Tagged: John Maine

Save the Game, Wood You?

GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes. You can check out her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.
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It’s not every day a pitching staff coughs up a 6-1 lead, walks nine, balks in a run, and still walks away with a victory. 

Apparently Wednesday was not every day. 

The Marlins were back in action at Citi Field for game two of their series with the Mets, and after the disaster also referred to as Opening Day, I think the goal in mind for almost everyone on the team was “do the opposite of what I did on Monday.” 
That strategy worked through six innings. 
The Marlins lineup fared much better against John Maine than they did against Johan Santana. They tagged him for four runs in five innings, and between Maine and the Mets bullpen, the rest of the bats came out of hibernation. 
Cantu was the first Fish to drive in a run this season, and he also became the first to go deep, homering off of Maine in the third inning. Hanley and Uggla added solo shots of their own, and every Marlins position player had at least one hit in the game. 
In his first start of 2010, Ricky was “splendid” (to borrow Rich Waltz’s favorite adjective), and allowed three runs on 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5 Mets. It was also encouraging, after a rough go of things Monday, to see the Fish fielding their positions a little more neatly than they did on Opening day. 
Things were going charmingly well, the season opener was being chalked up to rust and jitters, and with a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, most fans had penciled in a “W” for Ricky and the Fish. 
And then the rest of the game happened. 
Ricky ran out of gas in the seventh. He walked off the mound with one on, two out, and a comfortable four-run lead, and thus the game became one giant blur of badness. 
Renyel Pinto came in for Ricky, but rather than record the final out of the inning, he gave up a hit, struck a batter to load up the bases, and then walked in a run before he was replaced by Jose Veras. 
Veras didn’t fare much better than Pinto on the mound. His very first pitch was a wild, high fastball that got away from Baker and very nearly allowed a run to score. He managed to escape the seventh inning without allowing a run, but in the eighth Jose gave up two hits, walked two, and was tagged with three runs. 
Then it was Leo Nunez who came in with two out in the 8th to attempt a 4-out save of the game, but what he accomplished instead was to walk two batters, balk in the tying run, and blow the save. 
The defense also seemed to take its cue from the relievers, and got sloppy again after Ricky left the game. Uggla committed a throwing error trying to turn a double play, and Chris Coghlan inexplicably airmailed a throw to home plate that could have produced disastrous results. 
By all accounts the Fish deserved to lose the game. But in the top of the 10th against Takahashi, Wes Helms singled, a sac bunt from Cogz moved him to second, and Ronny Paulino drove in Uncle Wes with a pinch hit single to reclaim the lead for the Fish. 
With only a one-run lead to work with, Tim Wood did what our closer could not– he came into the game and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, and recorded the very first save of his Major League career to even the Marlins record, and the series. 
Whew. 
Pat yourselves on the back, Fish fans. You’ve just survived your very first bullpen implosion of the season.
Marlins 7, Mets 6
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Super Saturday ends on a high note

default.jpgIt was the final Super Saturday of the season as the Fish and Mets faced off for game two of their series at Land Shark Stadium, and Marlins fans were looking to rid their mouths of the awful taste left from Friday night’s blown save.

The Marlins grabbed an early 2-0 lead off of John Maine in the second inning. Cantu and Uggla singled, and John Baker walked to load the bases. A ground ball from Brett Carroll scored the first run, and Uggla scored when Maine threw a wild pitch with Sean West at bat. 
West did well enough to earn his eighth win of the season with a quality night on the mound. He pitched five innings, giving up seven hits to the Mets. Fernando Tatis tied the game with a two-run homer in the fourth, and New York took the lead in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by David Wright. 
The Marlins answered back with a vengeance in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs off of Maine. Perhaps they were fired up when Cody Ross was hit on the hand by a pitch, and had to leave the game. Or maybe that had absolutely nothing to do with the offensive explosion that ensued. But either way, the bats suddenly came alive. 

Jorge Cantu hit an RBI double to tie the game, Dan Uggla drove in a run with a single, and Cameron Maybin hit a three-run shot to give the Marlins a 7-3 lead, and chase Maine from the game. Elmer Dessens took over for Maine and gave up an RBI double to Brett Hayes, who pinch-hit for Sean West. Chris Coghlan capped off the inning by doubling in a run to put the Marlins up 9-3. 
Badenhop relieved West and allowed just one hit as he held the Mets scoreless through two innings. Carlos Beltran hit a home run off of Brian Sanches in the top of the eighth to make it 9-4, and then came Florida’s obligatory struggle to put the game away. 
In the top of the ninth, Matt Lindstrom gave up a single and a double, and then allowed two runs to score on a throwing error–the Marlins’ third error of the game–before the call to the bullpen mercifully came. 

It was Brendan Donnelly who handled the last out of the ninth inning. Donnelly struck out Carlos Beltran to end the game, and earn his very first save for the Fish. 
A nice note on which to end the final Super Saturday of the Marlins season.
9-6, Marlins

You Spin My Head Right ‘Round…

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Remember when the Marlins were winning games and stuff? Yeah, that was neat. It’s a pretty distant memory right now, but I do vaguely recall what it was like for a game to end without me feeling a desperate need for anti-depression meds. That memory is what is keeping me going right now.

You know things are bad when I have to bust out this song on my morning show to console myself and fellow Marlins fans. Usually reserved for 0-50 hitting slumps, Dontrelle Willis demotions to single A ball or historically atrocious All-Star Game appearances, the song is now being pulled from the archives as an anthem for the Marlins’ seven game skid. Things will get better. They will. I’m at least 68% positive of that fact. OK, 58%. Give or take.

Last night in Flushing, the Marlins essentially flushed away any chances of winning the game when Sanchez struggled in the first, giving up a grand slam to rookie catcher Omir Santos and putting the Fish in a 6-1 hole. You’d think eight innings would give the Fish enough time to chip away at the Mets’ lead, but the team instead opted to lull me to sleep with their non-existent offense. Two hits and one nice catch by Cody Ross were really all we had to cheer about last night, and even my rally nap in the ninth wasn’t enough to extract a comeback from the Marlins, who dropped their seventh straight game by a score of 7-1.
In a terrifying moment for Fish fans, Hanley Ramirez was hit on the hand by a John Maine pitch, and was lifted from the game. (OK, I’m not gonna lie. I wasn’t really terrifed, because let’s face it, people– Hanley is the most melodramatic player we have when it comes to injuries. Don’t get mad at me. At least not until you watch replays of how Hanley acts when he gets hurt compared to, say, Cody Ross. Not saying it didn’t hurt. I’m sure it did. Ouch. It’s just, well, “tough” isn’t the first word I’d use to describe our shortstop.) Hey John Maine – We know the Mets are enraged by the fact that they crumble like little girls against the Fish every September, but our star player? Really? How about we have Josh Johnson peg Santana with a fastball to the wrist Wednesday and see how you like it? I know, I know. It’s unlikely that the plunking was intentional, but since having somewhere to focus my anger feels good, I’ll go with it. Hanley’s X-rays were negative, and he’s day-to-day. Awesome.
One piece of good news in all this is that Fredi Gonzalez is gearing up to start tinkering with the lineup, considering Bonifacio and Maybin are batting .001 at the top of the order, and the Fish have averaged about 1.1 runs per game in this 7 game skid.* Tinker away, Skip. Or, you know, completely dismantle. It couldn’t hurt.
Let’s not make the mistake of calling today’s game a must-win, because it isn’t. I mean, unless a firing squad is awaiting you in event of a loss, a game is never a must-win. But winning is still a pretty decent idea, guys. So you may want to at least briefly consider it. 
* in the rare event that you ever find anything as intelligent as an actual stat on this blog, it is more than likely a complete fabrication.