27 April 2011
The Marlins had a dramatic walk off Monday, where able to come from behind in the middle of the game Tuesday, and Wednesday the Marlins went to extra innings but failed to get the sweep. The Marlins were in a bad situation when Buck grounded out to end the 9th inning. With Anibal Sanchez only going 5 innings the Marlins had gone through all of their bullpen pitchers except Brian Sanches after the 9th , and when Buck came in to pitch hit it ment that the Marlins had no back up catchers left. In the 10th inning Ethier, who extended his hit streak to 24 game, hit a lead off home run off of Sanches, the first run Sanches has given up all year, to give the Dodgers the 5-4 lead and the win. There will be some second guessing of how manager Edwin Rodriguez handled the game. Anibal was pulled after five innings and only throwing 74 pitches (but he did throw 123 in his complete game in his last outing) and Edward Mujica only threw one pitch before being taken out. Although neither of those were really an issue since the game only went 10 innings, had that game gone into the 13th then there would have been real issues. However the failure to come pull the game out Wednesdy can not over shadow the excitement of the Marlins comeback on Monday night.
Monday with the Marlins down a run a run in the 9th and Emilio Bonifacio on first, Hanley Ramirez, who had been given the night off because of his slump at the plate, had a pitch hit single to advance Emilio to third. Scott cousin came up next and hit a soft roller to SS Jamey Carroll had the ball go under his glove and allowed Bonifacio to score from third. After a walk to Chris Coughlan to load the bases with two outs, Omar Infante, who had made a couple of mistakes earlier in the game, redeemed himself with a walk off hit that went over LF Jerry Sands head. The Marlins, including Logan Morrison who still had a cast on his injured foot at the time, went nuts and jumped on Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez in celebration.
As with every series I try to look for performances that really stood out to me, or could play a big role for the Marlins as the season progresses. Against the Rockies I talked about how Infante finally made his impact on a game with his bat (and he did it again with a walk off hit Monday against the Dodgers). For this series I need to talk about the outstanding play of Chris Coghlan who now leads the team in RBI, doubles, and is tied for the lead in home runs. Coghlan got off to an ice cold April last year, but in 2011 after another poor week and half of the season he has really turned it on. Remember Coghlan did not play with his teammates in spring training until the final week and out of position in centerfield this year. Yet despite that Coghlan has played better than anyone could have hoped for defensively in center field, and since April 10th when his batting average dropped to .200, Coghlan has gone 19 for 51 and has raised his average to .297. While it is very doubtful that Coghlan will continue to lead the team in home runs and RBIs, their is a very good chance that he will continue to swing the bat like he is. Looking back to 2009, and through out Coghlan career, everything points to him hitting over .300 and probably closer to .320 right now in his prime. Unfortuently Coghlan took himself out of the game Wednesday because of pain in his right shoulder became to painful to play with in the 7th inning. The Marlins have a day off tomorrow, and Coghlan believes he should be able to play on Friday.
The biggest surprise to me in this series was the game that Chris Volstad had on Tuesday night. He had his best outing of 2011 against the Dodgers going seven innings and giving up only two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. Volstad had given up 5 runs in each of the last two games and had not made it past 5.1 innings in any of this three other starts. What you would like from Volstad as your fifth starter is for him to make it through six innings every start and to have his ERA at about 4.00-4.15, if he can do that and sprinkle in a performance like he gave Tuesday night, it would take some pressure off of JJ, Anibal and Nolasco from feeling like the must go out and get a win every single time they make a start.
The Marlins now have to go to Cincinnati where hopefully slumping hitters Hanley Ramirez and John Buck can break out of it in a big way. The Great American Ball Park very well known as a ball park that you will get a lot of home runs. After Colorado, the park in Cincinnati is probably the best home run hitters park in the National League, so it maybe just what power hitters Buck and Ramirez (combined have just 1 home run). The Marlins really need production out of these guys soon. Although the Marlins have played well lately (went 7-2 in home stand), they have been winning most of their games because of their pitching. Marlins have been able to score by stringing together a few hits, but they are still going long periods in games without hits.
However this also means that the Marlins bullpen, which has been slipping in the last few games, will need to be at the top of their game. The Reds have one of the most potent lineups in the NL (1st in runs and home runs in 2011), and while the Marlins bullpen is still statistically one of the best in MLB in the last 4 games they have given up 9 hits, 5 walks and 5 run in 11.2 innings. Even the best bullpens in the league go through rough streches at time during the year, I know I am with all Marlins fans in praying that this is all this is.
The Marlins start their series in Cincinnati Friday:
- Friday at 7:10-- Vazquez vs. Wood
- Saturday at 7:10-- Johnson vs. Volquez
- Sunday at 4:10-- Nolasco vs. Arroyo
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