Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marlins Run Hijacked by Pirates

After a burst of victories for the Florida Marlins, the Pittsburgh Pirates derailed the Fish and swept them in convincing fashion. Marlins players are now left with one thing - a wake up call. This dominant trend was not going to last all year long and the Marlins learned that the hard way.

Scoring as usual was a difficulty for the Fish in this series, only scoring six total runs in all three games; one game was a shut out. The Pirates displayed solid pitching and extraordinary defense that kept the Marlins from breaking open their offense.

Emilio Bonifacio continued his slump by racking up only 3 hits in the entire series, dropping his batting average to .311 (which is still good). The rest of the usual offense-starters (including Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, and Jeremy Hermida) were also stunted by the Pirates pitching and fielding. It was the first series where the Marlins suffered offensively in each game. 

While we weren't scoring, the Pirates were racking up points to solidify their wins. They scored eight runs in game one, three runs in game two, and seven runs in game three. That's a total of 18 runs in the series. Something went wrong with our pitching. Anibal Sanchez did a decent job of holding the Pirates to three runs in his start, but the Marlins didn't give him enough run support to secure a victory. On the other hand, Andrew Miller and Ricky Nolasco had poor efforts and dug the Marlins into a hole early on in their outings. The problem with this is that the Fish didn't have the same come-from-behind luck that they had in Washington versus the Nationals.

I guess you can say this was a genuine three-game defeat where the Pirates simply outplayed the Marlins. This may seem like a bad thing, but I look at it as somewhat of a positive thing. 

The Marlins can now realize that their success was earned by hard work and competitive attitudes. With the knowledge that the Philadelphia Phillies are coming to town on Friday, the Fish have a chance to refocus their mindsets and get ready for the defending World Series Champions. 

The season may still be young, and we may have over-hyped the Marlins early success, but this is a turning point for the Fish. Do they continue to slip and lose the series to the Phillies? Or do they come back and regain their confidence versus the defending champs? 

We'll see what happens and finally begin to see whether this early season surge was just a "miracle" or if this team is actually a legitimate playoff contender. 

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