Tagged: Renyel Pinto

Marlins 2010 Home Opener

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes. You can read her game recaps and other thoughts on the 2010 Marlins there.


It was a promising night for the Marlins Friday as they opened their first home series of the season at Sun Life Stadium in front of 40,666 fans–the largest home opener since 2005.

Volstad was on and dealing through six innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk to the Dodgers, and at one point retired 11 in a row. With Chris on his game, it seemed that the most abysmal aspect of the evening might prove to be Scott Stapp butchering the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.

Of course, that was before the late-inning sloppy defense and shaky bullpen made their scheduled appearance.

Not many people had expected a pitchers duel going into the game, but Hiroki Kuroda was dealing as well, and put on a nice show through eight innings. He gave up just five hits and a walk, and struck out seven. The lone run Kuroda allowed came courtesy of Jorge Cantu, who has had an RBI in all four games the Marlins have played this season. In the bottom of the sixth, Cantu singled to score Cameron Maybin and give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

Vols ran into some trouble in the seventh when Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake both doubled to tie the game. Blake DeWitt followed with a single that put the Dodgers in the lead, and with one out, Chris handed the ball over to the bullpen.

Unfortunately, Hopper was  not available.

Clay Hensley came on in relief of Chris, and it seemed as though things picked up right where they left off on Wednesday night. Hensley promptly loaded the bases, and Hanley committed a costly error when he fielded a ground ball from Reed Johnson and tried to get the force out at second. He ended up throwing the ball into right field instead, which allowed two runs to score and gave the Dodgers a three-run lead.

Next up out of the pen was Jose Veras. He miraculously escaped the eighth without giving up a run, but did commit the Marlins second error in as many innings when he lobbed the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt at second base. In the ninth, Veras walked one and gave up a double before he was lifted from the game.

When Renyel Pinto came out of the bullpen, he was met with a chorus of boos from Fish fans who clearly weren’t ready to forget Wednesday’s meltdown in New York. In response, Pinto served up a double to James Loney, and (naturally) both of his inherited runners scored. Manny Ramirez singled on a pop-up that Gaby couldn’t get to, and put the Dodgers up 7-1 before the inning was over.

The Marlins did try to stage a bit of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Wes Helms had a 2-run pinch hit double–his 45th pinch hit with the Marlins–which established a new franchise record. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. 

Jonathan Broxton finished off the Fish, striking out Chris Coghlan and Cameron Maybin to end the game, and the Marlins dropped their home opener. 

If games only lasted six innings, the Fish might have a perfect record right now.


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.

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. 
Pat yourselves on the back, Fish fans. You’ve just survived your very first bullpen implosion of the season.
Marlins 7, Mets 6

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].

Braves Get Free Pass(es) to Series Win

erase mccann.jpgIf it were possible to use a magic eraser on a baseball game, Ricky Nolasco might consider wiping Brian McCann from Sunday afternoon’s series finale with Atlanta. 

Obviously, it isn’t possible. But even if it were, despite going three for four with a walk and five RBI, Brian McCann wasn’t the real problem for the Marlins as they faced off with the Braves at Turner Field to end their road trip. 
The problem, once again, was pitching. 
Ricky Nolasco went with the recent trend of Marlins starters and struggled in the first inning. He issued two walks before Brian McCann began his one-man assault of Florida with a home run that gave the Braves a 3-0 lead. 
Ricky would last just 4 1/3 innings against Atalnta. He allowed four runs on eight hits and walked three before being lifted in the fifth with one out and the bases loaded.  Cristhian Martinez was one bright spot in the bullpen as he entered the game to work out of Ricky’s jam and hold the Braves to four runs. 

The good news for the Marlins was that Derek Lowe didn’t exactly have the most memorable afternoon on the mound himself. The pitcher went five innings and gave up five runs, including a three-run double by Catcher Ronny Paulino that put the Fish ahead 5-4 in the fourth inning. 
The Marlins maintained their lead through six innings, and it was all downhill from there. Kiko Calero pitched the seventh and gave up the game-tying run, and then came the delight that was the bottom of the eighth. Calero walked Omar Infante to start the inning before Renyel Pinto came in and joined the fun with a walk to Kelly Johnson. After Chipper Jones grounded out, Brian McCann was at it again, this time with a single off of Pinto that scored two runs and gave Atlanta a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. 
Ricky Nolasco and the bullpen walked eight Braves Sunday, and four of McCann’s five RBI were the result of those walks. Bottom line? Brian McCann had a good afternoon at the plate, but he didn’t cost the Marlins the game. If our pitchers weren’t tossing out free passes like candy at a parade, McCann could just as easily have put a single run on the board for the Braves, rather than five. 
So behind some weak starting pitching, and less-than-inspiring pitching from a few of our relievers as well, the Fish dropped their second game–and second series–in a row. 

I need to look it up in my baseball manual to be sure, but I’m almost positive this isn’t how you go about winning the Wild Card. 

Fish Win as Johnson… Electrimazinates™


“Ace” just doesn’t seem to cut it when looking for an appropriate word to describe what Josh Johnson is as a pitcher. In fact, there may not be a descriptive enough word in any dictionary on the planet that could properly encompass the glory that is JJ and his beastly arm. So HLD&S has made one up…

Josh was on the hill for the Fish to open a three-game series with the Rockies Friday night at The Shark, and to say that he dominated would be putting it very mildly.

Through 8 1/3 innings, Josh struck out a career-high 11 batters, and had a no-hitter going until two outs in the seventh inning, when Garrett Atkins busted it up by blasting a home run, erasing the no-no and the shutout with one powerful swing of his bat. 

While of course a no-hitter for JJ would have been amazing, HLD&S was not shedding too many tears once the initial sting of disappointment came and went. Johnson’s pitch count was at 98 when his no-hit bid ended, and there were 2 1/3 innings left in the game. JJ has tossed 161.1 innings this season, after logging only 87.1 innings in 2008 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Call it paranoia, but we’d kind of like to preserve that beautiful arm for the remainder of the season, which made what happened next a tad confusing. With Josh’s pitch count over 100, he still came back out to pitch the eighth, even though both the chance for the no-hitter and the shutout were already gone. JJ recorded an out and walked one, bringing his pitch count to 114 before he exited the game to a standing ovation from the 15,000+ in attendance.
8 1/3 innings, 11 strikeouts, and one lonely hit for Josh Johnson… You see why we’re forced to alter the English language to accommodate him?
With Jason Hammel on the mound for the Rockies, the Marlins scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings, and put another two on the board when Dan Uggla blasted a two-run shot off of Adam Eaton in the seventh. The Marlins also extended their streak of double-digit hits to eleven games, with ten hits on the night, and continue to enjoy the longest team double-digit hit streak in Major League Baseball this season. Hanley Ramirez was once again 2-for-4 on the night, which brought his personal hit streak to ten games, but Chris Coghlan saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-4 with a sacrifice.
The bullpen took over for Johnson with one out in the eight, and after Pinto recorded the remaining two outs in that inning, the Marlins continued their trend of making those last three outs as difficult–and frightening–as possible. No one was probably as nervous as Josh Johnson, who handed the Marlins a 5-run lead that they managed to whittle down to just one run, thanks in part to some bad defense with Brendan Donnelly on the mound, and a 3-run homer Leo Nunez served up to Chris Iannetta with two outs. 
After the long ball, Nunez managed to close out the game and preserve Johnson’s 12th win of the season. If he hadn’t, HLD&S would be inventing even more additions to the English language today. Four-letter ones. 
The Marlins are now just two games back from the Rockies for the wild card lead, but remain 4 1/2 games behind the aggravating Phillies–who are apparently recovering well from being swept by Florida, and are determined to win every single game they play for the remainder of the season.
In other news, we need a closer.

Fish Win Fifth Straight… I Think.

blockedview.JPGThe way the Marlins have been scoring runs of late, a little five-run deficit Tuesday night honestly felt more like a mild annoyance, rather than a sign that the game might end poorly for the Fish.

Not that I would have been able to see a sign of any kind from where I was sitting as the Marlins took on the Astros in game two of the series at Land Shark Stadium. I’m not complaining, though, because while I missed a good 90% of what happened on the field, I did have a charming view of the backs of several strangers who were–quite literally–on the edge of their seats the entire game.   

Tell me again why we didn’t need to use eleventy billion taxpayer dollars to build an actual baseball facility for the Marlins? Exactly. (HLD&S’s stellar sight lines pictured top left. Please read the following recap with that view of the game in mind.)  
Chris Volstad seemed sharp to start the game, and pitched fairly well through four innings, but that’s where the good news about his outing ends… Unless you count as good news the fact that he didn’t give up a home run for the first start in a long while. I personally don’t, seeing as the Astros didn’t have a need to go deep, since Chris seemed happy enough to give up half-a-dozen runs to the team the old-fashioned way.
In the top of the fifth, Volstad suddenly forgot how to throw strikes, and before he could record the third out of the inning, Houston had scored five runs to give the them a 6-2 lead over the Fish. 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, three walks and six runs were what we enjoyed from Chris before the bullpen took over in the game. Fantastic.  
One bad inning from Volstad may have been all it took to put the Fish in a hole, but thankfully one bad inning from Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt was all it took for the Marlins to begin to claw their way out of it. Oswalt, much like Volstad, pitched well to start, but he gave up four runs in the sixth on four straight hits and two bases-loaded walks to bring the Fish within a run.   
Down by one in the seventh, John Baker, who also had an RBI single in the sixth, hit a two-run double to give the Marlins the lead.
With the Fish up 8-7, Leo Nunez headed out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth, and I pleaded with him to give us a 1-2-3 inning. He ignored me, of course (because it just wouldn’t be a Marlins game without somebody giving up runs in the ninth inning, now would it?). Leo gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Geoff Blum to tie the game. 
Renyel Pinto and Brian Sanches pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings respectively, and then the collective yawns of the home crowd signaled to the boys that it was time to end this thing.
Chris Coghlan and Nick Johnson drew walks to open the bottom of the eleventh, but things didn’t look too promising for the Fish when Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms both struck out. But then John Baker drew a walk, and Dan Uggla, who was 3-for-5 in the game, came through with his first walk-off hit of the season. Dan’s single scored Coghlan, and gave the Marlins their fifth win in a row.
The Fish not only extended their win streak Tuesday night, they also added an eighth game to their double-digit hit streak, and pulled within 2 games of the National League wild card lead.
Sounds like it was a good game. Would have been lovely to see it.

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.