panel sides with Uggla, the Marlins then could trade the second baseman.
Which in my opinon, is horrible for a man that deserves more than 5.35 million. All-Star teammate Chase Utley puts up near numbers as Uggla, and he signed a seven-year, 85 million dollar deal which puts him annually at 6.5 million.