Tagged: Rick VandenHurk

Hurk + Jorge = W

hurk philies.JPGWho says the Marlins are playing meaningless baseball?

It was the beginning of the end (pause to weep bitterly) as the Fish and the Phils opened their final series of the regular season Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. 
With the Marlins fighting the  Braves for second place in the East, and the Phillies trying to secure home field advantage in the post-season, the Fish had plenty to play for despite being eliminated from the playoffs.
Hanley–in a slump the last few weeks, and hitless in his last 11 ABs–got the night off, but a strong start from Rick VandenHurk and the bats of Jorge Cantu and Cameron Maybin were all the Fish needed to nab their 86th win of the season.
With Joe Blanton on the mound, the Marlins got on the board in the first inning thanks to a two-run single from Jorge Cantu. But the Phils answered right back in the bottom of the first when Ryan Howard went deep off of Rick VandenHurk to tie up the game at two apiece.
Despite the early home run, Hurk made his last start of the season a good one. He allowed five hits through six solid innings, and after the long ball in the first, Hurk didn’t give up another run to the Phillies. 
Once Howard tied the game, the Marlins wasted no time answering back. In the top of the second, Emilio Bonifacio singled, and back-to-back RBI doubles by Cameron Maybin and Chris Coghlan gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead. 
In the seventh, the Marlins loaded the bases with nobody out, but only managed to push one run across the plate on an RBI from Dan Uggla. Joe Blanton was done after he faced one batter in the seventh, and finished the night with five earned runs on nine hits through six innings.
The Marlins added on again in the eighth inning when Cantu drove in his 99th run of the season on a sac fly, and John Baker hit an RBI single to give the Marlins a five-run advantage.
Jorge Cantu continued his RBI tear and drove in three of the Marlins seven runs in the game. Cantu, who drove in 25 in the month of Setember, sits just one RBI away from the century mark with two games left to play. Cameron Maybin also impressed Friday, batting second and going 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored.
With the win, the Marlins improved to 86-74, and are tied with the Braves for second place in the NL East. They also diminished the Phillies chances of home field advantage in the post-season.
Meaningless, schmeaningless.

Consider the Curse Reversed

Man_Jump_for_Joy.jpgAnother pitchers duel was in order for the Marlins and Reds as they faced off in game two of their series Friday night at the Great American Ball Park. 

Rick VandenHurk was on the Hill for the Marlins, and had a great night as he allowed just one run on four hits in six strong innings of work. It was too bad for Vandy that Homer Bailey went one better and tossed seven scoreless innings, and allowed just three hits to the Fish, taking away Hurk’s chance at the W. 

One measly run was all the offense to speak of until the eighth inning, when the Reds scored an insurance run off of Brendan Donnelly. With closer Francisco Cordero coming in to pitch the ninth, it seemed that the Marlins would go quietly for their tenth loss in a row at the Great American Ball Park. 
Only they didn’t. 

The Fish rallied in the ninth. Coghlan led off the inning by reaching base on what was ruled an error, but was actually a base hit (we promise). Hanley Ramirez singled with one out, and Jorge Cantu drove in Coghlan to put the Fish on the board. Dan Uggla’s ground out scored Hanley, and Baker blooped a single into left to score Cantu and give the Fish the lead. After a single from Cody Ross, Jared Burton came out of the bullpen to replace Cordero.

Burton promptly gave up an RBI double to Brett Carroll, and the Marlins took a 4-2 lead. 

It was up to Leo Nunez (gulp) to shut down the Reds in the bottom half of the ninth, and given Leo’s affinity for the home run, and considering the tiny confines of the GABP, that was no small task. 
Naturally, Nunez gave up a long ball to pinch hitter Juan Francisco to lead off the bottom of the ninth and to put the Reds within a run. But that was all for the Reds, and Leo struck out two and closed it out for his 23rd save of the season. 
Brett Carroll’s RBI double ended up being the difference in the game, and for the first time since 2006, the Fish won a game in Cincinnati

Join us in a Victory dance, won’t you??!! 

Marlins 4, Mets 2

There was still a pretty awful taste in our mouths from the bullpen’s botched sweep of the Nationals as the Marlins rolled into Flushing, New York on Tuesday. 

Sure, the Marlins diplomatic soundbites about “forgetting” the horror of the loss thirty minutes after it ended sounded nice in the clubhouse, but put Craig Minervini’s mic in front of a few Fish fans, and you’d hear decidedly less upbeat feedback. 

Rick VandenHurk got the start as the Fish opened up their series with the Mets at Citi Field, and he looked pretty good to start, allowing just one hit to the Mets through the first three innings. 

New York got on the board in the fourth when Daniel Murphy and Jeff Francoeur singled with one out, and a sac fly by Josh Thole scored a run. Hurk struck out Anderson Hernandez to end the inning, but not before he grabbed at his side in apparent pain. Vandy winced walking off the mound toward the dugout, and his night was over due to a stiff back after a neat 4 innings in which he struck out three and allowed just one run on four hits and one walk. 
The Marlins tagged starter Tim Redding for four runs on a couple of long balls in his five innings of work for the Mets. With Coghlan on base in the third, Hanley Ramirez jacked his 101st career home run to give the Fish a 2-0 lead, and Cameron Maybin followed with a 2-run shot in the top of the fourth that landed right in the apple in center field. 
It was Hopper who came in to relieve Hurk in the fifth inning. Hop gave up a run when Luis Castillo singled to score Angel Pagan, who had tripled to open the inning. 
The Fish had a chance to add on in the top of the sixth when Gaby Sanchez singled with Dan Uggla on second. Uggla was held at third, but attempted to score when the throw to the plate sailed past Thole. Uggla was thrown out at the plate, and that was as close to scoring as the Marlins would get for the remainder of the game. 
The Fish managed just two hits and two walks off of the Mets bullpen, and couldn’t add to their four runs. 
In the meantime, the Marlins bullpen worked on redeeming themselves for Sunday’s heartbreaker. Brian Sanches pitched a scoreless sixth, but got into trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with one out. He struck out David Wright for the second out of the inning before Carlos Beltran flied out to the warning track (which induced about 40,000 Fish fan heart attacks, but got the Marlins out of the inning unscathed). 
Lindstrom was up next, and handled the Mets 1-2-3 in the eighth, before Leo Nunez marched in to save it in the ninth. Miraculously, saving the game is exactly what he did. 
It was Brian Sanches who got the win, and the Fish got off to a good start against the Mets, taking game one of the series at Citi Field. 
We won’t call it redemption for Sunday, but at least it’s a start. 

Two Heads are NOT Better than One. But Nobody Asked Me.

2head.JPGA brilliant baseball mind once said, “Doubleheaders suck real bad.” 

Or something like that.

I am inclined to agree. I’m all for bonus baseball, but I’m just not a fan of cramming two already-long games into one measly afternoon/evening. But, due to the fact that the Marlins’ retractable-roof stadium is still barely more than a twinkle in David Samson’s eye (OK, so it’s probably more like a zygote an embryo by now), when the game was rained out Saturday night, the Marlins and Rockies had no choice but to face off twice on Sunday at Land Shark Stadium.
The  doubleheader didn’t start off in the most promising manner, and Marlins fans braced themselves for an ugly afternoon when Chris Volstad was shaky to start the game. Chris threw nearly 30 pitches in the first inning, and naturally gave up his obligatory long ball, a solo shot to Carlos Gonzalez that gave the Rockies an early lead. Volstad would settle down, though, and go on to give up four hits, walk four, strike out five and not allow another run in his five innings of work. 
Hanley Ramirez got the scoring underway for the Marlins in the bottom of the first when he hit a home run off of Rockies starter Aaron Cook to tie up the score. In the second, the Marlins scored five times off of Cook. Chris Volstad came to bat with the bases loaded and singled to drive in two runs, and Chris Coghlan hit a three-run shot to put the Fish up 6-1. The Marlins would add another run in the third, and end Cook’s afternoon after just 2 1/3 innings.
Speaking of ending someone’s afternoon, Nick Johnson left the game in the first inning with a strained hamstring, as the collective hearts of South Florida dropped to our toes. He’s day-to-day.
Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan were both three-for-five, and Cody Ross was four-for-six with an RBI. As a team, the Marlins had 17 hits, marking the twelfth consecutive 10+ hit game for the Fish.
The Marlins gained ground on the Rockies with the win, and climbed within one game of the wild card lead. 
And then came game two.
I didn’t catch a whole lot of the second half of the doubleheader, but if the holes in my recap bother you, I’m pretty sure that’s why God invented box scores. And beat writers. Here’s what I did catch, though, watching some of the play-by-play on my Blackberry…
Rick VandenHurk was, um, not great. He gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings–including three home runs–but while doing so, Vandinconsistent also managed career-high strikeouts with nine. Good stuff.
Not all the blame can fall on Vandy, as the Marlins had plenty of chances to score runs, and decided instead that it was a pretty neat idea to leave said runs stranded on base. The Fish had 13 hits, bringing their streak of games with ten+ hits to thirteen. Unfortunately, thirteen was also the number of men they left on base in the game, and they were unable to come up with much of anything with runners in scoring position. 
Cody Ross set a franchise record for most hits in a doubleheader when he added another two hits in the second game to bring his total on the day to six.
The Marlins split the doubleheader, and thus remain two games back in the wild card. But the good news is they won yet another series by taking two out of three from Colorado, have won 8 of their last 10 games, and finish up their homestand 5-2. 
And that, as they say, ain’t bad.

The Streak Continues! (uh, for Fish, not  Coghlan)


Fresh off their sweep of the Phillies on the road, the Marlins were back in town to kick off a four-game set with the Houston Astros Monday night at Land Shark Stadium, and to prove to themselves (and maybe the Nationals) that they are also capable of handling teams which are not in first place.
Brian Moehler was on the mound for the Astros, and the Marlins welcomed their old buddy back with open arms… and with an RBI from Jorge Cantu, a two-run double from John Baker and a sac fly from Cody Ross to take a four-run lead in the first. We missed you, Moehler.
Brian didn’t allow another run in his five innings of work, but the Marlins took the lead in the first, and wouldn’t give it up. (Aw crap, I just gave away the ending. My bad.)
It was Rick VandenHurk making the start for the Fish, and he also seemed to be making a very concerted effort to cram a complete game’s worth of pitches into five innings. Vandy didn’t have a bad start Monday night, but he didn’t necessarily make it look too easy through five innings against the Astros. Hurk managed to get through a shaky first without giving up a run, but he wasn’t as lucky in the second when, um, big-formidable-power-hitter Darin Erstad took him deep to put two runs on the board for Houston. With five hits, three walks, four K’s and two runs to his credit, Hurk was finished after five innings and 97 pitches. 
The Marlins added three runs in the sixth inning off of Astros reliever Chris Sampson, who balked in a run with the bases loaded, and then paid for several intentional walks. Sampson put Gload on base to pitch to Chris Coghlan, who answered with an RBI single, and then decided to try his luck at the strategy again by walking Nick Johnson intentionally with Hanley Ramirez on deck. It’s not often you’ll see a team choose to walk a guy to pitch to Hanley, and he showed the Astros why when he batted in his 75th run of the season. 
All eyes were on Chris Coghlan as he attempted to add on to his streak of eight consecutive multi-hit games, but while the rookie reached base three times, he only got one hit on the night. While that streak came to an end, though, the team kept their streak of double-digit hits alive for the seventh game in a row.
Headed into the ninth, the Marlins lead 8-3, and Lindstrom came in to record the final three outs of the game. Or that was the idea, anyway. Normally when a pitcher comes in to pitch the ninth with a five-run lead, it’s not considered a save situation. But I did say it was Matt Lindstrom coming in pitch, and we all know that with him, pretty much any and every situation can be considered a save (as in, he’ll probably need to be saved from the situation he gets himself into when he gives up multiple walks, hits and runs). Matty only got through 1/3 of the ninth inning, and gave up three runs–one earned. In fairness to Matt, Uggla’s error didn’t exactly help him out.

Fredi pulled Lindstrom for Leo Nunez, and Leo must have wanted to make Chris Sampson feel a little better about his rough sixth inning, so he balked in a run before recording the save for the Marlins. 

The Fish have now won four straight, and are just 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the East. Hopefully they can keep the hot streak going Tuesday night as Chris Volstad takes the hill in the second game of the series. 

Let’s gain more ground, shall we? Thanks.

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.

Vazquez, McCann take brief hiatus from sucking against  Fish

no broom.pngObviously, walking Chipper Jones was the thing to do in the top of the tenth inning Thursday night in the series finale against Atlanta. I mean, come on, Chipper is Chipper, and who could have foreseen that Brian McCann–who was 0 for his last five games against the Fish–would choose that specific moment to decide to snap out of his Florida funk? 

Then again, we can’t blame the game entirely on McCann. Javier Vazquez undoubtedly influenced the catcher’s turnaround with one of his own. After four straight losses to the Marlins, something suddenly inspired Vazquez, and he held the Fish to one run over seven innings.

Rick VandenHurk deserved a better result from his start, as he went six, giving up just two runs and striking out a career-high nine batters. Unfortunately, the only run support Vandy’s teammates could generate was on an RBI single from Ronny Paulino in the 5th.

Cody Ross homered off of Vazquez in the eighth, and Cantu tied things up on a lucky RBI chopper to send the game into extras, but that’s where the comeback ended. Luis Ayala served up the three-run shot to McCann in the top of the tenth, and this time the walk-of magic was a no-show for the Marlins, who dropped the finale, settling for the series win.

We will resist the urge to complain about Land Shark’s “no brooms” policy, since obviously, it helped us to not look idiotic at the stadium Thursday.

6-3, Braves