Tagged: Mets

Behind Robertson, Hopper, Fish Take the Citi

GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.
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The Marlins were going for the series win against the Mets Thursday night at Citi Field, and after two straight games of ugly, fans were hoping for a nice, neat, disaster-free win. You know, one that didn’t induce massive strokes and brain hemorrhages and stuff. 

It was a battle of lefties as Nate Robertson made the start vs. Jon Niese, and Robertson had a decent night in his season debut for the Marlins. He went five innings and allowed just one run on an RBI double to Jeff Francoeur in the fourth. Nate threw 94 pitches and gave up six hits, struck out four and didn’t issue a walk. 
Neise lasted six innings against the Marlins, and gave up three runs on eight hits. The Fish grabbed an early lead in the first on an RBI single from Dan Uggla, and RBI doubles by Jorge Cantu and Gaby Sanchez in the fifth and sixth gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead. 
Once Nate’s night was over, heartrates state-wide skyrocketed as it was time to go to the bullpen. Wednesday’s implosion was still fresh in the minds of Fish fans, and this time the pen had just a 2-run lead to work with, as opposed to the six-run lead the pen blew the night before. 
Mommy. Hold me. 
Luckily, it was Burke Badenhop who got the call. The Hopper decided to go against the recent trend of Marlins middle relievers, and so, rather than walking multiple guys and blowing the lead, Hop tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Robertson. He allowed just one hit and struck out two. 
If Fredi had put it to a vote, the majority of Fish fans would probably have been in favor of letting Burke attempt a 4-inning save. But instead, though he tossed 40 pitches in Wednesday’s fiasco, Leo Nunez came out to pitch the ninth. (Insert lame comment about getting back on the horse or whatever here.) 
Leo must have been inspired by The Hopper’s three scoreless innings, because he made quick work of things, recording the save with a 1-2-3 inning. 
I’m not sure how the post-game pep talk went on Wednesday night, but whatever it was, it worked. Because after issuing nine free passes in Wednesday’s game, the Marlins pitchers didn’t allow a single base on balls in the series finale. 
The Fish have taken their first series of 2010, and are headed home.
Marlins 3, Mets 1
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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

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

The End is Near

f5d3c08d-9e3c-4c0d-aae4-8c30c1264577.jpgFans should have been prepared for the worst Sunday afternoon as the Marlins played their final home game of the season against the Mets at Land Shark Stadium. 

First of all, Josh Johnson was home puking with what the rest of the team can only pray is not H1N1, and had to be scratched from his start in favor of the struggle-laden Chris Volstad. Nick Johnson was also out due to the flu, and although Jorge Cantu was in the lineup, he was feeling a little queasy himself. Cody Ross, one of the few Marlins not sitting around the clubhouse with a thermometer hanging out of his mouth, was still nursing his badly bruised wrist, and was only available to pinch run. 

With all the above considered, we should have mentally prepared ourselves for the worst. But call us crazy, we still had hope the Marlins would find a way to win, and send fans home with magical, victorious memories to sustain us until April. 
They did not. 
Volstad wasn’t necessarily awful in the game, but he lasted only four innings, and gave up three runs to the Mets. The three runs naturally included Volstad’s signature long ball, this time a two-run shot by Jeff Francoeur in the third inning. 

The truth is it wouldn’t have mattered if Volstad had gone eight innings strong, and had only given up one run to the Mets. After New York was on the board in the second, the game was over for the Fish, thanks to Pat Misch. 
Misch decided to be a hero Sunday, and tossed a complete game shut out. It wasn’t as though the Marlins couldn’t touch Misch; they had eight hits and three walks off of the starter, and threatened in the first inning with men on second and third and nobody out. But they were 0-for-the-game with runners in scoring position, and were unable to put anything together through nine innings. 

Sadly, as is usually the case, when one cannot score, one cannot win.

The loss eliminated the Marlins in the NL East, and put them 4 ½ back in the wild card with a mere six games left to play. 

What a charming way to end the final homestand of the season. 

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

That Blew. In More Ways Than One.

blow nose.JPGFish fans had boxes of tissue at the ready as the Marlins kicked off their final (sniffle) home series against the Mets Friday night at Land Shark Stadium.  

Little did we know we’d need said tissues for more than just saying goodbye to the 2009 season.
Rick Nolasco was on the mound for the Marlins, and if you erased the second inning of the game, he was outstanding. Ricky’s only spot of trouble came in the second when he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer to Jeff Francoeur to put the Mets up 3-0. 
Ricky bounced back, and lasted seven innings against the Mets, allowing no runs and just one more hit after the second inning.

In the meantime, the Fish had base runners in every inning, but they couldn’t put anything together against Mets starter Tim Redding until the bottom of the fifth. With two men on, Hanley tied up the game with one swing of his bat, a three-run jack to make it a 3-3 ball game. 

Gaby Sanchez pinch hit for Ricky in the bottom of the seventh and drew a walk off of Redding. After a call to the bullpen, Pedro Feliciano threw a wild pitch to advance pinch runner Bonifacio to second, And Feliciano intentionally walked Hanley. With two out, Jorge Cantu doubled to drive in Bonifacio and Hanley, and put the Marlins up 5-3.
Brendan Donelly pitched the eighth inning for the Marlins, and some sloppy defense got Brendan and the Fish into trouble. Brian Schneider reached on an error by Dan Uggla, Angel Pagan singled, and Luis Castillo hit a sac bunt to advance the runners to second and third for David Wright. Donnelly struck out Wright, but a passed ball by Ronny Paulino allowed Schneider to score, and the Mets pulled within a run. 

After a rather exciting game for Fish fans, the top of the ninth inning was a real pleasure to witness. Leo Nunez came in and gave up two straight singles to Murphy and Francoeur to open the inning, walked Jeremy Reed on four pitches, and blew the save when Cory Sullivan singled to drive in two runs and put the Mets in the lead. 
Nunez struck out David Wright to end the top of the inning, but the damage was done. And unlike Wednesday, this time there was no walk-off magic to speak of. 
Ross Gload had a pinch hit single, but that was all Francisco Rodriguez allowed in the bottom of the ninth. Rodriguez closed the door and the Fish dropped game one of their final home series in heartbreaking fashion. 
Please pass the Kleenex.
6-5, Mets

Recipe For a Sweep

recipe.gif1 opponent that sucks real bad

1 whole bunch of hitting 
An overabundance of run-scoring 
a pinch of real good relief pitching 
1 broom 

Directions: Win first two games of series. Mix above ingredients thoroughly. Bake at 375 for 3 ½ hours, or until Mets fans can no longer be heard in the stands. Garnish with broom. Serve immediately. 
The Marlins were once again in line for a sweep as they faced the Mets Thursday night at Citi Field, and after the bullpen blew their chance Sunday against the Nats, it was nice to see them actually execute the sweep this time. 
For the second night in a row, the Marlins had a nice start to the game. The Fish batted around in the first inning and tagged Bobby Parnell with three runs. They went on to score single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and Parnell’s night was over after giving up six runs (five earned) through five.
Sean West was on the mound for the Marlins, and didn’t have his best start, only lasting through four innings. Sean gave up two runs in the fourth inning, and in the bottom of the fifth, he put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. With the Fish up 6-2 and the Mets threatening, Fredi decided to end Sean’s night. 
The Hopper relieved West and pitched two innings for the Fish. Burke allowed just two hits, singles in the fifth that scored both the runners he inherited from West. After those two runs, which were tagged to Sean, the bullpen did not allow another run in the game. 
Once Parnell’s night was finished, the Fish didn’t stop the fun there, but proceeded to have a field day with the Mets bullpen. The Marlins scored another seven runs off New York’s relievers to ensure that our brooms would not have to be flung into a closet or hurled off a balcony in a fit of rage, as they had been in Florida’s last series. 
The Marlins obviously had a great night offensively, and clobbered the Mets with 13 runs on 16 hits. Nick Johnson drove in four of those runs, while Hanley, Cody and Helms each had two RBI in the game. Dan Uggla added to the show when he went deep in the third inning for his 27th home run on the year. 

With the Marlins victory, The Hopper logged his seventh win of the season, and for the first time since they were 11-1 in April, the Fish find themselves ten games over .500. 
Oh. And thanks to the Nationals not blowing it, the Marlins also gained a game on the Phillies. Not that we’re paying attention to that.