Things didn’t go so well for the Marlins at the Trop this weekend.
Or, I guess more accurately, things went pretty badly for the Marlins at the Trop this weekend, as the Rays swept the three-game series, shoving the Fish back to three games behind the Phillies and a game under .500.
Here’s a quick (yet extremely informative) recap: The Marlins starting pitching wasn’t too terrible overall, until Big Game Andrew struggled Sunday, but the bullpen pretty much made up for that, getting tagged with two losses in the first two games. Really though, first prize for making the sweep a reality goes to the Marlins cold, lifeless offense, which couldn’t put much of anything together all series long and combined to go 2-for-68* with runners in scoring position (*this is a completely fabricated number. We’re too lazy to look it up). I heard somewhere once that scoring runs can be helpful when a win is the goal. Maybe someone should fill the Fish in on that.
The Marlins teased their fans mercilessly in the top of the ninth Sunday, refusing to go quietly without one last display of the art of leaving men on base. The Fish loaded ’em up and even scored a run on a Wes Helms walk before ending the game with what they’d been doing all series long: leaving multiple runners in scoring position. Paulino and Gload struck out to finish things up, and that’s all for the Citrus Series.
The Marlins end interleague play at 10-8, going 1-5 against the Rays this season. Remember when we used to win more games against them than we lost? That was fun. Good riddance, Tampa Bay.
The Nationals are looking really inviting right about now.
Although our multiple letters, emails and phone calls to the office of the commissioner of baseball have been ignored, we still maintain that “citrus” gives the Rays an unfair advantage in the matchup.
Forget for a moment that the Marlins lead the all-time series 36-28. We have a point to make.
First of all, Central Florida, not South Florida, boasts the top citrus-producing county in the state. Second, you can’t really get much more citrusy than “Tropicana Field.” What on earth does citrus have to do with the Marlins? (Well, aside from the fact that there’s a lot of orange paint slapped on the walls of Land Shark Stadium.)
Florida is the Sunshine State, not the Citrus State. The interleague series is a matchup between two Florida teams. It is not unreasonable to request a change in name to the “Sunshine Series,” considering that the sun is at least something the cities have in common.
And while we’re on the subject of unfair advantages, can someone please explain why the Rays broadcasters are handling both series this year? Isn’t there typically supposed to be a 50/50 split? It is slightly disconcerting that this is the second series of the season in which we will miss several broadcasts of “Marlins Live,” any pro-Fish commentary, post-game interviews with Marlins players, and Tommy Hutton’s sweater vests. Then again, there’s Dewayne Staats’s mustache and hairdo to keep us entertained, so…
Official HLD&S position: SUNSHINE Series!
Answer: Hitting the jackpot, death by terrorist, Marlins win.
So close, JJ! But actually, what we were looking for is “events with a probability of 0.000001.”
If I were Josh Johnson, I would chain myself to the mound after the seventh inning and dare Fredi to try and lift me from the game. That, or use my solid 6’7″ frame to rough up the guy who decides to come out and screw with my lead. Yesterday’s victim (were Josh a little less even-keeled) would have been Leo Nunez, who came in after seven solid innings from JJ and gave up a solo shot to Jason Bartlett, tying the score.
I guess the guys wanted to squeeze as much drama as possible out of the homestand’s finale to make up for the fact that we had so little to cheer about over the last ten games, so on to extra innings they went. In the end it was Ross Gload who played hero to all us loss-weary fans. Gload, who scored the first run of the game, drove in the last as well, lining a walk-off single in the bottom of the eleventh, practically reducing grown men to tears of joy and relief. The Marlins avoid a sweep, and their fifth straight loss. And I avoid the need to hurl myself from a tall building.
Well, we’ve finally won, so I guess that means it’s time to get to work on another five or six-game skid. (Sorry, optimism just isn’t on the menu today, especially not as the Marlins get set to face Grandpa Moyer and the Philthies.)