Tagged: Wes Helms

Bet You’ll Never Guess What Volstad Did Twice that Cost the Fish the Game…

volstad-1.jpgThat Chris Volstad would give up a home run Saturday night was a given, and as he took the mound to face the Braves in game two of the series at Turner Field, it was not a matter of if, but when

We found out pretty quickly. 
It seems Chris wanted to get the obligatory home runs out of the way early so he wouldn’t have to worry about them the rest of the game. And that might have been a good strategy, had Volstad held the Braves to a single long ball and kept runners off of base in the meantime. 
He didn’t. In the Braves’ first at-bat, Omar Infante hit his second home run of the season to give Atlanta a one-run lead. After a walk to Kelly Johnson and an RBI single to Adam LaRoche, Yunel Escobar took a turn going deep against Volstad as well, and the Braves were up 4-0 after one inning. 
Volstad “settled down” after the first, but he was done after just four innings, having put in a pretty weak performance with six hits, two walks, and four runs–three of which came courtesy of the long ball. 
Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson clearly didn’t want to be outdone by Anibal Sanchez’s performance Friday night, and so while Volstad continued his habit of being taken deep repeatedly, the Braves starter flirted with a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings. 
The no-hitter lasted until Jeremy Hermida came to bat with one on and two out in the top of the fifth, and busted it up on a single to center. Hermida’s hit opened the proverbial floodgates for the Marlins…or at least, you know, cracked them a little. Wes Helms followed with a two-out double that scored Baker, who had walked to open the inning. Then Jorge Cantu pinch-hit for Chris Volstad and singled to drive in Hermida and Helms to make it a one-run game. 
And a one-run game is where it remained. 
The Marlins bullpen worked out of a few jams to hold Atlanta to their four first-inning runs, but Hanson held the Fish to three runs through seven innings, and the Braves ‘pen closed it out  as the Marlins dropped game two at Turner Field. 
Chris Volstad is going to have to get over his home run fetish. May we suggest hypnotherapy?

Fish Quiet Cubs Fans in Series Opener

shut_up.jpgSitting in an overwhelming sea of bright blue while being drowned out by chants of “Let’s go Cubs” is not my favorite way to experience a Marlins home game.

I guess the Fish couldn’t do too much about the blue in the stands, but at least they did a pretty decent job of quieting the away team’s loud mouths as the Marlins opened their series against the Cubs Friday night at Land Shark Stadium. 

Chris Volstad was on the mound for Florida, and basically cruised through 6 2/3 innings, including four perfect frames to kick off the game. Cody Ross contributed to Volstad’s perfection with a Willie Mays-like Cody Ross-like catch in the third inning, and earned himself a spot on SportsCenter’s top ten.
While Volstad did his thing, Rich Harden went five innings for the Cubs, gave up five hits, walked three, and matched his career high in strikeouts, fanning 11 (which–as everyone of sound baseball knowledge knows–is just an extremely special accomplishment against the Marlins lineup). 
Fortunately, the K’s weren’t enough to ensure a victory for the Cubs starter. With two outs in the second inning, Harden couldn’t put Chris Volstad away, and the pitcher logged his first career RBI on a double that scored Jeremy Hermida. Which reminds me– HLD&S would like to request that every Marlins pitcher begin using Chris Volstad’s bat. The exchange has worked out nicely for Josh Johnson, who crushed two home runs with the magical wood, and after Chris’s RBI hit Friday, we are convinced the Volstad bat is key to our pitching staff’s offense.  
Jorge Cantu gave the Fish a two-run lead on a solo homer in the third, and the Marlins enjoyed said lead through six innings, before the inevitable finally happened… They say there is comfort in familiarity, and if Volstad is familiar with anything this season, it’s giving up the long ball. We’ll call it his security blanket. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Chris served up a big fat mistake to Jake Fox, who jacked a two-run shot to tie up the game and end Volstad’s night with a no decision. 
Luckily, the Cubs decided to send Carlos Marmol to pitch the eighth with the game tied up at two apiece. Marmol walked two before the Fish inexplicably thought it would be a super neat idea to have Jeremy Hermida bunt with runners on first and second and nobody out. Um, yeah. Good plan. The bunt was just a beauty, folks, and the Cubs got the lead runner, which is–I’m almost positive–not at all what we wanted to happen in that situation. Correct me if I’m wrong. 
The good news is Marmol was undaunted by his break, and came back to hit Ross Gload with a pitch before giving up an RBI single to John Baker to put the Marlins back in the lead.
Wes “Grit” Helms capped off the scoring in the eighth on a 2-run pinch-hit RBI off of Marshall to provide some insurance for the Fish, who–by the way–drove in every one of their five runs Friday night with two outs. Dan Meyer and Brendan Donnelly held the score, Leo Nunez closed up shop, and the Marlins took the series opener against the Cubbies. 
Ah, nothing beats droves of opposing fans filing dejectedly out of Land Shark Stadium.
The Fish have won eight of their last ten, trail the Phillies by six games in the East, and are two games back in the wild card race. Tonight, newly acquired first baseman Nick Johnson will make his first start as a Fish, thus (prayerfully) ending The Bonifacio Experiment. Burke “The Hopper” Badenhop will take the mound to make his second start of the season. (We refuse to call him “the Dragon,” Fredi. We refuse.)

Citrus Series Canker to Marlins Hot Streak

crying oranges.JPGThings 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.

Dost Mine Eyes Deceive Me?

wesley.jpgIt felt a little surreal last night watching the Marlins take on the Phillies to open their series at Citizen’s Bank Park. That was partly because Bud Selig decided it would be a pretty neat idea to make the Fish (and the rest of the league) wear solid red caps in honor of Memorial Day. To the uninformed observer, it looked like the Fish had lost their own hats somewhere between Miami and Philly, and had to borrow some extras from the home team. 

Things only got more surreal from there. 

For starters, the Marlins got hits and scored runs and stuff… off of the big, bad, scary old, decrepit, Marlin-killer Jamie Moyer, no less. The lead-off man actually spent some time on base. The team got a lead–and kept it! Chris Volstad had a quality outing–and miraculously earned the W. For the first time in weeks, the Marlins won back-to-back games! 
Um, what?

Who are you guys, and what have you done with my team? (whatever you did, I hope you hid the evidence well, because we don’t want them back.) 

The best part of the night was Wesley Helms being greeted by a chorus of boos from Philths fans, to which he promptly responded, “Oh yeah? You wanna boo me, do ya? Well here, then. Enjoy this home run, a three-for-five night and these four RBIs. Boo-yah.” 
Despite the Fish victory, I was seeing red last night for most of the game– and I’m not just referring to the fabric of those putrid hats the Marlins were forced to wear. Before you accuse me of being unpatriotic, let me say that I completely support the idea of paying homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. But since when does the solid color red equal patriotism, hmmm? How about next Memorial Day we try blue caps with 50 embroidered stars? Because the last thing a solid red cap makes me feel–especially as we take on the Phillies in Philadelphia–is patriotic. Or memorial…ish. 
5-3, Marlins

Hello Helms, Hit the Road Hurk

HELMS.jpgWhile I still haven’t quite forgiven him for his year in Philstripes, the Marlins have welcomed Wes Helms back with open arms. He was acquired from Philly late Saurday night, and I will admit I am not quite ready to rejoice. Especially not when he struck out in his first plate appearance, and– much worse– carried a Phillies team bag into the clubhouse with him yesterday afternoon. Seriously. Own you no other luggage, Wesley? I don’t want to have to bust out the .jpeg of you leading the pack of Phils from the dugout last season in the infamous benches-clearing melee, but I will if you push me (and fyi, carrying anything Philadelphia-related into Dolphin Stadium is pushing me).

Jason Wood was DFA’d to make room for Helms’s new hairdo on the 25-man roster. 

Thumbnail image for HURK.jpgIn another unexpected move, pitcher Rick Vanden Hurk was optioned to double A Carolina after the game yesterday. Seems the Fish aren’t all that appreciative of Vandy’s propensity to throw 62 pitches per inning, and last fewer than 3 innings per start. Go figure. I will now officially have very good reason to type the name “Burke Badenhop” as much as my heart desires, since Burke is expected to join the team and the rotation in Washington today. It’s the simple pleasures in life, folks, it really is.

Hopefully Burke has figured out strike three, a pitch that has eluded Vanden Hurk the past few starts (and one that is pretty necessary, when winning is the goal).

On to our nation’s capital!