Tagged: Johan Santana

Opening Day 2010 (aka Whoa, Ugly)

GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes, so you can check out her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Florida Marlins there.
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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. 

[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
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Gritty Win for Fish

instant grit.jpgIt was fitting that Sean West took the mound Tuesday night with the song “Hero” blaring through the stadium speakers. After a road trip that, well, sucked, a hero was just what the Marlins were in need of. Or, if you prefer to be less melodramatic about the game of baseball, at the very least the team was in need of a starter who could go more than four innings, and get through the first without giving up three or four runs. 

West wasn’t necessarily heroic as the Fish took on the Mets to kick off a ten-game homestand at The Shark, but he did have a quality night on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks through six innings. 
Nelson Figueroa wasn’t too bad himself, and gave the Marlins some trouble when he attempted to do his best impersonation of a Johan Santana start. Figueroa was filling in for Santana after the starter was scratched from the game due to elbow issues, and allowed just four hits to the Marlins through five innings. 

With the score tied up at one in the Fifth, it was Ross “True Grit” Gload who established himself as the hero of the night. West got into trouble when he loaded the bases with one out, and Jeff Francoeur hit a high pop in foul territory, which Ross Gload practically leapt over the camera well to catch. From HLD&S’s stellar view in the bullpen box, a catch didn’t even seem humanly possible, so we could only guess at what the crowd was cheering about (free frozen lemonade? The Mermaids actually dancing in sync for once? It was anybody’s guess, really) until the replay came up on the jumbotron. The defensive play seemed to magically remind Sean how to throw strikes, and he struck out Fernando Tatis on three pitches to end the threat. 
Ross Gload wasn’t quite done with the gritty heroics after his potentially game-saving catch, though. With two out and Hermida on second in the bottom of the fifth, Gload swooped in yet again to save the day, hitting a single to drive in the tie-breaking run and give the Fish a 2-1 lead. 
The Marlins had chances to add on to the score, but they, um, chose not to. After the weekend bullpen issues, a one-run lead made me feel like throwing up my insides from fear and panic wasn’t the most comfortable way to enter the final innings. But, after Sanches pitched a scoreless 7th, it was clear that Lindstrom and Nunez were not in the mood for theatrics. 1-2-3 8th and 9th innings ensued, and the Fish took game one from the Mets. 
The Marlins are 7 games behind the Phillies in the East, and remain 5 games back in the Wild Card, thanks to another Rockies win. 

Can-TU snap this skid!!! Here’s how:

jorgexoxo.jpgThanks to two jacks by Jorge Cantu and another scoreless night for The Hopper, et. al., The Marlins ended their losing streak last night at Citi Field. After I wept tears of joy and relief, I thought of a couple ways the team could possibly turn this one win into a string of them:

1) Maybe it would be cool to not give up several runs in the first inning of every game. I heard somewhere that statistics prove it’s easier to win if you aren’t behind.
2) Scoring more than two runs is a real solid idea, especially if your opponent has scored three or more. According to the book Baseball: Minus the Numbers, “if you score more runs than your opponent in any given game involving two teams made up of ballplayers, your chances of winning are increased by a lot of percentage points or more.” 
3) Jack ball out of park. Repeat.
4) Think about not giving up seven runs in the ninth inning.
5) Consider not giving up a grand slam in innings one through nine.
6) Try not get struck on the hand by a 93-mph fastball if you are the team’s star player.
7) Bat at a slightly higher average than .034 when you’re leading off.
Just a few thoughts as Josh Johnson and Johan Santana face off in the rubber match. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section below.