Tagged: Astros

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun, Lose Your Game.

doublemint1240768803.jpgOK, so the good news is the Marlins’ eleven hits extended their double-digit hit streak to 15 games Wednesday night, a feat that was last accomplished by the St. Louis Browns in 1937.


The bad news is that double-digit hits do absolutely nothing to help a team in the standings when they are complemented by double-digit men left on base, double-digit hits allowed to the opposing team’s lineup, and an attempt to start a double-digit error streak as well.
All in all, not the best night for the Marlins as they faced the Astros in game two of the series at Minute Maid Park. You wouldn’t have thought that watching the top of the first inning, though, as the Fish scored two runs on RBI singles from Cantu and Uggla off of Houston starter Yorman Bazardo to take an early lead. 
Unfortunately, it took Sean West and a side of real bad defense all of half an inning to erase said lead. In the bottom of the first, RBI doubles from Berkman and Tejada, along with ugly errors from Baker and Cantu, allowed Houston to score three runs, and take a 3-2 lead over the Fish.
West bravely battled through another three whole innings after the first, and gave up a total four runs on six hits through four innings, which was, of course, just a real fine start. 
Michael Bourn added insult to errancy when he spent most of the game rubbing the Marlins awful defense into their faces as he flew about the park robbing the lineup of hits and being a general annoyance with his overly zealous fielding (seriously, Mike. You can let some of those go. We promise).
Ross Gload and Chris Coghlan did their best to start a rally for the Fish when Coghlan tripled to open the sixth inning, and Gload doubled him in. Sadly, that run would mark the end of the scoring for the Fish, who for the remainder of the game opted to stand and admire their teammates as they stood on base, rather than do anything to try and bring them home.
Pinto allowed three hits and two runs in the seventh, but it really didn’t matter since the Marlins load ’em and leave ’em offense had already sealed the team’s fate in the game.
So the double-digit hit streak continued for the Fish, and Hanley Ramirez extended his personal hit-streak to 14 games, but it was a losing cause as the Astros took game two Wednesday night. Of course, the Rockies and Phillies couldn’t help us out at all by losing as well (though admittedly, losing would have been a pretty tall order against the Nats and D-backs), and the Marlins are now three games back in the Wild Card and 5 1/2 behind the Phillies in the East.

Good Ricky Returns.

Ricky Jekyll n Hyde.jpgThe last time Ricky Nolasco was on the mound, he sucked. There’s just no other way to categorize what was essentially the worst start of Ricky’s career– a 3 1/3 inning outing in which he allowed 10 runs and single-handedly snapped the Marlins 5 game win streak with his horrific pitching. 

With that in mind, Fish fans were a bit nervous as Ricky took the mound to kick off a three-game series with the Astros–the same team that beat the crap out of him in his last start–Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. 
Apparently Nolasco was looking to make it up to the Marlins. Or, maybe he just knew he needed to do something extremely noteworthy on the mound so that his start wouldn’t be overshadowed by the team’s double-digit hit streak, which was up to 13 games heading into Tuesday’s contest. Either way, mission accomplished as Ricky turned in a performance that was the polar opposite of his last, and dazzled us all by throwing the second (9-inning) complete game of his career. 80 of Ricky’s 115 pitches were for strikes, and he walked nobody, struck out ten, gave up three hits and allowed just two runs in his nine innings of work. 
The game didn’t get off to a great start, and let’s just be honest–it scared us. Nolasco gave up a home run to Carlos Lee in the first inning, right after Lance Berkman doubled. After the dinger, though, Ricky simply shrugged his shoulders and was all like, “it’s cool,” and proceeded to retire 23 straight batters, and allowed just one more hit over the next eight innings. 
The offense, meanwhile, thought it would be a good idea to provide some run support for the dealing Nolasco, and try to steal a little bit of his thunder by hitting in the double-digits for the 14th game in a row. The Marlins had 11 hits on the night, and became the first team to have a string of 14 games with ten or more hits since the St. Louis Browns logged 15 in a row way back in 1937. Hanley Ramirez also kept his personal streak alive as he was 3-for-5, and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. 
Dan Uggla hit a solo shot off of Astros Starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning to tie up the game, and then the Marlins had a little fun with Buddy in the sixth. The Fish batted around as Cantu homered, Hermida hit an RBI single, and Chris Coghlan drew a bases-loaded walk to gain a three-run lead over Houston, and end the night for Norris before three outs could be recorded in the inning. 
Hermida, who was 3-for-4 on the night, was the third Marlin of the game to go deep when he capped off the scoring on a solo shot in the 8th, stretching the Marlins lead to four runs. 
The Fish have now won 9 of their last 11, but since the Rockies and Phillies refuse to lose, they remain two games back of the Wild Card lead, and 4 1/2 games back in the NL East.
Official HLD&S Position: We heart Ricky Nolasco. Uh, the one who pitches complete games and wins and stuff.

And the Fish Take the Series.


Look, kid, we’re beat. Our friggin’ arms are about to fall off in here, and it’d be huge if you could do us all a solid and go at least six tonight.”
Brendan Donnelly’s words to Sean West may not go down in history as the most inspirational pre-game pep talk of all time, but they were all the rookie needed to hear as he made his way out of the bullpen to take the hill in the final game of the Marlins series with the Astros Thursday night at The Shark. 
Actually, to be perfectly honest Donnelly’s words probably won’t go down in history as anything, since I just made them up. But I’m pretty sure somebody had to have said something to West to inspire an outing in which he walked nobody, struck out three and allowed just five hits and one run through six innings of work. Whatever the reason behind his performance, I (obviously) think I speak on behalf of the entire Marlins bullpen when I say THANK YOU, Sean West.
Jorge Cantu got the scoring started off for the Fish when he took a little break from his, uh, break from hitting home runs, and went deep against Mike Hampton in the bottom of the first to give the Marlins the early 2-0 lead. Ronny Paulino also hit a solo shot off of Hampton in the fifth that put the Marlins up 3-1 as the Astros went to their bullpen.

In the end, it turns out the Fish didn’t actually need any of the half-dozen runs they scored off of reliever Chris Sampson in the sixth, but it was entertaining to watch them do it anyway. Ten Marlins came to bat in the inning, and RBI from Helms, Gload, Coghlan, Bonifacio and Ramirez put another six runs on the board to make it a 9-1 ball game. 

After the game, Sampson, who walked two and gave up five hits and six runs in 2/3 of an inning, was optioned to AAA… and another one bites the dust courtesy of the Fish and their smoking bats.

Chris Coghlan’s single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to twelve games, while Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4 to stretch his own hit-streak to nine games. As a team, the Marlins extended a streak as well– the Fish have now logged double-digit hits in ten straight games, with 11 hits off of the Astros in the series finale.
Brian Sanches pitched two scoreless innings in relief of West, and Chris Leroux–who was recalled from AA Jacksonville Thursday to take Tim Wood’s place on the roster, and promptly sent back there after the game–gave up two walks, two hits and a run to the Astros before he recorded three outs in the ninth. (We’re going to have to stop allowing Matt Lindstrom to give these kids pointers before they pitch.)
The Marlins took three out of four from the Astros, and remain 4 1/2 games back from the Phillies in the East, and three games back of the wild card-leading Rockies, who are in town for a three-game series which starts tonight.
Let’s hope the Fish have some hits left in them for the weekend.

The Win-Streak Endeth

tired bullpen.jpgThey say all good things must come to an end, and the Marlins, led by Ricky Nolasco, proved the old adage true in very convincing fashion Wednesday night at Land Shark Stadium as they took on the Astros in the third game of the series. 

To be honest, I’m not really sure why anyone would want to suffer the torture of reliving the nightmare that was Wednesday’s game, so if you want to spare yourself the agony, feel free to stop reading right…here
But in case you happen to enjoy mentally brutalizing yourself, I’ll go ahead and share the highlights (lowlights?) of the contest. 
To put it simply, game three went real bad for the Fish as Nolasco lasted all of 3 1/3 innings and gave up a career-high ten runs to Houston. 
The Marlins’ already overworked bullpen, which handled 4 innings in Monday’s game and another 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday, had to be called on once again to piece together the game. Tim Wood took over for Ricky and allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings of work, courtesy of the second three-run homer of the night by Hunter Pence. Calero, Pinto and Donelly each pitched scoreless innings, and Matt Lindstrom–still not looking terribly sharp after is return from the DL–gave up two hits in the eighth, one of which was a home run to Geoff Blum. 
The Marlins offense scored five runs off of Astros starter Bud Norris, and with 14 hits managed to extend their streak of games with double-digit hits to nine. Hanley Ramirez was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, and Chris Coghlan extended his personal hitting streak to 11 games when he hit an RBI single in the eighth. But the Marlins’ offense couldn’t overcome the rough start by Ricky Nolasco, and the Fish fell to the Astros to snap their five-game win streak. 
Losses happen. One thing is certain, though– they’re going to keep happening if our starters don’t go deeper into games. The bats may be hot right now, but the unfortunate reality is that even double-digit hits and runs are not always going to overcome a rotation of starters who last a mere 3-5 innings a night. 
Sean West will get a chance to reverse the recent trend tonight as the Fish go for the series win against the Astros. If his last outing is any indication, um, we could be in for a fun night. Thankfully Chris Leroux and his fresh arm were called up from Jax today (to replace Tim Wood, who was optioned to AAA after the game), and are on standby in case West decides he’s only good for three innings. 

Fish Win Fifth Straight… I Think.

blockedview.JPGThe way the Marlins have been scoring runs of late, a little five-run deficit Tuesday night honestly felt more like a mild annoyance, rather than a sign that the game might end poorly for the Fish.

Not that I would have been able to see a sign of any kind from where I was sitting as the Marlins took on the Astros in game two of the series at Land Shark Stadium. I’m not complaining, though, because while I missed a good 90% of what happened on the field, I did have a charming view of the backs of several strangers who were–quite literally–on the edge of their seats the entire game.   

Tell me again why we didn’t need to use eleventy billion taxpayer dollars to build an actual baseball facility for the Marlins? Exactly. (HLD&S’s stellar sight lines pictured top left. Please read the following recap with that view of the game in mind.)  
Chris Volstad seemed sharp to start the game, and pitched fairly well through four innings, but that’s where the good news about his outing ends… Unless you count as good news the fact that he didn’t give up a home run for the first start in a long while. I personally don’t, seeing as the Astros didn’t have a need to go deep, since Chris seemed happy enough to give up half-a-dozen runs to the team the old-fashioned way.
In the top of the fifth, Volstad suddenly forgot how to throw strikes, and before he could record the third out of the inning, Houston had scored five runs to give the them a 6-2 lead over the Fish. 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, three walks and six runs were what we enjoyed from Chris before the bullpen took over in the game. Fantastic.  
One bad inning from Volstad may have been all it took to put the Fish in a hole, but thankfully one bad inning from Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt was all it took for the Marlins to begin to claw their way out of it. Oswalt, much like Volstad, pitched well to start, but he gave up four runs in the sixth on four straight hits and two bases-loaded walks to bring the Fish within a run.   
Down by one in the seventh, John Baker, who also had an RBI single in the sixth, hit a two-run double to give the Marlins the lead.
With the Fish up 8-7, Leo Nunez headed out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth, and I pleaded with him to give us a 1-2-3 inning. He ignored me, of course (because it just wouldn’t be a Marlins game without somebody giving up runs in the ninth inning, now would it?). Leo gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Geoff Blum to tie the game. 
Renyel Pinto and Brian Sanches pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings respectively, and then the collective yawns of the home crowd signaled to the boys that it was time to end this thing.
Chris Coghlan and Nick Johnson drew walks to open the bottom of the eleventh, but things didn’t look too promising for the Fish when Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms both struck out. But then John Baker drew a walk, and Dan Uggla, who was 3-for-5 in the game, came through with his first walk-off hit of the season. Dan’s single scored Coghlan, and gave the Marlins their fifth win in a row.
The Fish not only extended their win streak Tuesday night, they also added an eighth game to their double-digit hit streak, and pulled within 2 games of the National League wild card lead.
Sounds like it was a good game. Would have been lovely to see it.

The Streak Continues! (uh, for Fish, not  Coghlan)


Fresh off their sweep of the Phillies on the road, the Marlins were back in town to kick off a four-game set with the Houston Astros Monday night at Land Shark Stadium, and to prove to themselves (and maybe the Nationals) that they are also capable of handling teams which are not in first place.
Brian Moehler was on the mound for the Astros, and the Marlins welcomed their old buddy back with open arms… and with an RBI from Jorge Cantu, a two-run double from John Baker and a sac fly from Cody Ross to take a four-run lead in the first. We missed you, Moehler.
Brian didn’t allow another run in his five innings of work, but the Marlins took the lead in the first, and wouldn’t give it up. (Aw crap, I just gave away the ending. My bad.)
It was Rick VandenHurk making the start for the Fish, and he also seemed to be making a very concerted effort to cram a complete game’s worth of pitches into five innings. Vandy didn’t have a bad start Monday night, but he didn’t necessarily make it look too easy through five innings against the Astros. Hurk managed to get through a shaky first without giving up a run, but he wasn’t as lucky in the second when, um, big-formidable-power-hitter Darin Erstad took him deep to put two runs on the board for Houston. With five hits, three walks, four K’s and two runs to his credit, Hurk was finished after five innings and 97 pitches. 
The Marlins added three runs in the sixth inning off of Astros reliever Chris Sampson, who balked in a run with the bases loaded, and then paid for several intentional walks. Sampson put Gload on base to pitch to Chris Coghlan, who answered with an RBI single, and then decided to try his luck at the strategy again by walking Nick Johnson intentionally with Hanley Ramirez on deck. It’s not often you’ll see a team choose to walk a guy to pitch to Hanley, and he showed the Astros why when he batted in his 75th run of the season. 
All eyes were on Chris Coghlan as he attempted to add on to his streak of eight consecutive multi-hit games, but while the rookie reached base three times, he only got one hit on the night. While that streak came to an end, though, the team kept their streak of double-digit hits alive for the seventh game in a row.
Headed into the ninth, the Marlins lead 8-3, and Lindstrom came in to record the final three outs of the game. Or that was the idea, anyway. Normally when a pitcher comes in to pitch the ninth with a five-run lead, it’s not considered a save situation. But I did say it was Matt Lindstrom coming in pitch, and we all know that with him, pretty much any and every situation can be considered a save (as in, he’ll probably need to be saved from the situation he gets himself into when he gives up multiple walks, hits and runs). Matty only got through 1/3 of the ninth inning, and gave up three runs–one earned. In fairness to Matt, Uggla’s error didn’t exactly help him out.

Fredi pulled Lindstrom for Leo Nunez, and Leo must have wanted to make Chris Sampson feel a little better about his rough sixth inning, so he balked in a run before recording the save for the Marlins. 

The Fish have now won four straight, and are just 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the East. Hopefully they can keep the hot streak going Tuesday night as Chris Volstad takes the hill in the second game of the series. 

Let’s gain more ground, shall we? Thanks.