Tagged: We're Goin' Streakin'!!!

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun, Lose Your Game.

doublemint1240768803.jpgOK, so the good news is the Marlins’ eleven hits extended their double-digit hit streak to 15 games Wednesday night, a feat that was last accomplished by the St. Louis Browns in 1937.

Congratulations.

The bad news is that double-digit hits do absolutely nothing to help a team in the standings when they are complemented by double-digit men left on base, double-digit hits allowed to the opposing team’s lineup, and an attempt to start a double-digit error streak as well.
All in all, not the best night for the Marlins as they faced the Astros in game two of the series at Minute Maid Park. You wouldn’t have thought that watching the top of the first inning, though, as the Fish scored two runs on RBI singles from Cantu and Uggla off of Houston starter Yorman Bazardo to take an early lead. 
Unfortunately, it took Sean West and a side of real bad defense all of half an inning to erase said lead. In the bottom of the first, RBI doubles from Berkman and Tejada, along with ugly errors from Baker and Cantu, allowed Houston to score three runs, and take a 3-2 lead over the Fish.
West bravely battled through another three whole innings after the first, and gave up a total four runs on six hits through four innings, which was, of course, just a real fine start. 
Michael Bourn added insult to errancy when he spent most of the game rubbing the Marlins awful defense into their faces as he flew about the park robbing the lineup of hits and being a general annoyance with his overly zealous fielding (seriously, Mike. You can let some of those go. We promise).
Ross Gload and Chris Coghlan did their best to start a rally for the Fish when Coghlan tripled to open the sixth inning, and Gload doubled him in. Sadly, that run would mark the end of the scoring for the Fish, who for the remainder of the game opted to stand and admire their teammates as they stood on base, rather than do anything to try and bring them home.
Pinto allowed three hits and two runs in the seventh, but it really didn’t matter since the Marlins load ’em and leave ’em offense had already sealed the team’s fate in the game.
So the double-digit hit streak continued for the Fish, and Hanley Ramirez extended his personal hit-streak to 14 games, but it was a losing cause as the Astros took game two Wednesday night. Of course, the Rockies and Phillies couldn’t help us out at all by losing as well (though admittedly, losing would have been a pretty tall order against the Nats and D-backs), and the Marlins are now three games back in the Wild Card and 5 1/2 behind the Phillies in the East.
Advertisements

Good Ricky Returns.

Ricky Jekyll n Hyde.jpgThe last time Ricky Nolasco was on the mound, he sucked. There’s just no other way to categorize what was essentially the worst start of Ricky’s career– a 3 1/3 inning outing in which he allowed 10 runs and single-handedly snapped the Marlins 5 game win streak with his horrific pitching. 

With that in mind, Fish fans were a bit nervous as Ricky took the mound to kick off a three-game series with the Astros–the same team that beat the crap out of him in his last start–Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. 
Apparently Nolasco was looking to make it up to the Marlins. Or, maybe he just knew he needed to do something extremely noteworthy on the mound so that his start wouldn’t be overshadowed by the team’s double-digit hit streak, which was up to 13 games heading into Tuesday’s contest. Either way, mission accomplished as Ricky turned in a performance that was the polar opposite of his last, and dazzled us all by throwing the second (9-inning) complete game of his career. 80 of Ricky’s 115 pitches were for strikes, and he walked nobody, struck out ten, gave up three hits and allowed just two runs in his nine innings of work. 
The game didn’t get off to a great start, and let’s just be honest–it scared us. Nolasco gave up a home run to Carlos Lee in the first inning, right after Lance Berkman doubled. After the dinger, though, Ricky simply shrugged his shoulders and was all like, “it’s cool,” and proceeded to retire 23 straight batters, and allowed just one more hit over the next eight innings. 
The offense, meanwhile, thought it would be a good idea to provide some run support for the dealing Nolasco, and try to steal a little bit of his thunder by hitting in the double-digits for the 14th game in a row. The Marlins had 11 hits on the night, and became the first team to have a string of 14 games with ten or more hits since the St. Louis Browns logged 15 in a row way back in 1937. Hanley Ramirez also kept his personal streak alive as he was 3-for-5, and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. 
Dan Uggla hit a solo shot off of Astros Starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning to tie up the game, and then the Marlins had a little fun with Buddy in the sixth. The Fish batted around as Cantu homered, Hermida hit an RBI single, and Chris Coghlan drew a bases-loaded walk to gain a three-run lead over Houston, and end the night for Norris before three outs could be recorded in the inning. 
Hermida, who was 3-for-4 on the night, was the third Marlin of the game to go deep when he capped off the scoring on a solo shot in the 8th, stretching the Marlins lead to four runs. 
The Fish have now won 9 of their last 11, but since the Rockies and Phillies refuse to lose, they remain two games back of the Wild Card lead, and 4 1/2 games back in the NL East.
Official HLD&S Position: We heart Ricky Nolasco. Uh, the one who pitches complete games and wins and stuff.

Fish Win as Johnson… Electrimazinates™

jjelectrimazinating2.jpg

“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…
Electrimazinating.

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.

And the Fish Take the Series.

sean-west.jpg

Look, kid, we’re beat. Our friggin’ arms are about to fall off in here, and it’d be huge if you could do us all a solid and go at least six tonight.”
Brendan Donnelly’s words to Sean West may not go down in history as the most inspirational pre-game pep talk of all time, but they were all the rookie needed to hear as he made his way out of the bullpen to take the hill in the final game of the Marlins series with the Astros Thursday night at The Shark. 
Actually, to be perfectly honest Donnelly’s words probably won’t go down in history as anything, since I just made them up. But I’m pretty sure somebody had to have said something to West to inspire an outing in which he walked nobody, struck out three and allowed just five hits and one run through six innings of work. Whatever the reason behind his performance, I (obviously) think I speak on behalf of the entire Marlins bullpen when I say THANK YOU, Sean West.
Jorge Cantu got the scoring started off for the Fish when he took a little break from his, uh, break from hitting home runs, and went deep against Mike Hampton in the bottom of the first to give the Marlins the early 2-0 lead. Ronny Paulino also hit a solo shot off of Hampton in the fifth that put the Marlins up 3-1 as the Astros went to their bullpen.

In the end, it turns out the Fish didn’t actually need any of the half-dozen runs they scored off of reliever Chris Sampson in the sixth, but it was entertaining to watch them do it anyway. Ten Marlins came to bat in the inning, and RBI from Helms, Gload, Coghlan, Bonifacio and Ramirez put another six runs on the board to make it a 9-1 ball game. 

After the game, Sampson, who walked two and gave up five hits and six runs in 2/3 of an inning, was optioned to AAA… and another one bites the dust courtesy of the Fish and their smoking bats.

Chris Coghlan’s single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to twelve games, while Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4 to stretch his own hit-streak to nine games. As a team, the Marlins extended a streak as well– the Fish have now logged double-digit hits in ten straight games, with 11 hits off of the Astros in the series finale.
Brian Sanches pitched two scoreless innings in relief of West, and Chris Leroux–who was recalled from AA Jacksonville Thursday to take Tim Wood’s place on the roster, and promptly sent back there after the game–gave up two walks, two hits and a run to the Astros before he recorded three outs in the ninth. (We’re going to have to stop allowing Matt Lindstrom to give these kids pointers before they pitch.)
The Marlins took three out of four from the Astros, and remain 4 1/2 games back from the Phillies in the East, and three games back of the wild card-leading Rockies, who are in town for a three-game series which starts tonight.
Let’s hope the Fish have some hits left in them for the weekend.