Tagged: Jeremy Hermida

Bet You’ll Never Guess What Volstad Did Twice that Cost the Fish the Game…

volstad-1.jpgThat Chris Volstad would give up a home run Saturday night was a given, and as he took the mound to face the Braves in game two of the series at Turner Field, it was not a matter of if, but when

We found out pretty quickly. 
It seems Chris wanted to get the obligatory home runs out of the way early so he wouldn’t have to worry about them the rest of the game. And that might have been a good strategy, had Volstad held the Braves to a single long ball and kept runners off of base in the meantime. 
He didn’t. In the Braves’ first at-bat, Omar Infante hit his second home run of the season to give Atlanta a one-run lead. After a walk to Kelly Johnson and an RBI single to Adam LaRoche, Yunel Escobar took a turn going deep against Volstad as well, and the Braves were up 4-0 after one inning. 
Volstad “settled down” after the first, but he was done after just four innings, having put in a pretty weak performance with six hits, two walks, and four runs–three of which came courtesy of the long ball. 
Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson clearly didn’t want to be outdone by Anibal Sanchez’s performance Friday night, and so while Volstad continued his habit of being taken deep repeatedly, the Braves starter flirted with a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings. 
The no-hitter lasted until Jeremy Hermida came to bat with one on and two out in the top of the fifth, and busted it up on a single to center. Hermida’s hit opened the proverbial floodgates for the Marlins…or at least, you know, cracked them a little. Wes Helms followed with a two-out double that scored Baker, who had walked to open the inning. Then Jorge Cantu pinch-hit for Chris Volstad and singled to drive in Hermida and Helms to make it a one-run game. 
And a one-run game is where it remained. 
The Marlins bullpen worked out of a few jams to hold Atlanta to their four first-inning runs, but Hanson held the Fish to three runs through seven innings, and the Braves ‘pen closed it out  as the Marlins dropped game two at Turner Field. 
Chris Volstad is going to have to get over his home run fetish. May we suggest hypnotherapy?

Welcome Back, Sanchy.

sanchez.JPGAnibal Sanchez hadn’t pitched in a big league game since June 2nd, and he didn’t waste any time getting himself reacquainted with the mound Friday night at Turner Field as the Marlins kicked off a three-game series with the Braves. 

In his pitching debut since returning from the DL, Sanchez impressed, to say the least. He allowed just two hits, walked two, and struck out seven Braves through six innings, and had a no-hitter going until one out in the sixth. It was at that point that Atlanta pitcher Javier Vazquez was kind enough to break up the fun with a single. 

Vazquez didn’t look too bad on the mound himself, and a pitchers duel lasted through five innings as he managed to keep the Marlins off of the board. In the sixth, though, Hanley Ramirez–whose personal hit streak reached 16 games earlier in the night–drove in a run and put the Marlins up 1-0 over the Braves. 
In the seventh, things got worse for Vazquez. Jeremy Hermida took him deep to start the inning, then Wes Helms doubled, and with two out, Ross Gload drove Wes in with an RBI single. Hanley Ramirez followed with his third hit and third RBI of the night, a two-run shot that gave the Fish a 5-0 lead. 

A shutout of the Braves would’ve been swell, but Adam LaRoche had other ideas, which included taking Dan Meyer deep in the bottom of the inning, and cut the Marlins lead to two runs. 
And then came the rain…two-and-a-half hours of it. Thankfully, Marlins fans are perfectly used to that, and as a special treat got to enjoy the new “Inside the Marlins” episode featuring Josh Johnson. As much as we all love Andre Dawson, with all the rain that has plagued us this season, Fish fans pretty much know Dawson’s episode by heart.
When the rains finally dissipated, I was asleep. But from what I can tell from the box score and several text messages from friends who were watching the game, Leo Nunez came in to pitch the ninth, and recorded two outs before giving up a single that Adam Laroche tried to stretch into a double. Cody Ross gunned down LaRoche at second for the final out, and Anibal Sanchez earned his first win since mid-April.   
The Fish are once again three games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card, and 5 ½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. 
Welcome back, Sanchy. More of the same next time, please.

Good Ricky Returns.

Ricky Jekyll n Hyde.jpgThe last time Ricky Nolasco was on the mound, he sucked. There’s just no other way to categorize what was essentially the worst start of Ricky’s career– a 3 1/3 inning outing in which he allowed 10 runs and single-handedly snapped the Marlins 5 game win streak with his horrific pitching. 

With that in mind, Fish fans were a bit nervous as Ricky took the mound to kick off a three-game series with the Astros–the same team that beat the crap out of him in his last start–Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. 
Apparently Nolasco was looking to make it up to the Marlins. Or, maybe he just knew he needed to do something extremely noteworthy on the mound so that his start wouldn’t be overshadowed by the team’s double-digit hit streak, which was up to 13 games heading into Tuesday’s contest. Either way, mission accomplished as Ricky turned in a performance that was the polar opposite of his last, and dazzled us all by throwing the second (9-inning) complete game of his career. 80 of Ricky’s 115 pitches were for strikes, and he walked nobody, struck out ten, gave up three hits and allowed just two runs in his nine innings of work. 
The game didn’t get off to a great start, and let’s just be honest–it scared us. Nolasco gave up a home run to Carlos Lee in the first inning, right after Lance Berkman doubled. After the dinger, though, Ricky simply shrugged his shoulders and was all like, “it’s cool,” and proceeded to retire 23 straight batters, and allowed just one more hit over the next eight innings. 
The offense, meanwhile, thought it would be a good idea to provide some run support for the dealing Nolasco, and try to steal a little bit of his thunder by hitting in the double-digits for the 14th game in a row. The Marlins had 11 hits on the night, and became the first team to have a string of 14 games with ten or more hits since the St. Louis Browns logged 15 in a row way back in 1937. Hanley Ramirez also kept his personal streak alive as he was 3-for-5, and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. 
Dan Uggla hit a solo shot off of Astros Starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning to tie up the game, and then the Marlins had a little fun with Buddy in the sixth. The Fish batted around as Cantu homered, Hermida hit an RBI single, and Chris Coghlan drew a bases-loaded walk to gain a three-run lead over Houston, and end the night for Norris before three outs could be recorded in the inning. 
Hermida, who was 3-for-4 on the night, was the third Marlin of the game to go deep when he capped off the scoring on a solo shot in the 8th, stretching the Marlins lead to four runs. 
The Fish have now won 9 of their last 11, but since the Rockies and Phillies refuse to lose, they remain two games back of the Wild Card lead, and 4 1/2 games back in the NL East.
Official HLD&S Position: We heart Ricky Nolasco. Uh, the one who pitches complete games and wins and stuff.

We Just Lost to WHO???

huh.jpgIt’s always a joy to look at the Marlins schedule and see “Washington Nationals” printed there, filled to the brim with promises of multiple wins and minimal effort. And after enjoying some hard-fought series wins against the likes of the Dodgers, Braves and Cubs, a little stop in DC to sweep the Nationals would be a welcome break. 

Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before. There are no easy wins in baseball. You have to bring your A game no matter who you’re playing. Blah blah blah. Well, forgive me for thinking the Marlins C or D game would be plenty to tuck three more wins neatly under the team belt. I mean, it’s the Nationals. I’ve seen these guys play the Fish, and the competition is reminiscent of the match-up that my siblings and I made against our Dad when we played board games with him when we were all under the age of seven. It never failed. No matter how hard we tried, and no matter how much my mom nagged him to go easy on us, we would leave table one by one, weeping bitterly as his pile of Monopoly money rose to the ceiling, and notices of bankruptcy and the deed to Mediterranean Avenue were all that was left on our corners of the board.
It was just an unfair match-up. 
And so, thinking along those lines, I may have mentally added a “W” to the Marlins record as the Fish opened up their series with Washington at Nationals Park Tuesday night. (Like you didn’t.)

The Marlins were well on their way to an eleventh straight win against the Nats as Josh Johnson took the mound and characteristically cruised through seven innings, striking out nine and retiring a string of 20 batters. Josh also treated Marlins fans to yet another home run, tying the franchise record for most homers hit by a Marlins pitcher in a season. Add in three hits from Chris Coghlan, RBI singles from Nick Johnson and Jeremy Hermida, and Cody’s 18th longball of the season (third in his last two games), and the Fish held a comfortable 4-0 lead.  
Just another night at Nationals Park for Josh Johnson and the Marlins.
And then the eighth inning happened. 
Josh gave up three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out before giving up a double to pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard to cut the Marlins lead in half. The bullpen took over from there in an attempt to stop the bleeding and minimize the damage, but the Nats lineup had other ideas. Ideas such as batting around, and scoring SIX times before Marlins relievers could record the third out of the inning. Cristian Guzman singled to tie the score, and Adam Dunn hit a two-run shot to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead. 
The Marlins did attempt a comeback of sorts as Cantu doubled in the ninth, Dan Uggla walked, and the tying run came to the plate against Mike MacDougal. Unfortunately, the late-inning heroics ended there. Hermida grounded into a double play to end the game, and the Marlins lost to the Washington flipping Nationals for the first time in 2009.
I’m going to have to suggest you step up at least to your B game for Wednesday’s contest, Fish.

Go… Southeast, Young Man


Sean West gave up five runs in his start Saturday night against the Diamondbacks
Now, why does that sound so familiar? Perhaps it’s because West also gave up five runs in his last start. And the one before that. And the one before the one before that.
Sean lasted just 4 2/3 innings in game three of the Marlins‘ series in Arizona, a pretty short start by any standard, but certainly long enough to put the Fish in an early hole that they were never able to climb out of. 
Sean did attempt to help his own cause when he logged his first Major League hit in the third inning and scored on an RBI by Jorge Cantu. It wasn’t enough, though, and immediately following the game, West was optioned to Double A. I think we can all agree that is a far better place for the working out of growing pains than in the Marlins starting rotation. 
While West was reserving his flight to Jacksonville, The Marlins were continuing their struggle to score runs (see: Friday Night’s Game). Who can blame them, though, with the almighty Jon Garland on the mound? 
Oh. Right. Garland isn’t all that mighty, and he hadn’t won a game since May 19th. That game, [probably not all that] coincidentally, was against the Marlins as well. But mighty or not, seven hits were all the Fish could manage off of Garland Saturday, and Cantu’s RBI single that scored Sean West accounted for the Marlins only run. (You will be spared a lament on our tough luck with the bats tonight. No “he’s hit it hard, but…” stuff from HLD&S. Even if it’s true. And even if we’d be totally OK with Jeremy Hermida punching somebody in the face right about now.) 
Jon Garland isn’t the only Diamondback benefiting from the Marlins new “We Shall Heal What Ails You, MLB” campaign. Justin Upton was one for his last thirty coming into the series, and naturally decided to use the Marlins pitching staff to bust out of his slump. After a two-hit, three-RBI game to open the series, Upton went 4-for-4 with another RBI in Saturday’s game.
If you’re looking for a silver lining on the cloud of this game, we have powered up the microscope… The Marlins bullpen did their thing and held the Diamondbacks scoreless through 3 1/3 innings. Too bad the Marlins lineup was busy holding itself scoreless as well.
While the Fish were losing, the Phillies did what teams are supposed to do when they play clubs like the D-backs and Pirates– they won. The Fish are now 4 games back in the East, and sit just a game over .500.
We’re mulling over an idea for Sunday’s series finale– it involves our starter not coming to the mound and immediately putting the Marlins in a big, fat, gaping hole. Sure, coming back from a 7-run deficit is fun times and all, it’s just probably not going to happen in every game, especially not with the bats freezing up once again. So let’s consider not trying to set up the come-from-behind victory, and instead tackle the get-ahead-and-stay-ahead variety of triumph. Not quite as sexy, no, but it gets the job done.

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.