Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stanton Struggles, Nunez Blows Save

June 16, 2010

Forgetful could be the word used to describe the long awaited home debut of Florida Marlins rookie outfielder Mike Stanton. Much hype was placed on the phenom as he tore up the minor leagues this spring, but his brief Major League stint has been characterized by sporadic performance. In front of Fish Fans he was less than stellar with an 0-4 night plagued by three strikeouts. It was not what the fans expected, but public support still resonated throughout the crowd.

Speaking of support, Josh Johnson barely receieved any from the offense and had his solid start go to waste by the bullpen. More specifically, Leo Nunez blew his third save of the season and failed to command in the closer role once more; a common ocurence in recent closing situations for Nunez. This begs the question whether Nunez' job is in jeopardy now that confidence has been lost in him as the deal-sealer.

Tuesday night's game could very well have implications on the Marlins roster moving forward. For one thing, fans are ready to embrace Stanton even through struggles and slumps. That leaves Cameron Maybin's spot on the active roster likely to be replaced. Another sign of this was Emilio Bonifacio's appearance in a pinch hit situation late in the game. The reason why Freddi Gonzalez chose Bonifacio over Maybin is unknown, but the decision reveals a likely sign of things to come.

The other implication is regarding the Marlins bullpen as we approach the trade deadline in approximately one month. Could a trade be in the works for a veteran reliever? If so, does that mean Nunez will no longer be the closer, or even a dependable reliever? Many questions like these can legitimately be asked now that the Marlins realize that their division is getting more competitive by the week. If they hope to compete for a division title or a wild card seed, their pitching rotation must become more solid down the stretch. A trade or two may be the only way of accomplishing that.

Rapid-fire Notes from Game 64:
  • Both Dan Uggla and Gaby Sanchez drew three walks each in the game, revealing Uggla's improved plate discipline and Sanchez' continued patience at the plate.
  • Josh Johnson threw over 30 pitches in the first inning, but survived through the seventh inning allowing only one run and striking out seven batters in the process. Final pitch count: 110.
  • Hanley Ramirez hit his 10th home run of the season, but is yet to return to his 2009 offensive level as he's batting under .300 after 230 at bats.
  • The Marlins left seven runners on base, six of which were at the hands of Cody Ross who batted 0-4 on the night.

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