Tagged: Nationals

Pinto, Nunez Blow (It).

blow.JPGWell if Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals had ended after the top of the ninth, Marlins fans would be celebrating a sweep right now. 

But since that’s not how baseball works, instead, fans are likely nursing throbbing headaches, dehydration and nausea due to the gallons of liquid happy amnesia they downed after one of the most depressing ends to a game in recent memory.
But let’s start at the beginning, which was decidedly less mournful.

On the three-year anniversary of his no-hitter, Anibal Sanchez had a strong start for the Fish. He struck out five and allowed just four hits and two walks to the Nationals through six scoreless innings. The problem at first was that J.D. Martin decided to put in a quality start of his own, and held Florida to just two runs in 6 2/3 innings. 
The 100th home run of Hanley Ramirez’s career put the Fish up 1-0 in the top of the fourth, and the Marlins tagged Martin for one more run with two out in the seventh, when Chris Coghlan hit an RBI single to give the team a two-run advantage. 
With two out in the bottom of the eighth, and the Marlins up 2-0, Renyel Pinto decided he was done pitching. He proceeded to give up a walk, a single, and another walk to load the bases before Fredi pulled him in favor of Kiko Calero. Kiko was unable to get out of the inning unscathed, and gave up a two-run single to Mike Morse to tie up the game.
Fish fans rejoiced in the top of the ninth when Nick Johnson played hero and hit a two-run single to give the lead back to the Florida Marlins, but the rejoicing was premature, considering Leo Nunez was heading to the mound in the bottom of the inning.
It happened really fast, sort of like a multi-vehicle crash that takes just a few seconds, but feels like it’s happening in slow motion. The first pitch Nunez threw to Willie Harris was launched into the seats, and the score was 4-3. Next, Leo gave up an infield single to Cristian Guzman. And as a grand finale, Ryan Zimmerman jacked a walk-off, two-run shot.
[Expletive deleted].

Fish Make it Four in A Row

excited2.jpgThe Marlins started and ended game two of their series against the Nationals in much the same way they started and ended game one. 

Facing Livan Hernandez Saturday night, the Fish once again put three runs on the board in the first inning. With two on, Jorge Cantu doubled to score the first run of the game, and Cody Ross followed with a two-out, two-run single to put the Fish up 3-0. 
Josh Johnson was once again not at his sharpest on the mound, which for a normal pitcher might mean trouble, but for Josh means something entirely different (like, you know, that he didn’t have a no-hitter going into the eighth inning). JJ got into a bit of trouble in the second when he loaded the bases with nobody out, but two ground balls later, JJ was out of the inning and only one run was on the board for the Nats. 

In the fourth inning, the Marlins offense jumped on Livan again. Helms and Coghlan singled, and Maybin hit a sac fly to score a run. Hanley Ramirez followed with his 20th home run of the season to put the Marlins up 6-1. 
Josh settled down after his shaky second, and tossed three straight 1-2-3 innings before he gave way to the bullpen. JJ lasted through five, and his night ended after 82 pitches, two hits, three walks and the lone run to the Nationals. 
With Victor Garate on the mound in relief of Livan in the sixth, Brett Hayes pinch-hit for JJ and hit the first home run of his major league career. Cameron Maybin followed with a walk, and Jorge Cantu doubled him in to give the Marlins an 8-1 lead. 
Christian Martinez pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but with one out in the seventh gave up three runs to put the Nats within striking distance… and to remind us that he is not exactly Burke Badenhop. Dan Meyer took over and recorded the final two outs of the seventh.
A Hanley Ramirez RBI double in the eighth capped off the scoring for the Marlins.
Brian Sanches took over for Dan Meyer with one out in the eighth, and stayed in to finish up the game. With two out in the ninth, he made things interesting when he gave up a double and a one-run single, but a fly ball to right ended the game, and the Marlins won their fourth straight. 
For the second night in a row, the Fish scored nine runs. If they can manage to keep that up, they may have a better chance at the Wild Card than HLD&S originally thought. 

Fish Win with a Baker’s Dozen

bakers dozen.jpg

Well the starting pitching wasn’t anything to write home about, but the Fish made up for it behind 13 hits and a big night from John Baker to keep their win streak alive. 
The Marlins jumped on Garrett Mock for six runs in the first three innings as the Marlins and Nationals kicked off a weekend series in DC. 
Jorge Cantu hit a two-run shot in the first inning, and John Baker followed with a two-run homer of his own in the third. But the Nationals answered back and scored three in the second inning, including two on an RBI triple from Alberto Gonzalez. Washington added two more runs when Josh Willingham went deep in the third, and West’s outing was cut short after just three innings. 
West gave up five runs on seven hits in his three lackluster innings of work, and allowed all five of his runs after two outs had been recorded. But it was no biggie for the Fish, seeing as Burke Badenhop is back in the bullpen… Or out of it, rather. The Marlins long reliever extraordinaire did his thing and tossed three scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief of West, despite the best effort of the Marlins defense to put a few runs on the board for the Nats. But Hop pitched around the mistakes, and got out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth inning to preserve the lead for the Marlins.
Saul Rivera didn’t fare as well as Hop in long relief, and the Marlins scored another three runs, including RBI singles from John Baker in the fifth and sixth innings.
Baker had three of the Marlins 13 hits in the game, and drove in nearly half the Marlins runs himself, finishing the night with four RBI. Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu each drove in two runs for the Fish, and Nick Johnson had an RBI hit as well.
Other than one run allowed by Matt Lindstrom in the eighth, the Marlins bullpen shut down the Nats after a disappointing night for Sean West. Leo Nunez closed it down in a scoreless ninth, and the Fish won their third game in a row, post-clubhouse fight. (Yes, HLD&S will continue to give credit for the win-streak to the feud, until someone can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the two are unrelated.)
HLD&S would like to issue a public apology for the myriad mistakes that likely overrun the above recap. We were slightly distracted by the pathetic display Ohio State put on against Navy, and cannot be responsible for any misinformation garnered from this blog. 

Marlins Season: We’ve Got a Pulse!


After a disappointing (read: horrifying) series against the Nationals, which had 9 out of 10 sportswriters sticking a fork in the Marlins season, the Fish were at Citizens Bank Park Friday night to kick off a 3-game series with the Phillies.
The Marlins needed resuscitation, and they needed it quick. 

It was Ricky Nolasco to the rescue, as he pitched seven strong innings for the Fish, and held the Phillies lineup to just four hits, while striking out seven. 

The Marlins offense got going early in support of Ricky, and tagged Phils starter Joe Blanton for two runs in the first inning on an RBI single from Dan Uggla, and Nick Johnson’s first home run as a Fish. Cody Ross followed by jacking the first pitch of the second inning, and the Fish were up 3-0 after two.

The Marlins enjoyed their 3-run lead (and didn’t bother to add on to it) all the way into the seventh inning, before a home run by Ben Francisco ruined Ricky’s shutout attempt and brought the Phils within one.

A one-run lead is never good news in the the, um, cozy confines of Citizens Bank Park, and so 99.8% of Marlins fans likely conceded the game when Renyel Pinto came in to pitch the eighth inning. As is his custom, Pinto walked two Phillies, and sent the collective hearts of South Florida into cardiac arrest. But then Ryan Howard struck out and Raul Ibanez grounded out, and the panic Fish fans were all experiencing turned out to be for naught.
Leo Nunez took pity on our nails (or the bloody stumps where our nails used to be located) and treated us to a drama-free closing of the game, and the Marlins took game one of the series against the NL East-leading Philthies.
HLD&S would like to extend special thanks to Ricky Nolasco for his real fine pitching, and to Fredi Gonzalez, whose starting lineup did not include the names Hermida or Bonifacio Friday night… And whose stern talking-to of the team after their putrid performance in Washington undoubtedly cured the Marlins of at least a small portion of their suck.
Well if a sweep by Washington can essentially end the Marlins season, then one little win against the reigning world champs can re-ignite everyone’s post-season hopes. Right? I guess I’ll go ask the South Florida sports media.
I don’t know about you, but I now feel .8% better about being swept by the Nationals.

Can I borrow your broom? I want to stab myself in the eye with it.

broom-1.jpgWell it’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d have to write this season, but nonetheless: 

The Marlins have just been swept by the Nationals.

If you want to know all the gory details, unfortunately you’ll have to look elsewhere, as the cocktail of prescription narcotics that I downed to ease the pain of this series have really clouded my memory of the afternoon’s events.

I do seem to recall that things started out splendidly for the Fish on Thursday in the series finale at Nationals Park. The Marlins scored two runs in the first and another 4 in the second, and chased starter Craig Stammen after just 1 2/3 innings. 
That provided a comfy six-run cushion for Chris Volstad, who held the Nats scoreless through three before he decided he was no longer a fan of prosperity. Chris gave up three runs in the fourth inning, and after John Baker hit a two-run shot in the top of the inning, Vols proceeded to give up another four runs in the fifth–thanks in part to the obligatory long ball and a costly error by Jorge Cantu. That was the end of Volstad’s afternoon.
So the Marlins saw a 6-0 lead evaporate Thurdsday, and things just went downhill from there. Or, things had already gone downhill, so they decided to dig a tunnel to the center of the earth and continue the ride.

The Fish were clinging to an 8-7 lead in the seventh when at some point (I was barely conscious by then) Fredi got tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Brian Sanches gave up a home run to Elijah Dukes to tie up the game. Then Luis Ayala gave up four runs in the eighth, one of which was balked in by Brendan Donnelly. And this is where I lose the will to live er, to recap this game.
The whole “sweep-avoidance” thing didn’t turn out so well for the Marlins as they lost their third straight game in our nation’s capital. The Fish are now seven games behind the Phillies as they head to Philadelphia, and while there are 54 games left in the season, this series definitely begs the question: are any of the remaining games even going to matter? 
Sorry. If you’re looking for optimism today, you stopped at the wrong blog. 

Well THIS is embarrassing.


It’s great to see that the Marlins can take care of business against teams such as the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs. The problem, though, is that it also makes losing to bottom-dwelling teams like the Nationals just that much more infuriating.
Rick VandenHurk was on the hill for the Marlins in game two of the series at Nationals park Wednesday night, and for some reason Vandy decided it would be a pretty swell idea to throw batting practice to the home team. 
Henricus gave up home runs to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn in the first inning, and another long ball to Ronnie Belliard in the fourth. Cristian Guzman’s double in the third drove in a run, and his RBI triple in the fourth capped off the scoring for the Nationals. 
After just four innings, VandenHurk was done. Uh, but by that point, so was the damage.  

While the rest of the Fish continued their trend of leaving men on base, Dan Uggla did his level best to singlehandedly supply the Marlins with enough offense to win the game. Uggs hit his 20th home run of the season in the second, and drove in two more runs with a single in the seventh to give the Fish three of their four runs on the night. Meanwhile, the bullpen, after a less-than-stellar showing Tuesday, held the Nats scoreless over four innings.

It wouldn’t be enough, though. Five runs on four hits–three of which were home runs–from the not-so-incredible Hurk were all Washington needed to take a series from the Marlins for the first time since 2007.
After four straight series wins, the Marlins have dropped two in a row to the worst team in baseball. That is just good, good stuff.
We did learn a valuable lesson tonight, though, as Emilio Bonifacio made his first start for the Fish in center field– Boni can pretty much be counted on to go hitless no matter what position he’s playing.

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.

The W stands for “wow, we’re bad.”


Swept by the Rays? No problem.
Not when the Nationals are up next on the schedule.
Not to disrespect my second-favorite team in the division, but after the way the Sunshine Series unfolded, a three-game set against the bowels of the NL East is just what the doctor ordered.
The Fish didn’t even need their ace Wednesday afternoon to complete their third sweep of the Nats this season. Uh, and that’s probably a good thing, seeing as it appeared to have slipped Josh Johnson’s mind that he is, in fact, said ace. JJ only gave up one run, but struggled with his command from the get-go, giving up four walks and five hits in his shortest outing of the season. 
Josh exited the game after just 3 1/3 innings, which might be considered a bad thing for a team which does not employ The Hopper. Since the Marlins do, though, it was all good as Hop pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. 
It just wouldn’t be a game against the Nats if there were no early deficit to overcome, so the Fish promptly fell behind in the first inning. They took back the lead in the third when Hanley knocked in two runs on a double (a double which, by the way, extends Hanley’s RBI-streak to ten games).
*insert obligatory rain delay*
In the top of the seventh, Renyel Pinto was all like, “hey, they’re making this way too easy on us,” so he decided to challenge his team by giving up two walks, two hits, two runs and the Marlins’ lead in just one-third of an inning. Cody Ross made up for Pinto’s real bad pitching by going deep to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, Wes Helms grounded into a fielder’s choice to score the go-ahead run in the eighth, Leo Nunez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, and voila! 
The Marlins are now 9-0 against the Nats this season, and are just a game behind the Phillies for first place in the NL East.
Official HLD&S Position: We heart the Natinals!

Let the Rain Fall Down (Since That Seems to Work Out Pretty Well for the Fish These Days).


Game two of the series against the Nationals didn’t start out so well for the Fish Tuesday night at Land Shark Stadium. 
That was in good part due to the fact that for some reason Sean West decided Nats pitcher Craig Stammen was the most imposing batter in the lineup. Seriously, Sean. A two-run shot to Adam Dunn, we get. A walk and a two-run single to Craig Stammen? Not as much.
Good thing this is the Nationals we’re talking about. In that case we know that, obviously, a 5-1 deficit merely serves to set up the Marlins’ come-from-behind victory.
Hanley was decidedly less intimidated by Stammen than Sean West appeared to be. He hit a two-run shot off the pitcher in the sixth inning, establishing a franchise record for nine straight games with at least one RBI.
And then, as is custom, came the rain. The obligatory deluge was at least kind enough to wait until Han-RISP drove in a few more in the bottom of the seventh, sealing a win for the Marlins when the game was called 89 minutes later.
The Fish are now two-for-two now in the rain-shortened game category this season, which almost makes us not care about nearly drowning in our seats last night. 
This afternoon the Men in Teal go for the sweep–and a 9-0 record against the Nats on the season. Ace Josh Johnson is on the mound; thousands of snotty-nosed kiddos are in the stands. Oh yes. It’s Camp Day.