Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Week (and a half) That Was - Florida Marlins 4/1-4/11

April 14, 2011

Work sucks! Well, not really, but it did keep me from blogging for a few days...or a week and a half. So, here is what you missed from the Marlins: (By the way, as a testament of how busy I took me three days just to write this!)

Friday, April 1 - OPENING DAY

MIAMI GARDENS - The Florida Marlins took the season opener against the New York Mets, 6-2. After ceremonies that included the National Anthem (as performed by Clarence Clemons from The E Street Band), the Marlins took the field and Josh Johnson took control of the game, allowing no hits until the 7th inning. His new battery mate, John Buck, was not too shabby either. He blasted a grand slam for his first Marlins hit in his 2nd at bat in the 4th. Gaby Sanchez added an RBI single in the next inning, and following 2 Met runs in the second, Logan Morrison hit a big fly in the 8th. Mike Stanton left the game in the 6th with a tight left hamstring, he would not return the rest of the weekend. Josh Jonson earns the win for Florida and improves to 1-0 on the year.

Saturday, April 2 - Could They Stay Undefeated?

MIAMI GARDENS - The Florida Marlins could not remain undefeated following their final opening day at Sun Life Stadium. They fought hard but reached a brick wall in the 10th inning, falling 6-4. The Marlins got on the board quickly, as Logan Morrison had a 2 RBI single in the 1st against Met Starter Jon Niese. The Mets, however, came back against Ricky Nolasco. David Wright hit a home run in the 4th, and Ike Davis doubled in the 6th to tie the game. Leo Nunez came in to keep the game tied, but he allowed Josh Thole's RBI single to give the Mets a late lead. To add insult to injury, K-Rod came in to pitch. Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit, and, well, made the best of it. His single allowed Brett Hayes to score, and while the Marlins left Emilio Bonifacio at 3rd, they gained a second life, going into the 10th...where Ryan Webb, for lack of a better word - Failed. A David Wright single and Willie Harris double allowed three runs to score. Webb could not get through a half inning, and finished with an ERA of infinity. Mike Dunn prevented further damage and Hayes' single in the bottom of the inning kept things interesting, but it was too little too late. The Marlins fell and Webb was tabbed with the loss. Despite K-Rod's best efforts, he received the win and Blaine Boyer saved the night.


Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Rubber Game

MIAMI GARDENS - This was a huge game for the Marlins. Well, maybe I'm overstating it, but the Mets looked like a bad team all weekend, so taking game 3 of the series and the season would be a big momentum booster. That was not to be, though, as the Mets and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took care of the Marlins 9-2. Willie Harris continued to look like the best thing since sliced bread, as he blasted a 2-run home run in the first. The Mets went on to score 1 more in the inning as Javier Vazquez was rocked in his Marlins and 2011 debut. Ike Davis' home run, Daniel Murphy's ground rule double, and Dicky's RBI fielders choice coupled with an Emilio Bonifacio throwing error put the Mets up by 7 and knocked Vazquez out of the game. Despite an Omar Infante sacrifice fly and Gaby Sanchez's single, the Mets cruised to victory, bookending the game with 2 more runs in the late innings. Dickey earned the win and Vazquez took the loss as the Mets take the series and the Marlins fall to 1-2 on the year. 


Tuesday, April 5 - New Opponent, New Life

MIAMI GARDENS - The Florida Marlins welcomed the Washington Nationals to town for the first of a three game set, and like with the Mets series, expected to cruise to victory. Game 1 was a victory, but it was hardly a cruise. Anibal Sanchez looked good, allowing only 2 runs. But he could not get out of the 5th inning because of a high pitch count. Fort Lauderdale native Michael Morse led the scoring off with a first inning RBI single, but Logan Morrison countered in the second with a home run. Marlin killer Ryan Zimmerman added a homer of his own to take a 2-1 lead and the bats were silenced until the 7th when Greg Dobbs tied it with a sacrifice fly. The game was tied until the 10th when, none other than Donnie BLEEPING Murphy drove in the winning run in walk off fashion. His single with the bases loaded and Drew Storen pitching allowed Omar Infante to score and the Marlins win game 1 3-2. Edward Mujica was tabbed with the win in relief. A crowd of 10,482 paid to see the game, although the crowd appeared much smaller, and while I do not attack the team for lack of fan support...this is one of the smaller crowds I have seen in my lifetime of following the Fish.


April 6 - Still Looking Alright

MIAMI GARDENS - It seemed like a long night ahead, as Chris Volstad got rocked for 4 runs over 5 innings of work, but a twist of fate, patient hitting, and a bases loaded RBI triple turned the game around. The triple came shortly after Hanley Ramirez started the fifth inning scoring with an RBI double off starter Livan Hernandez. Later, John Buck came to bat and blasted a ball to dead center. It hit off the wall and was initially ruled a triple. The play went to review where it was discovered that the ball had not crossed over the yellow line and it was a game-tying, bases clearing triple. In the 6th, the Marlins brought in Brian Sanches, who got the win, while the Nats countered with Chad Gaudin, who allowed two runs, one of which was on an Omar Infante single. An infield error allowed the second run to score. Florida added a run in the eighth, and Leo Nunez closed the door. The Marlins took the victory and series.


April 7 - First Sweep? Maybe Not

MIAMI GARDENS - The Florida Marlins fell short in their attempt for their first sweep of 2011 as they fell to the Washington Nationals 5-3 in 11 innings. Hanley Ramirez got the ball rolling with a double in the first and Gaby Sanchez drove in another run to make it 2-0 quickly. Jayson Werth's solo homer in the 4th and single Nationals runs in the 5th and 6th gave them the lead but the Marlins tied it with a run in the bottom of the 6th. It stayed tied until the 11th. And amazing leaping catch by Chris Coghlan was overshadowed by Adam LaRoche's 2-run home run which set the Fish straight and ended their run at a sweep. Florida takes a 3-3 record on the road, first stop: Houston...


April 8 - Favorable Schedule Continues...Opening Day at 1-5 Astros

HOUSTON - The Marlins put a damper on Opening Day in Houston...barley. Ricky Nolasco pitched an impressive 8 innings with just two blemishes; a 3rd inning solo homer by J.R. Towles and a single in the 7th. With the Astros up in the 8th, Logan Morrison's RBI double and an infield singly by Gaby Sanchez turned the lead around. Chris Coghlan added insurance with a solo homer in the 9th, and it turned out to be the game winning run, as Brett Wallace hit one of his own in the bottom of the inning off Leo Nunez, who earned the save.  Hanley Ramirez was slid into by Bill Hall in what some call a dirty play. He did not play the rest of the series.


April 9 - Marlins Try to Keep Rolling

HOUSTON - The Florida Marlins continued to take care of the "easy" teams...beating the Houston Astros winning 7-5, and despite a sluggish start, Javier Vazquez earned the win by laboring through 6 innings. Hunter Pence doubled to start the scoring in the 1st, but Donnie ("bleeping") Murphy tied it in the second. Pitcher Bud Norris followed in the bottom of the inning, helping his own cause with a double and then scoring later on to take the lead back. Houston tacked on an insurance run in the 5th, but the Marlins erased the deficit in the 6th with a Mike Stanton RBI double and a Greg Dobbs home run. A 2 run 7th an one run 8th sealed the deal, and despite tacking on a run in the bottom of the 8th, Houston could not overcome the Marlins "doubles party" as the Marlins take their second series in a row. 


April 10 - First Sweep? Maybe Not (Part 2)

HOUSTON - Michael Bourn received his gold glove Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, but it was the pitcher; J.A. Happ, who stole the show offensively and on the rubber. Happ, who coming in had just 4 hits and 2 RBI in his career, collected two hits (including his second career double) and 2 RBIs. His only blemish was the Marlins only run in the 1st, when Logan Morrison singled home Omar Infante. The Astros got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Bourn scored a Hunter Pence single. Then, Happ stepped up offensively, with a 2 RBI double. That ended up sealing the deal as the Astros were up 3-1. They tacked on 3 in the 5th and 1 in the 7th to win 7-1. The game got chippy in later innings, when Marlins reliever Edward Mujica came in and, in the eyes of Home Plate Umpire Jim Joyce, thew at Bill Hall, who had been involved in the slide that took out Hanley Ramirez on Friday. Mujica was ejected and later fined. Astros reliever Aneury Rodriguez then "retaliated" by throwing at Gaby Sanchez. He was ejected along with manager Brad Mills. Both were later suspended by the league. 


April 12 - Marlins Fall in Opener for the first time this season

ATLANTA - The record may not show it. The final score may not show it. But Chris Volstad pitched a good game, having a few breaks go against him Tuesday night in the opener in Atlanta. It didn't help that the Marlins bats fell silent. Volstad allowed 5 runs over just under 5 innings. Nate McLouth doubled in a run in the 3rd and Chipper Jones followed with an RBI single. Jason Hayward hit a solo home run in the 4th and Jones collected another RBI in the 5th before Brian McCann belted his first home run of the season. That was all the scoring. Braves pitching was fantastic, as Tommy Hanson allowed just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 over 7 innings.

FISH AND CHIPS - The paid attendance: 13,865. It was the smallest paid attendance for a game at Turner Field ever.


April 13 - The Amazing Josh Johnson

ATLANTA - In the end it was Josh Johnson vs. a pitchers worst enemy: his pitch count. JJ went 7 1/3 inning without allowing a hit, but with 109 pitches under his belt, I'd gather to think Edwin Rodriguez was happy he didn't go any further. But Johnson seemed to get stronger as the night went on, with a 1-2-3 7th inning, striking out Dan Uggla and Jason Hayward in the process. It was the rookie, Freddie Freeman, who got the first hit for the Braves, prompting Edwin to the mound to take the ball from JJ. He got a loud standing ovation from the Atlanta fans, and pats on the back from his teammates. Meanwhile, the Marlins gave JJ more than enough run support to get his second win of the season. Hanley Ramirez had an RBI single in the first, and JJ helped his own cause in the 2nd. Chris Coghlan followed with an RBI single of his own and Logan Morrison followed with a solo home run in the 3rd. I'd be a bad reporter if I failed to mention Chipper Jones hit a home run in the 9th, the Braves only other hit. It was his 1500th RBI. Marlins win 5-1

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