Tagged: Dan Meyer

All’s well that *ends* well. Which is a tough break for the Fish.

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What’s that saying? It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish? 
That’s just too bad for the Marlins, because if we were going purely based on “start” in their series opener against Atlanta Monday night, they’d have had the game in the bag.
(You’ve just read the short version of the recap, so if you’d rather not dwell on the depressing details of the latest Marlins loss, then be content with “it sucked,” and go find something else to do with the next two minutes of your life. However, if you’re into details and/or self-injury, by all means read on to savor the agony…)

With Florida and Atlanta all tied up in the NL East and in the Wild Card, The Fish kicked off an important four-game series Monday night at Land Shark Stadium. Josh Johnson was on the hill for the Marlins, and Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami took the mound for Atlanta. With their ace making the start, the Marlins had the perfect opportunity to gain a game on the Braves in both the division and the Wild Card. 

Sadly, opportunity has to be seized, and it didn’t appear the Marlins bats were up to participating in anything remotely resembling seizure in the series opener. 
JJ was on from the start, and after he handled the Braves nicely through two innings, Jorge Cantu doubled to lead off the bottom of the second. John Baker followed with a single to move Jorge to third, and Uggla hit a sac fly to score the first run of the ball game. 
One run on six hits was all the Marlins would be able to shake out of Kawakami in his six innings of work, but for a while it looked as though one run might actually do the trick, since Josh Johnson was in the mood to tease us all by flirting with a no-hitter for the second time this month.  
JJ took his no-no all the way until two outs in the sixth inning, when Matt Diaz finally singled to record the Braves first base hit of the game. Despite the hit, Josh made it out of the inning without incident, and the Fish maintained their lead. 
For like ten minutes, anyway. 
After Josh recorded two outs in the seventh, things went South. JJ’s energy seemed to fizzle out, and the final out of the inning eluded him. With two men on, Josh gave up a triple to Omar Infante that cleared the bases and gave the lead to the Braves. David Ross was the last batter JJ would face in the inning, and he singled to score Infante and put Atlanta up 3-1. 
Johnson’s night ended after 6 2/3 innings, five hits, three runs and eight strikeouts. Brian Sanches recorded the last out of the seventh, but by then the damage was done, and the Fish had a two-run hole to dig themselves out of… Um, but instead of the lineup digging the Marlins out of the hole, the bullpen worked on digging aforementioned hole even deeper. 
Sanches hit Diaz to open the bottom of the eighth, and intentionally walked Chipper Jones before Dan Meyer took over and gave up two straight singles to put the Braves up 5-1. 
The Fish made things mildly interesting in the bottom of the ninth when Cantu doubled, and Uggla drove him in with a two-out double of his own for his second RBI of the game. But that was all the offense the team could muster on a night when the Marlins managed eight hits– none of which came from their superstar. Hanley Ramirez was 0-for-4 again, marking his third game in a row without a hit. 
JJ suffered his fourth loss of the season, and a night that started with promise ended miserably for the Marlins. Suddenly, rather than lamenting the lost no-hitter, the Fish were lamenting another series-opening
loss, which set the team back farther in both the division and the Wild Card, and brought the month of August to a close at an even 14-14. 
.500 baseball isn’t going to win the Wild Card, Fish. 

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Fish Win. For Real.

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While the majority of the nation celebrates Independence Day, HLD&S is celebrating a far more important event in history: the Marlins have finally won a game against the Pirates this season. 
Big Game Andrew had a nice night on the mound (other than trying out his best Chris Volstad impersonation by serving up two home runs), and earned a win for the first time in almost a month as the Fish took on the Buccos in game two of the series at Land Shark Stadium. Miller gave up a total of three runs on eight hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings.

While BGA did his thing, Hanley decided that after going 0-for-4 Friday night, he’d had enough of this “no RBI” business. The All Star shortstop jacked the first pitch he saw from Zach Duke, and put the Marlins up 2-0 in the first. 

Meanwhile, Emilio Bonifacio worked to shift Fish fans back to the “love” side of their love/hate relationship with the third baseman. Boni went 4-for-4, tripled, and scored a pair of runs in the game. And we can’t really complain about that, now can we? (Trust us, we’ve looked at this from every angle. We can’t make it work. Sigh.)
Brian Sanches struck out three in an inning of relief, and Dan Meyer closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the season.
The Marlins have defeated the Pirates. And they managed to do so without so much as a one-minute rain delay.
Let the fireworks commence.

Stormy No Longer Raining on Your Parade.

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As your leading source of up-to-the-minute Fish coverage, HLD&S is the [three-thousand-and-] first to report that Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom is on the DL with an elbow sprain, and is expected to miss at least the next six weeks of the season.

Don’t panic. 

We realize that the Marlins are suddenly down one extremely satisfying target of fan fury, but relax, people. With just some minor shifting of ill will, you can be back to blasting Matt on message boards and sports talk radio call-in shows in no time. 

Simply transfer all Lindstrom-related anger from “inability to close games” to “you’ve been playing with discomfort in your elbow for a @#%!$ month, Matt?!?!” and you’re good to go.

See how that works? Malice intact. Crisis averted. However, If you don’t find it satisfying enough to rail on a player who no longer has an impact on the games at hand, we recommend you find a new player on whom to focus all your hatred. Now, if only we could think of such a player. Hmmm.

Leo Nunez is the most likely candidate to replace Lindstrom as closer, but he wasn’t available to pitch Wednesday night as the Fish took on the Orioles in game two of their series. Dan Meyer took the ball instead, and recorded his first career save with a perfect inning. 

Maybe Fish fans have just been conditioned for drama like Pavlov’s dogs, but we felt oddly let down as out number three was recorded without so much as a three-ball count or a fly ball to the warning track. Our fingernails remained intact through all three outs. Not a single expletive erupted from our throats. Our hearts did not skip a beat– not even a minor palpitation. Meyer came in and, well, closed the game. 

Three up, three down. 

Apparently Dan hasn’t read the same version of Closing 101 that our last several ninth-inning men have.

And speaking of other ninth-inning men, does anyone else find it odd that Fish closers always seem to come down with some sort of  mysterious “injury” at the most convenient times? Jorge Julio, Kevin Gregg, and now Matt Lindstrom. We’re not conspiracy theorists by any stretch, but consider our curiosity piqued. 


In other late-breaking news, the Marlins and Ricky Nolasco won game two against the Orioles, extended the team’s winning streak to four games, and are a game over .500.