Tagged: Kevin Gregg

It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

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“I love you, Kevin Gregg” were the very last words I ever thought I’d utter after Gregg’s, um, exciting tenure with the Marlins in 2008. 
That changed Sunday evening at Land Shark Stadium as the Marlins took on the Cubs in the rubber match of the series, and Kevin Gregg took on the responsibility of continuing to remind Fish fans of what they have most definitely not been missing since last season. 
Ricky Nolasco was on the hill for the Marlins and put in a lovely performance, striking out eight and allowing just one run on four hits through seven innings. The bad news for Ricky was that Ryan Dempster also picked Sunday to have an excellent outing, and the former Florida pitcher held the Marlins to three hits over six scoreless innings.
Cody Ross finally got the Fish on the board in the seventh, tying the score at one run apiece when he homered off of [Marlin mutilator] Aaron Heilman. In the top of the ninth, Chicago reclaimed the lead as Brendan Donnelly’s streak of scoreless innings came to an end on a solo shot from Jake Fox. 
With the Cubs up 2-1, Kevin Gregg came in to close the game, and although I was there to witness some of Gregg’s more heart-wrenching performances for the Marlins last season, it really seemed too much to hope that even he would blow a save for the second game in a row. 
Obviously, my memories of Gregg have grown incredibly fuzzy over the last ten months. (Regardless of what the old cliche says, I don’t think that the passage of time ever fully heals all wounds. But, as my faith in Gregg’s ability to hold the lead would suggest, it certainly does a lot to dull the memories of their searing pain.)
Gregg got Hanley to pop out to start the inning, and that’s where the cheering ended–and, I’m assuming, guzzling of hard liquor started–for Cubs fans. Dan Uggla crushed a home run to tie up the score, and Cody Ross followed with his second long ball of the game– a walk-off home run that sealed the victory and the Marlins fourth series win in a row.
Judging from the number of hits this old blog entry received today from various cities throughout Illinois, Cubs fans are enjoying Kevin Gregg this season as much as Fish fans did in 2008.
Cody! Cody! Cody!
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Stormy No Longer Raining on Your Parade.

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As your leading source of up-to-the-minute Fish coverage, HLD&S is the [three-thousand-and-] first to report that Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom is on the DL with an elbow sprain, and is expected to miss at least the next six weeks of the season.

Don’t panic. 

We realize that the Marlins are suddenly down one extremely satisfying target of fan fury, but relax, people. With just some minor shifting of ill will, you can be back to blasting Matt on message boards and sports talk radio call-in shows in no time. 

Simply transfer all Lindstrom-related anger from “inability to close games” to “you’ve been playing with discomfort in your elbow for a @#%!$ month, Matt?!?!” and you’re good to go.

See how that works? Malice intact. Crisis averted. However, If you don’t find it satisfying enough to rail on a player who no longer has an impact on the games at hand, we recommend you find a new player on whom to focus all your hatred. Now, if only we could think of such a player. Hmmm.

Leo Nunez is the most likely candidate to replace Lindstrom as closer, but he wasn’t available to pitch Wednesday night as the Fish took on the Orioles in game two of their series. Dan Meyer took the ball instead, and recorded his first career save with a perfect inning. 

Maybe Fish fans have just been conditioned for drama like Pavlov’s dogs, but we felt oddly let down as out number three was recorded without so much as a three-ball count or a fly ball to the warning track. Our fingernails remained intact through all three outs. Not a single expletive erupted from our throats. Our hearts did not skip a beat– not even a minor palpitation. Meyer came in and, well, closed the game. 

Three up, three down. 

Apparently Dan hasn’t read the same version of Closing 101 that our last several ninth-inning men have.

And speaking of other ninth-inning men, does anyone else find it odd that Fish closers always seem to come down with some sort of  mysterious “injury” at the most convenient times? Jorge Julio, Kevin Gregg, and now Matt Lindstrom. We’re not conspiracy theorists by any stretch, but consider our curiosity piqued. 


In other late-breaking news, the Marlins and Ricky Nolasco won game two against the Orioles, extended the team’s winning streak to four games, and are a game over .500. 

A Little Help, Please?

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My first thought as I watched Leo Nunez get the final out of last night’s 10-inning comeback victory against the Cubbies?
 “Man, I bet Chris Volstad wants to punch these guys in the face.” 
Here’s what went down:
  • Volstad essentially owned through seven innings, giving up only two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking nobody. 
  • Marshall shut out the Fish through six.
  • Cantu continued his “G”age with yet another long ball in the seventh, his third home run in as many games. 
  • Tied up in the top of the ninth, Kevin Gregg came in and pitched the inning a lot better for the Cubs than I can ever remember him doing for us. (Thanks, Kev.)
  • In the bottom of the inning, Amezaga recorded the save on a diving play that made me perfectly OK with the fact that Hanley is still out of the lineup. 
  • Good night for the ‘pen as Meyer, Calero, Pinto and Nunez held the Cubbies scoreless for three innings.
  • The Fish scored six runs off of Aaron Heilman in the 10th, thanks to the continued G-ness of Jorge Cantu (aka a 3-run double), a lovely squeeze play and some other stuff (who needs a box score when you’ve got HLD&S?).
  • Nunez closed the deal. Fish win 8-2.
So my question is this: What, exactly, does a Marlins starter have to do to get a WIN? Pitch a perfect game in every outing? The last member of the rotation to be so lucky as to record a W was Anibal Sanchez back on April 16th. That was thirteen games ago. I’ll admit, as a mere fan of the team I’ll pretty much take a win any way I can get it, but it would be nice to see some of these good outings rewarded. I’ve got to wonder if our rotation is thinking the same thing.

I [Couldn’t] Care [Less]

It’s nice to know that Kevin Gregg is concerned about our health. It really is. I think it is splendid that our closer has gone above and beyond (i.e. swallowing his pride and allowing the world to see that he reads on a 3rd-grade level, and is mildly autistic) to ensure that none of us will perish from a tobacco-related illness.

Yes, Gregg’s work with the Tobacco-Free Florida campaign is commendable. Unfortunately, for every life Kevin has spared from a slow, agonizing death from lung cancer, he has caused a dozen or so due to his less-than-valiant efforts on the mound.

The American Heart Association just called, Kev. They’d like you to retire.

According to new research (research being the statistics that sound the most convincing once I make them up in my head), heart attacks, strokes, and other myocardial episodes increase by about 98.76% in South Florida each and every time our dear closer takes the mound. He doesn’t even have to throw a pitch–the mere sight of Gregg exiting the bullpen is enough to send our blood pressure skyrocketing, and our chests constricting.

 
Last night’s (rare) brilliant effort from Andrew Miller was thrown away in the ninth when Gregg–for what feels like the millionth time in the last two weeks–blew yet another save. It’s almost as though he has taken it upon himself to ensure that each and every game is as dramatic as humanly possible. And while I can appreciate a little edge-of-your-seat excitement every now and again, I’d really almost prefer a nice, boring 1-2-3 inning. Call me crazy.

Note to our closer: Walk-off grand slams = cool. Closing games respectably in the top of the ninth to avoid making said walk-off a necessity = much cooler.

In closing (pun intended), I would like to say…Joe Nelson. Just putting it out there.