08 April 2011
Over the last three years the Marlins have been absolutely dominant against the Washington Nationals, and this past they improved their record some more by taking 2-3 against them in Miami. The Marlins were able to bounce back nicely this week after a disappointing series versus the Mets, and also considering they were without Mike Stanton, who is expected to play in this weekends series versus the Astros. Even still this series did end on a disappointing note.
After winning the 1st two games of the series, an extra innings win with a walkoff hit by Donnie Murphy on Tuesday and a come from behind win on Wednesday, the Marlins fell in extra innings (their 3rd extra innings game of the year already) despite having Josh Johnson start the game. Unlike last year, the bullpen of the Marlins cost JJ a win, but rather it was the Marlins defense. Johnson pitched 6 innings striking out 9, giving up 4 hits, 0 walks and 3 runs, but only 1 of which was earned. Errors by John Buck and Hanley Ramirez (3rd in 6 games) help extend innings and resulted in the Nationals actually taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the 6th, before the Marlins tied it back up in the bottom of the inning. The Nationals would eventually take the lead for good in the 11th on an Adam LaRoche 2-run home run off of Edward Mujica.
The bullpen had done a very good job this series against the Nationals, only allowing 10 base runners (7 on walks however) in 13.1 innings of work and no runs until the the 11th inning on Thursday. But even still the Marlins achilies heal all week was its in ability to get hits in key moments. On Tuesday the Marlins left 11 men on base and at one point were hitting 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Wednesday, despite scoring their highest run total of the season, 7, the Marlins left another 10 men on base, and finally on Thursday the Marlins left 8 men on base and only had 2 hits in 6 innings against the Nationals bullpen.
Hopefully the Marlins will score more of these base runners with the addition of Mike Stanton back to the lineup and also with it looking like the Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez are starting to hit the ball better. Chris has gone 5 of his last 10, including 3 doubles on Wednesday night) and Hanley has had an RBI in each of the last two games.
I don't know how upset you can be with a 3-3 start, but I kind of am considering that we played two divisional opponents who are not up to the same caliber that this years Marlins team is. Hopefully the Marlins will be able to make up for it by sweeping the Houston Astros (5-1) who are coming off their first win of the season, and who have played so poorly thus far I already regret picking them to finish 4th in the NL West.
Lastly I wanted to give some props to Greg Dobbs. Dobbs who has only seen time as a lefty pitch hitter has been nothing short of clutch this year, even with hos strikeout on Thursday. Twice already this year he has been called on to hit in a key moment and he has driven in the tying run, and also got a hit and scored a run in the Marlins win on Wednesday. While it is doubtful he will be able to keep up this kind of productivity through out the entire season, but having a clutch bat like him to come off the bench is a huge weapon for the Marlins if he can.
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