Tagged: Fredi Gonzalez

The End.

The End by .jpg

In the final game recap of the 2009 season, it would be superb to declare that the Marlins finally managed to hold onto one of the half-dozen or so leads they had in the game, and pull out the victory to end the year with a bang. 
But unless we just ignore the box score and make up our own magical fairy tale of a season finale, the news is not all that thrilling.
Both Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu were out of Sunday’s lineup due to injuries. The Phil’s lineup was also void of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who are clearly in need of much beauty rest, and had the day off.
In what became sort of a late season tradition, the Marlins put two runs on the board in the first inning. Coghlan wasted no time securing last-minute NL ROY votes as he led off the game with a single, advanced to third on Cameron Maybin’s double, and scored on a sac fly from Nick Johnson. With two out, Ronny Paulino doubled in Maybin to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
Josh Johnson was on the hill in his final start of 2009 and looked good through the first three innings. In the fourth, though, Josh gave up two runs to tie up the game. Miguel Cairo homered to lead off the inning, and Jayson worth followed with a hit, stole second and third, and scored on Ben Francisco’s single.
The Fish reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth when they loaded the bases with one out. JJ and Nick Johnson walked, and Coghlan singled to load them for Wes Helms, who drove in two on a single to right field. Dan Uggla followed with an RBI single, and the Marlins were back in the lead at 5-3.
For about ten minutes.
In the bottom of the inning, JJ got into trouble and erased the Marlins lead yet again. Andy Tracy tripled and scored on a single by Eric Bruntlett, and Victorino and Dobbs both followed with RBI hits to once again tie the score. 
JJ’s afternoon and season were over with two out in the fifth, after he gave up five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3. He finished the season 15-5.
It didn’t take long for the Marlins to once again nab the lead. Chris Coghlan, who finished the game 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored (and an even stronger case for the NL Rookie of the Year award), grounded into a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning to score Emilio Bonifacio and put the Marlins up 6-5.
After two scoreless innings from Burke Badenhop, Ross Gload pinch hit for Hop in the top of the eighth and singled, giving him 21 pinch-hits on the year. With the single, Ross Gload and Wes Helms became the second pair of teammates since 1900 to have 38 pinch hits. 
In the bottom of the eighth, it was time for another Marlins lead-relinquish. Miguel Cairo tripled off of Kiko Calero to open the inning, and scored on a throwing error by Dan Uggla to yet again tie the game.
The Marlins didn’t appear to be ready to let go of the season, and so Renyel Pinto tossed a scoreless ninth to force extra innings. But in the bottom of the tenth, Florida’s luck ran out. Dan Meyer gave up a single to Mayberry to lead off the inning, and after an intentional walk to Jayson Werth, Paul Hoover lined a single to score Mayberry and end the game.
The Marlins finish the season 87 and 75, in second place in the NL East, and surrounded by rumors of the possible removal of Fredi Gonzalez, who led the Fish this season to their third-most wins in the history of the franchise. 
Ah, the joys of Marlins baseball.

7-6, Phillies

You can’t spell Burke Badenhop without H-E-R-O


The Marlins West coast road trip ended with a bang–or perhaps a better term would be plunk–Sunday evening at Dodger Stadium.
Chris Volstad wasn’t at his greatest, giving up four runs on eight hits and walking four in 5 1/3 innings, but thankfully, the Marlins bats decided to pick up the slack. The Fish scored five runs off of starter Jason Schmidt, who lasted just three innings, and tacked on another three runs against Jeff Weaver before the real show began. 

Whether it was Hanley’s multitudinous hits and RBI that had the Dodgers in a tizzy, or the memory of Josh Johnson hitting two Dodgers–including Manny Ramirez–on Friday night, or just the simple fact they were being shelled, LA decided to take aim at the Marlins superstar. 
Still down 8-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Jeff Weaver began blatantly throwing at Hanley Ramirez. It took several tries for Weaver to actually accomplish his mission, and home plate umpire Bob Davidson warned both benches. (Which was, you know, totally fair to everyone involved.)
Despite the warning, you just can’t spell Badenhop without B-E-A-N. You also just can’t let teams take the liberty of throwing fastballs at the appendages of your star player, and unlike The Toronto Incident, there was no mistaking the intention behind Weaver’s pitches. The Fish didn’t need any more post-game Hanley drama over a perceived lack of protection from the Marlins pitchers, so in the bottom of the 7th, Burke Badenhop, our long reliever extraordinaire, took one for the team when he, uh, totally by accident, “yanked” a fastball. Unlike Weaver, the Hopper didn’t miss. He beaned Orlando Hudson smack on the backside, and was promptly ejected from the game along with manager Fredi Gonzalez. 
And that, folks, is how it’s done.
The way Hopper was greeted by teammates back at the dugout, you’d think he had just tossed a no-hitter or hit his first career grand slam. Or saved planet Earth from a falling asteroid. On the HLD&S scale of heroism, the plunking was at least on par with saving babies from a burning building.
After Hop took care of business, the Dodgers attempted a comeback of sorts, scoring twice off of Leo Nunez in the bottom of the ninth. But when all was said and done, the Marlins came out on top.
So the Fish have taken two of three from the team with the best record in baseball, won five of six on the West Coast overall, and are headed home to play some series in a time zone that is far more conducive to HLD&S’s sleep schedule. Ah, life is good.
(HLD&S blames this entry in its entirety on our overexposure to Comic-Con this past week, courtesy of FSN Florida. Please send all complaints to Frank Forte.)

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.



The cursed West Coast road trip is underway, which means that reading anything we have to say about the next six games makes about the same amount of sense as asking a blind person if your outfit matches.
4:30 AM wake-up calls don’t mix well with 10:15 PM first pitches.
Fear not, though. HLD&S may have been sawing logs through half of last night’s series opener between the Marlins and Giants, but we still learned several valuable lessons from the game:

1) Matt Cain is annoying.

2) If you are planning to give up a home run to Pablo Sandoval, Sean West, it is probably best not to first give up a double and two walks to load the bases.

3) It is significantly more difficult to win a game when your best hitter is sitting out due to an injury.

4) If you are planning to write a recap of a game, it is probably best to stay awake for more than five innings of said game. 

Word on the street is that while HLD&S was enjoying a REM cycle or two, the Fish made an attempt at a rally in the ninth inning. The Marlins scored twice to make it a one-run game, and Bonifacio came to bat with two outs and the tying run in scoring position. 
Now, were HLD&S managing the Marlins, this is the point at which Hanley Ramirez would be yanked from the bench–regardless of his ailments–and shoved into the batters box to pinch-hit for Bonifacio. Hip, schmip. Yes, Bonifacio already had three hits in the game. Yes, our All-Star shortstop hadn’t taken batting practice and would be possibly risking further injury. But regardless of those facts, we would have pinch hit him there. Hanley could be unconscious, seizing, bleeding out and sporting several prosthetic limbs, and we’d still put our money on him over Bonifacio in this situation.  
And that is probably one of the many reasons why Fredi is managing the Marlins, rather than HLD&S (or Pete Rose).

5-4, Giants

Fredi’s Got Your “Emotion” Right Here

fredig.JPGUnless you’re blind and hearing impaired, odds are you’ve read and heard countless complaints about Fredi Gonzalez’s–inexplicably infuriating–even-keeled temperament. Eh, maybe you’re one of the people doing the complaining. I don’t really care. Until somebody puts together the mathematical proof that men with short fuses and boisterous personalities win a significantly greater percentage of games/championships, it’s not a conversation I care to have.

But this afternoon the media finally got a taste of the elusive “fire” critics seem so concerned with. Don’t think this is quite what everybody was looking for, but…

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald’s Fish Bytes:

A visibly angry Fredi Gonzalez kicked reporters out of the clubhouse following Sunday’s victory over questions concerning remarks made by Hanley Ramirez suggesting he was hit intentionally with a pitch and implying the Marlins should have retaliated, but didn’t… 

There are a few other accounts here and here.
Is it just me, or does this seem like the wrong time for tempers to be flaring? The Marlins just enjoyed a sweep, every Fish in the lineup but Hermida had a multi-hit game, Josh Johnson went nine, tomorrow is an off-day, all is right with the world. Time for cigars and smiles. So it seems odd that Hanley’s complaining evoked such a passionate response from Fredi.
Maybe I’ve just gotten used to a Marlins team void of “superstars” over the last few seasons, but Hanley whining to the media– essentially calling out Fredi and Josh Johnson for knowing that the hit was intentional and not doing anything about it– is unprofessional, and it reeks of prima donna sports star antics. If Hanley had a problem, why didn’t he talk to Fredi instead of calling him out to the media?
Are we going to have to start dealing with this now? Disgruntled bazillionaire ballplayer vs. manager? Hanley threatening the team with being too terrified of the consequences of hitting home runs? (First of all, please. And second, Hanley, you DIDN’T hit any home runs against the Jays this weekend, in case it slipped your mind. Maybe you should have gone with “I’ll just be too scared to play baseball at all.”)
If Hanley is making threats over something as trivial as the Marlins’ failure to retaliate when he’s hit by a pitch, what happens when they want to something that actually matters, like move him from shortstop to another position?
Maybe I’m being melodramatic or just reading too much into Hanley’s pouting, but I could really do without the spoiled sports star bit.  You didn’t hear Baker or Hermida griping after they got plunked. Even if you think Fredi is dead wrong, the way Ramirez handled seems unclassy.
I’m not going to complain about the way Hanley is playing the game, but in this first season of his multi-million dollar contract, I’m already tired of his whining. I want to believe the best of him, but I have to wonder if this isn’t a sign of things to come. 
Hopefully Hanley was just taking the bait dangled in front of him by reporters, but Fredi’s reaction to him today speaks to a bigger issue than a lousy HBP. 

Welcome to Hell.

rapuano is the devil.jpgAnd what hell might I be referring to, you ask? Would it be the hell that involves the Fish dropping another five straight? The hell where our team is now two games under .500 after starting the season 11-1? The hell of Dan Uggla’s .182 BA and his present “automatic out” status that is greatly contributing to the Marlins’ inability to win ball games? The hell where even Jorge Can’tu? Or perhaps the hell of a rotation that will now feature Andrew Miller and John Koronka to compliment the all new Ricky YESlasco we’ve been enjoying this season? 

Well, no. Not any of the above. The hell of which I speak would be the seventh circle of hell also known as an umpiring crew which features Joe West and Ed Rapuano. Now, I am not typically an umpire-basher, having spent a little time in blue myself (I was god-awful. Thank you for asking). BUT there are a few exceptions to my support of baseball’s officiators. Their names are Joe West and Ed Rapuano.
The way I see it, umpires should be about as recognizable as the ladies in skimpy dresses who open briefcases on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Sure, you know they’re there, and they help move the game along, but it’s not like they’re the main attraction, and you definitely can’t tell them apart. When I know an umpires name and face like the back of my hand and am filled with a sense of dread upon seeing him, there is a problem. When the Marlins even-tempered skipper only gets tossed from games when the two of them are involved, there is a problem. When an umpire makes a call, then changes his mind because the almighty Joe Torre takes exception to it, well, you get the idea.
I won’t blame last night’s loss on Ed and Joe, seeing as the Marlins are getting pretty good at losing without help from blue. But I will say that last night was one of the worst excuses for officiating that I have seen in a long while. Seriously, the last time I can remember the umpiring being this bad was when… oh yeah. They were there for that game, too.