Tagged: Cardinals

The Fish Take the Series

Josh+johnson.jpgIt was a cursed day game Wednesday at Busch Stadium, and so HLD&S will base this recap off of the cartoon images on MLB’s GameDay, which South Florida fans were reduced to sneaking peeks at while their boss wasn’t looking… Consider yourself forewarned. 

Josh Johnson was not in top form as he took the mound, but as a true ace, all that meant was that he gave up nine hits in his six innings, most of which did not result in any runs for the Cardinals. JJ pitched out of trouble a few times and held the Cards scoreless until the sixth inning when Julio Lugo drove in St. Louis’s lone run of the game. JJ threw 100 pitches to get through six innings, and the bullpen took over from there.
The Marlins jumped on Joel Pineiro for three runs in the first inning, and played some small ball for a change rather than relying on the home run as they had in Tuesday’s contest. Of their twelve hits in the game, eleven were singles. Five of those singles were hit in the first when the Marlins loaded the bases on consecutive hits. After Dan Uggla lined out to score a run, John Baker and Cody Ross each added RBI singles to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. 
In the second, Josh Johnson helped his own cause when he singled and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Cantu, and Cody Ross added another RBI hit in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and put the Marlins up 5-1. 

The Fish pen handled the seventh and eighth innings with little trouble, but made up for that when Brian Sanches came in to pitch the ninth. Sanches recorded an out, and then the inning got a little dicey. Or a lot dicey. Mark DeRosa doubled, and with runners at second and third, it was Leo Nunez who got the call from the bullpen to come in and try to save it. 

It seems Leo wasn’t thrilled that his afternoon nap had been interrupted by Sanches getting into a bit of trouble, because he promptly hit the first two batters he faced, one of whom was Albert Pujols. The two HBP forced in a run and brought the Cardinals within three. But with Matt Holliday up and the bases still loaded, Nunez induced a ground ball, and a double play that ended the inning. 
Less dramatic endings to games are always preferable, but nonetheless, Leo logged his 22nd save of the season, JJ his 15th win, and the Marlins took the series from the Cardinals. 

W O W (West Outduels Wainwright)


The Marlins had the special privilege of facing Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright as they took on the Cardinals Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. 
With Sean West on the mound, I’ll be honest and admit that HLD&S mentally prepared a recap of the loss in advance. It went something along the lines of: The Marlins were no-hit last night, while rookie Sean West was brutally slaughtered by Pujols, et. al. Our season is over. Go watch football.
It would seem that we despaired a bit too soon, though.  
While Wainwright was, well, Wainwright Tuesday night, Sean West was apparently not in the mood to be outdonedueled. Not even by a pitcher who had three times as many wins as West on the season. 
The two pitchers traded scoreless innings back and forth until the bottom of the fifth, when two singles and a walk got Sean into a bases-loaded jam. With one out and Albert Pujols up, Fish fans muttered multiple expletives as they imagined the worst outcome was mere moments away, and resigned themselves to the fact that the Marlins were going to have to score at least five runs off of Wainwright and the Cardinals bullpen if they were to have any hope of winning the game. 
But Sean West simply ignored the eruption of the crowd, laughed in the face of imminent failure and limited the damage in the inning to just one run. Pujols hit a sac fly to left field that scored the first run of the game and gave St. Louis the lead, and West struck out Holliday to end the threat.
The Fish may have been spurred on by the adrenaline rush of such a close call in the bottom of the fifth, because they finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Nick Johnson singled off of Wainwright, and Dan Uggla jacked his 29th home run of the season to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals. 

Sean West lasted through the sixth inning before he was lifted. The lefty gave up just one run on six hits in his six innings of work, and struck out a career-high nine Cardinals in the process. Wainwright went on to complete the seventh inning, and finished the night having allowed seven hits and two runs, while striking out eight.

Protecting a very fragile one-run lead against a potent lineup, the Marlins went to the bullpen. The ‘pen must have been sprinkled with some of Sean’s magic dust, as they gave up just one hit to St. Louis in three innings. Nunez struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his 21st save, and to preserve Sean West’s seventh win of the season. 
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of the miraculous, the Rockies lost, moving the Fish to within 4 1/2 games of the Wild Card lead.

Fish & Chirps Series Off to a Bad Start


You are amused by the title of this post. I promise.
HLD&S would like to issue a hearty congratulations to its readers for making it through the last several days as your seventeenth-favorite Marlins blog… uh… vacationed in Maui. Now pat yourself on the back, and prepare to read the most electrifying game recap of your entire lifetime. (Or, you know, just get ready for more of the usual drivel.)

There were 19 games left in the season going into Monday night’s series opener with the Cardinals, and the Fish were well aware that every game from there on out needed to be played as though it was game seven of the World Series, if they are to have any hope of winning the Wild Card.* 

Let’s just say that if the Marlins had been playing game seven of a World Series, there would have been no champaign corks popping in their clubhouse at the end of it.

Ricky Nolasco was on the hill for the Marlins and promptly gave up four runs to the Cardinals in the first. He made some good pitches, and the Cardinals hit them. And he made some bad pitches, and the Cardinals hit those too. Ricky threw 45 pitches to get through the first two innings, but he settled down a bit, and got through three without allowing another run.
Former Fish Todd Wellemeyer didn’t fare too well against the Marlins, who scored single runs in the second and third, and followed with a four-run fourth inning to claim the lead. Coghlan tied up the game when he tripled with two men on, and Nick Johnson hit a two-run shot that gave the Fish a 6-4 advantage. 
Wellemeyer’€™s night was over after he gave up six runs on nine hits in just four innings, but in the bottom of the fourth, it was apparent Nolasco wanted nothing to do with prosperity. Ricky did away with the lead and then some as the Cardinals scored three runs on a triple by Lugo and a sac fly by Albert Pujols that put St. Louis up 7-6.
Nolasco was finished after seven runs on ten hits in five innings, and the game would come down to a battle of the bullpens. That was unfortunate, seeing as the Marlins only managed two measly hits off of five different relievers in the last five innings. And seeing as the Cardinals were treated to Matt Lindstrom in the eighth.
Matt gave up four runs on two hits and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning, including a three-run shot to Colby Rasmus that officially sealed the Marlins fate. 
With 18 games left in the season, nights like this will do nothing to help the Marlins cause. The Fish dropped game one of the series, and continue to fade like an old shirt.
Please pass the ketchup and vinegar.
*As discussed in previous entries, HLD&S has no false hopes of this actually happening, but it does make for more exciting blogging if we keep up the facade.

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.