Tagged: Brett Carroll

You Can’t Spell Badenhop Without… SV?

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.


After back-to-back extra-innings losses to the Reds, the Marlins and Chris Volstad took the field Wednesday against Homer Bailey and Cincinnati to try and right the ship.

And, well, consider the ship righted. At least for the day. Good pitching, good defense, record-breaking RBI, a near cycle, and the Hopper’s first career save were all it took to end the Marlins two-game losing streak. Too bad it wasn’t televised, and hardly anybody got to see it. But, you know, there was a very good poker game on FSFL, so…

The Fish didn’t have much trouble with Bailey. They got off to a quick start when Baker doubled to score Maybin and put the Marlins on the board in the first, and added another run in the second inning when Volstad helped out his own cause with a single that scored Gaby Sanchez from third.

Brett Carroll was activated from the DL Wednesday and made his season debut in left field. Cogz was banged up from his wild catch on Tuesday, and had the night off, and let’s just say Brett made up for lost time. After a double in his first at bat, he launched a solo home run in the fourth inning, and finished the night a triple short of the cycle. Welcome back, BC.

All eyes were on Jorge Cantu as he attempted to extend his RBI streak to nine games, and set a new Major League record. After he grounded into a double play and struck out in his first two at-bats, Jorge launched a ball to deep left for a home run in the bottom of the fifth. With that RBI, Jorge has now driven in a run in all nine games to start the season. He’s the first player to do so since the RBI became an official stat in 1920. (Hip Hip!…)

The Marlins added on in the sixth with another RBI from John Baker, and Homer Bailey’s night was done after giving up five runs on eight hits through 5 1/3 innings. 

Volstad went a little deeper into the game and had a 5-1 lead with two out in the seventh inning. Then, on his last pitch of the game, Vols served up a 2-run home run to Paul Janish to bring the Reds within two. Chris left the game after 6 2/3 innings, having allowed three runs on five hits, and 5 Ks. 

As a grande finale to a great game, it was Burke Badenhop who was called on to close. Hopper tossed two perfect innings, and struck out Laynce Nix looking to end the game for his first career save. 

Let’s have another one like that Thursday, shall we?

Consider the Curse Reversed

Man_Jump_for_Joy.jpgAnother pitchers duel was in order for the Marlins and Reds as they faced off in game two of their series Friday night at the Great American Ball Park. 

Rick VandenHurk was on the Hill for the Marlins, and had a great night as he allowed just one run on four hits in six strong innings of work. It was too bad for Vandy that Homer Bailey went one better and tossed seven scoreless innings, and allowed just three hits to the Fish, taking away Hurk’s chance at the W. 

One measly run was all the offense to speak of until the eighth inning, when the Reds scored an insurance run off of Brendan Donnelly. With closer Francisco Cordero coming in to pitch the ninth, it seemed that the Marlins would go quietly for their tenth loss in a row at the Great American Ball Park. 
Only they didn’t. 

The Fish rallied in the ninth. Coghlan led off the inning by reaching base on what was ruled an error, but was actually a base hit (we promise). Hanley Ramirez singled with one out, and Jorge Cantu drove in Coghlan to put the Fish on the board. Dan Uggla’s ground out scored Hanley, and Baker blooped a single into left to score Cantu and give the Fish the lead. After a single from Cody Ross, Jared Burton came out of the bullpen to replace Cordero.

Burton promptly gave up an RBI double to Brett Carroll, and the Marlins took a 4-2 lead. 

It was up to Leo Nunez (gulp) to shut down the Reds in the bottom half of the ninth, and given Leo’s affinity for the home run, and considering the tiny confines of the GABP, that was no small task. 
Naturally, Nunez gave up a long ball to pinch hitter Juan Francisco to lead off the bottom of the ninth and to put the Reds within a run. But that was all for the Reds, and Leo struck out two and closed it out for his 23rd save of the season. 
Brett Carroll’s RBI double ended up being the difference in the game, and for the first time since 2006, the Fish won a game in Cincinnati

Join us in a Victory dance, won’t you??!! 

And the Moral of the Story? Fighting = good.


We’ve been told our whole lives that fighting doesn’t solve anything. 
It would appear we’ve been lied to.
A few days ago, the Marlins looked about as likely to reach the post season as I am to win the lottery this week. And then, well, a few of the Fish engaged in a clubhouse screaming match, and things have suddenly taken a turn for the better (well, things not including HLD&S’s skills with photoshop. Those have decidedly taken a turn for the very worst).
After Wednesday’s roller coaster of a win, Ricky Nolasco took the ball for the Marlins Thursday night in the series finale with the Braves. Ricky was looking to help the Marlins split the four-game series, and despite some struggles in the fifth inning, he had a pretty nice night on the mound. 
The Braves scored a run in the second inning on a Brian McCann homer before Ricky got into some trouble in the top of the fifth when he loaded up the bases with one out. The inning could easily have gotten out of hand, but Nolasco limited the damage to two RBI singles that put the Braves up 3-1. Nolasco gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out seven before he exited after six innings, down two runs to Atlanta.  
It’s pretty fortunate for the Fish that it took Braves starter Tommy Hanson 104 pitches to get through five innings, because an implosion of the Braves bullpen was in order, and his annoyingly quality start was getting in the way. In five innings of work, Hanson allowed just one run on two hits, one of which was an RBI double from Maybin that tied the game in the third.
With Kris Medlen out of the bullpen in the sixth, Brett Carroll got the fun started when he doubled to score John Baker and bring the Marlins within a run. Next, Hanley Ramirez slapped a pinch-hit single to score Brett and tie up the game. Cody Ross and Chris Coghlan both doubled in a run, and after a call to the bullpen, Nick Johnson and Jorge Cantu hit RBI singles to give the Marlins a 7-3 lead.
The Marlins would score once more in the game, while Florida’s bullpen put in a scoreless three innings to finish off the Braves. Sanches and Pinto each tossed an inning, Lindstrom closed it out, and the Marlins split the series. 
The Fish are tied with Atlanta for fourth place in the Wild Card, and if we can keep the fire going that the clubhouse scuffle seems to have ignited, things might actually be interesting to watch over the next few series.

Um, Hanley? Did you hear what Uggla said about your mom?

The Marlins are trying to kill us.

gaby pine copy.jpgFish fans all over the world danced through the streets Tuesday, shedding tears of joy and relief at the news the Marlins had at last called up third baseman Gaby Sanchez from Triple-A New Orleans. 

Not that Sanchez is the surefire answer to all or any of the Marlins offensive woes, but fans have been excited to see what Gaby can do, and more importantly, if he can do it better (if slightly slower) than Emilio Bonifacio.

The relief and joy were short-lived.
Quickly after the news of the call-up, Fredi Gonzalez announced to the media that he would use Gaby “as a pinch-hitter…[blah blah blah]…here and there…[blah blah blah].” 
Allow me to translate: 
Bonerface isn’t going anywhere, people. For reasons no sane person will ever understand, we are still wildly enamored with Emilio, and he is staying put at third base. Meanwhile, we fully intend to use Gaby Sanchez in much the same way that we used Brett Carroll earlier this season– as pine ornamentation.”
As easy as he is on the eyes, Marlins, I think I speak for all Fish fans when I say, that is not what we had in mind.
Like everyone else, I’m struggling to understand why Gaby was called up at all. He’s not here to start. He’s not here to platoon with Bonifacio. And if his role is really going to be off the bench, the question is why? Why call up Sanchez to use him in a role that is typically far better suited to veteran hitters, which we already have in Helms and Gload? 
Have we learned nothing from Brett Carroll? 
The same thing was done to Brett earlier in the season when the Marlins dubbed him Keeper of the Bench, using him as a defensive specialist and a pinch hitter “here and there.” Nobody got to see what Brett was capable of offensively because he was getting roughly one at-bat per month. Fredi even admitted that it wasn’t fair that they hardly used him, and when they finally started putting him in the lineup, Brett produced. And now they’re going the same ride-the-pine route with Gaby Sanchez.
If Gaby’s not going to play, then why is he here? Honestly, I can only come up with one thing: The Marlins are trying to torture us to death. Because impossible as it may seem, they have actually figured out a way to make The Bonifacio Experiment even more excruciating for fans to endure. Now, not only do we have to deal with watching Emilio be…Emilio, we have to be teased mercilessly by the presence of Gaby Sanchez, sitting so invitingly mere yards away, yet having no chance to prove that maybe, just maybe, he could be an improvement over Speedy the Out Machine.
I think I finally have an idea what it must be like to die of thirst when lost at sea, surrounded by billions of gallons of water.
Enjoy the pain, Fish fans. I have a feeling it’s here to stay.

Reason #678,883,215 to Hate West Coast Road Trips


I knew better than to turn off the TV. 

I knew
it, and yet the beckoning of my pillow and binky uh, blanket were far too strong to resist. It
didn’t help that Andrew Miller had been yanked from the game after just 2 2/3 innings, leaving the Fish in a 6-run hole to open their series against the Diamondbacks. 

Losing sleep for an exciting
game is one thing. Losing it to watch the Marlins get routed is quite another. Off to bed I went. 

And then?

Well, then all… heaven broke
loose. Heaven, as in THE BIGGEST INNING IN MARLINS HISTORY and the biggest comeback of the season. The Fish, who were down 7-0 at one point, scored 10
runs in the eighth inning. The go-ahead run came on a pinch-hit, 3-run shot by Brett
Carroll–the first pinch-hit home run of his career. 

And I was asleep. 



I woke to the news of the Marlins comeback mocking me from my radio, unsure whether to rejoice that they won, or weep bitterly that I missed one of the most exciting innings of all time. I opted for a little of both, but never again will that decision have to be made. Because I don’t intend to miss any more Marlins baseball. Ever.

Tonight, as The Fish get set for game two
against Arizona, I’ll be enjoying a dinner of No Doz, Five Hour Energy
shots and triple espressos, washed down with some Red Bull and perhaps a Monster
Energy drink or two. 

Score all the early runs you want, D-Backs,
but I will not be deterred. 

I don’t even intend to blink. 


Another Stormy Night at Land Shark Stadium.

stormy stadium.jpg

And we aren’t talking about the weather.
When Jorge Cantu slapped a single to left to score Bonifacio in the bottom of the 12th, a 5-year-old Orioles fan scrunched up his face, threw back his head and wailed unabashedly and inconsolably, tears gushing down his little cheeks. 
If it were socially acceptable for grown adults to express their feelings in such a manner, HLD&S would have created a similar spectacle in the top of the ninth, when Matt Lindstrom obliterated a beautiful start from Andrew Miller, a grand slam from Hanley Ramirez and the Marlins’ 3-run lead.
“Stormy” recorded the first two outs in the ninth inning against the Orioles Tuesday night, then proceeded to give up two runs on four straight hits. After Lindstrom was lifted, Brian Sanches allowed a run to score, sending the game into extra innings. 
And that is the last time HLD&S will turn to our neighbor in the top of the ninth to remark on what a charmingly fast-paced game we are enjoying.
After a few scoreless innings from Burke Badenhop, and some stellar defense from the Fish, luckily–or perhaps more fitting a word would be miraculously–Bonifacio managed not to swing at four balls from Brian Bass to draw a leadoff walk in the twelfth. Emilio then took second on a wild pitch and scored on Jorge Cantu’s single, almost making us forget about all the rest of his at-bats in the game. (Almost.)
We’ll just save the whining about Lindstrom continuing to close. To say that Marlins fans are growing weary of the ninth-ining theatrics is stating the overly obvious, and anyway, who else is going to pitch the ninth? Kiko Calero is already on the DL, and Leo Nunez was taken out of the game in the eighth inning Tuesday due to an ankle sprain. Plus, given Fredi’s “stick with him” position, resistance is futile. Matt Lindstrom is the closer, and we will all continue to experience elevated blood pressure, mild strokes, panic attacks and hyperventilation in save situations until he finally learns how to get that third out, or blows enough games to be demoted from his current role. 
Incidentally, after nearly every game Brett Carroll plays, there is an intense struggle between our desire for all major news outlets to shout from the rooftops the greatness of his cannon of an arm, and the selfish desire to keep Brettley as unheralded as possible so that teams will continue to foolishly try and run on him. What to do, what to do.
The Marlins seventh win in the last ten games brings them back to .500 for the first time since May 13th. 


In a HLD&S exclusive, Bullpen catcher Jeffrey Urgelles was seen displaying a bit of a temper after the Fish Matt Lindstrom blew the lead in the ninth against the Orioles Tuesday night. Fans who witnessed the scene were mildly surprised, as it’s pretty rare to see a show of emotion from the Marlins bullpen. Um, but then again, it has to be extremely physically taxing trying to hold that “please enjoy my bottom, ladies” pose through extras. (We recommend Icy Hot, Urgs.)

Fan Flu and Fish Firsts

johnny bakes bat.jpgYes, I have been MIA for a while. Thank you for noticing. This past week I have been battling with an illness that I have termed “fan flu,” since I’m 99% positive that I contracted this particular strain of unidentified illness at Land Shark Stadium over the weekend. 

Don’t ask.

During my recent battle between life and death (that may be a mild exaggeration of what has actually transpired the last few days), the Marlins decided to get all newsworthy and stuff by going on a tear of first time achievements: 
~ Sean West recorded his first big league win in style, by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning against San Francisco Monday.
~ Brett Carroll hit his first major league home run Monday– off Randy Johnson, no less– and very nearly became the first Marlin to hit for the cycle, falling just a double short. (as a side note, thank you, Fredi, for finally giving Brett the chance to start a few games. When one can take ones BA from .212 to .270 in a mere four plate appearances, one is quite obviously not getting enough playing time. Official HLD&S position: let Brett play!)
~ Jeremy Hermida decided to get in on the fun Tuesday night against the Cards, and jacked the first walk-off home run of his career. The solo shot very nearly made up for the, um, “defense” we enjoyed from Jeremy during the earlier part of the game. 
~ Emilio Bonifacio enjoyed the first 3-RBI game of his career Tuesday, and his first error-free start of the season (OK, I made that last part up. It only feels like a first. And by the way, Emilio, while I enjoyed the win last night, I sort of wish you would stop taking a hiatus from sucking whenever we start to have a glimmer of hope that the Marlins are done giving you chances.)
~ The Fish have won six of their last nine, ensuring their first winning homestand since opening week. 
~ In what I refer to as “a taste of his own medicine,” Johnny Bakes took his first Albert Pujols backswing off the skull in Tuesday’s game, which required his first six stitches of the season…
All right, now I’m starting to push it. Back to orange juice and ice packs for me. 

RHP Aniburke Sanchenhop

aniburke sanchenhop rhp.jpgIs it me, or does it seem as though the Marlins’ bats enjoy going into a collective coma whenever we get a quality performance from a starter (see: Friday and Sunday vs. Mets)? And when a starter decides to have a dismal performance on the mound *cough* Miller&Sanchez *cough*, the wood springs to life like an ADHD-afflicted six-year-old who has just ingested several bottles of 5-hour energy. 

OK, maybe that doesn’t happen every time, but it feels like it. Last night was a case in point, as Ani Sanchez could barely manage three innings, and the Fish scored 10 runs. Dan Uggla connected on his 100th home run, making MLB history as the fastest second baseman to reach that milestone. Cody Ross blasted his second grand salami of the season. Even Brettley Carroll got in on the action, going 2-for-4 and capitalizing on a rare opportunity to start in RF.
Then again, half of the runs scored in last night’s game came after the second starter of the night took the mound. Burke Badenhop tossed five scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and one walk to the Brew Crew. The Hopper and his terrific start–er, relief appearance were definitely one of the highlights in a game chock full of them. After his performance last night, I heard several references to Burke as the “unsung hero” of the pitching staff. Um, clearly you haven’t been reading HLD&S, people. We’ve been singing at the top of our lungs for quite some time. Call it Hopper: The Musical. Our throats hurt. 
If Badenhop will be called on to put in the equivalent of a quality start whenever Sanchez or Miller pitches, I guess I no longer need to worry about campaigning for his spot in the rotation (although it might be fun to see Sanchy sent to the ‘pen to “battle through” a couple innings after the Hopper takes care of business through five or six). From here on out I don’t think we should look at it as long relief. Let’s just call it “starter by committee.” 
Fun fact: No one on the Marlins pitching staff has more wins this season than Burke Badenhop. True story.