24 April 2011
As Josh Johnson left the game after the 7th it seemed as though everything was set up for him to get another win. The horrendous bullpen of 2010 that blew 7 Josh Johnson wins has transformed into on of the best in the majors in 2011, and the Marlins just needed Clay Hensley to pitch the 8th and Leo Nunez to close out the 9th. But that is why they play the game. A lead off hit by Ty Wiggington, a bunt single by Dexter Fowler, a pass ball by John Buck allowing the runners to move up and next thing you know Troy Tulowitzki hits a double off the wall and the game is tied. Lucky for the Marlins Mike Stanton is starting to warm up. After a hit by Infante and a walk to Gaby, Mike Stanton came to the plate and hit his second homer of the year to put the Marlins ahead for good.
Sure Stanton came up big, and Josh was outstanding once again for the Marlins, my game ball Sunday has to go to Omar Infante. With the memories of last Sundays failures to come up big against the Philies certainly still in the back of his mind, Omar Infante came to the plate in the 5th today with the bases loaded against Ubaldo Jimenez and broke up a no hitter. He actually did more than that, he ripped the ball into right field for a bases clearing triple. This was the first big moment for Omar Infante, who has struggled since coming to Florida this year. Going into this series I suggested that the Marlins may want to consider moving Infante down in the order and have Bonifacio bat lead off, while I do not think I was wrong (outside of the 3RBI triple today, their numbers are pretty much the same in ther series) it was nice to see Infante step up in a big situation.
As huge as that Infante hit was, the biggest story for the Marlins in this series was their starting pitching. On Sunday, Josh Johson had a no hitter going into the 6th inning, and ended up pitching 7 innings only giving up 3 hits, 1 run, and striking out 6, 5 of which came in his first time through the Rockies order. Dexter Fowler was the one who broke up Johnson's no hitter, and he was also the one who Friday night broke up Anibal Sanchez no hitter in the 9th inning. For the game Sanchez pitched went for a complete game, giving up 1 hit, 1 unearned run, 3 walks, and struck out 9. For the year the Marlins have one of the best pitching staffs, and the best bullpen in the majors statistically coming into today. Marlins starting pitchers are number two in the league in ERA and have also allowed the fewest amount of hits in the majors. That is also with pitchers Chris Volstad and Javier Vasquez (6IP, 3ER, 4H, 5BB, 5K on Saturday vs. the Rockies) not really pitching all that well, with a combined record of (2-3) and ERA's of 6.60 and6.52 respectively. However, while the Marlins starting pitchers numbers will improve after today's performance the bullpens numbers are going to fall a bit after setup man Clay Hensley blew the lead giving up 2 runs in the 8th.
I really do not how to explain it people who missed this weekends games just how dominating Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson were. For Anibal this was his best performance since his no hitter and 2006 and is a great story when you consider how many injuries he has had to come back from since then. Anibal has pitched very well at home this year, it has been away from South Florida that he has struggled a bit. He has a 1.23 ERA at home and a 6.65 ERA away from Sun Life Stadium for a 3.55 overall ERA. As for Josh Johnson, he has now had no hitters broken up in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th innings this year. And for Josh in 34 inning pitched he has given up only 13 hits and 5 total runs, only 3 of which were earned. While I would not expect these guys to throw near perfect games every time out, but if they can continue to pitch they way they have all year, plus a Ricky Nolasco who is also pitching well, the Marlins are in for a very special season.
The Rockies came to South Florida with the best record in baseball, and the Marlins were able to play very well against them to take 2 of 3. Anibals steller performance gave the Marlins a 4-1 win on Friday where they out hit the Rockies 9-1 as well. On Saturday the Marlins lost 3-1, but still had 7 hits and giving up 3 runs to a dangerous lineup like the one the Rockies have is not too bad. The today the Marlins beat the Rockies 6-3, and Mike Stanton and Omar Infante, two players who were struggling coming into the series, really stepped up. The Marlins have now improved to 13-7 despite their super star Hanley Ramirez really struggling. Hanley, who usually bats over .300, is now hitting .182 in 2011 after going 0-12 with 3 strikeout and leaving 10 men on base versus the Rockies. This makes the fact that the Marlins have one of the best records in baseball even more impressive. However the Marlins are going to need productivity out of Hanley soon, especially while Logan Morrison is on the DL, but the best thing for him maybe to take a day off to take a breath and not press so much.
The Marlisn now have the much talked about Los Angeles Dodgers coming to town:
- Monday at 7:10-- Nolasco v. Garland
- Tuesday at 7:10-- Kershaw v. Volstad
- Wednesday at 12:10-- Sanchez v. Billingsly
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