Ah, sweet Opening Day. Is there anything better? Sun shining brightly, birds chirping gleefully, the smell of peanuts and cracker jack wafting through the fresh spring air… or at least that’s what you’d imagine opening day to be like, if you weren’t stuck in a cubicle at your place of employment, reloading Gameday audio 12,042 times while simultaneously researching where to purchase an atomic bomb with which to obliterate MLB.tv tech support.
GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes, so you can check out her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Florida Marlins there.
[Deep cleansing breath.]
Luckily, when the Marlins opened their season against the Mets at Citi Field Monday, they gave us Fish fans a few reasons to be glad that it’s hard to find a way to be in front of a television at 1:10 in the afternoon. Sure, it promised to be a good match-up with Marlins ace Josh Johnson starting against Johan Santana, but things didn’t exactly unfold that way. (Not that I saw how any of it did unfold, but I got to watch those little cartoon-y figures on MLB Gameday, which we all know is practically the same as being there live.)
JJ lasted just five innings in his season debut, and gave up four runs on five hits, walked four, and put the Marlins in an early hole on a two-run shot to David Wright in the bottom of the first.
The Fish, meanwhile, couldn’t get much of anything accomplished against Santana, who–despite the many hopes of every non-Mets fan in existence–did not miraculously forget how to pitch during the off-season. (I, for one, intend to return my voodoo dolls to the manufacturer for a full refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling.)
The Marlins managed a meager four hits off of Santana in his six innings of work. They finally got on the board in the sixth on an RBI double by Jorge Cantu that scored Chris Coghlan, but that was the last of the good news for Florida.
Things got sloppy for the Marlins as the bullpen took over in the sixth. The Mets scored four times, and Clay Hensley, Dan Meyer and Gaby Sanchez all committed errors in the half inning. Hensley–whose current ERA is 27.00, which is fun to say–gave up two runs to the Mets in his Marlins debut, and Tim Wood allowed a run in the seventh to make the score 7-1.
Aside from 2-for-4 afternoons from Hanley and Gaby, it was a sloppy, forgettable game that definitely didn’t leave Fish fans with warm, fuzzy feelings to kick off the regular season.
The good news is, we get to try this 161 more times.
Marlins 1, Mets 7
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.