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72 posts from May 2008

May 27, 2008

Umbrella Weather

       The Marlins had to cut short batting practice Tuesday when it began to rain at Shea Stadium. The tarp is out.

       -- Note that the Mets benched Delgado against the Marlins' lefty, Andrew Miller.

       -- A rotation note for the Marlins: manager Fredi Gonzalez is going with a 4-man rotation for the first two series of the road trip (New York and Philadelphia). Burke Badenhop is the odd man out and will pitch out of the bullpen. Gonzalez is taking advance of Thursday's off day to set up a rotation that excludes the rookie Badenhop.

        Scott Olsen will pitch Wednesday, and then Gonzalez will come back with Mark Hendrickson on Friday to start the Philadelphia series. Ricky Nolasco and Andrew Miller will pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Lineups -- Marlins/Mets (Tuesday)

Here are tonight's lineups:

Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, C Matt Treanor, CF Cody Ross, P Andrew Miller.

Mets: SS Jose Reyes, 2B Luis Castillo, 3B David Wright, CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Damion Easley, RF Fernando Tatis, C Ramon Castro, LF Nick Evans, P Johan Santana.

May 26, 2008

Lineups -- Marlins/Mets (Monday)

Here are tonight's lineups:

Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, C Matt Treanor, CF Jacque Jones, P Ricky Nolasco.

Mets: SS Jose Reyes, 2B Luis Castillo, 3B David Wright, CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado, C Brian Schneider, LF Nick Evans, RF Endy Chavez, P Mike Pelfrey.

Marlins Call Up Reliever Joe Nelson

         With their bullpen taxed from Sunday's doubleheader, the Marlins on Monday brought in help: journeyman right-hander Joe Nelson.

        Joe_nelson Nelson, 33, is 1-1 with 11 saves and a nifty 2.10 ERA for Triple A Albuquerque.

         He also brings big-league experience. Nelson had nine saves for the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and saw a tiny bit of playing time with the Atlanta Braves (two appearances in 2001) and Boston Red Sox (three appearances in 2004).

         Kevin Gregg closed out both wins on Sunday -- receiving the save in the first game and the victory in the second -- and is probably unavailable tonight when the Marlins open a 3-game series in New York against the Mets. That means Nelson could get the ball in the ninth if the Marlins are in position to win.

         The weekend roster moves (infielder Robert Andino back to Albuquerque, Eulogio de la Cruz brought in for one start and immediately sent back to Triple A, and the call-up of Nelson) leaves the Marlins with 13 pitchers. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Sunday the team would likely carry 13 pitchers through the Philadelphia series.


May 25, 2008

Game 2 Starter -- Eulogio de la Cruz & Lineups


              Keep an eye on the radar gun. Hard-throwing right-hander Eulogio de la Cruz -- one of the six players the Marlins obtained in their trade with the Tigers for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis -- is starting the second game of the doubleheader.

                De la Cruz, who can hit triple digits with his fastball but has trouble with his control on occasion, was called up from Triple A Albuquerque to make his first appearance for the Marlins and first start of his career in the majors (he made six relief outings last season for the Tigers). He was 6-2 with a 4.34 ERA for the 'Topes. Infielder Robert Andino was optioned to Albuquerque to make room for De La Cruz.

                Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is hoping to get 75 or 80 pitches out of De la Cruz, who is pitching on three days' rest after completing 8 2/3 innings for the Isotopes in his previous outing.

               NOTE: With his Game 2 start, the Giants' Omar Vizquel will establish a major league record for most games played at shortstop (2,584). Hall of Famer Luis Aparacio had held the record.


                Giants: LF Fred Lewis, 2B Ray Durham, RF Randy Winn, C Bengie Molina, CF Aaron Rowand, 1B John Bowker, 3B Jose Castillo, SS Omar Vizquel, P Matt Cain.

                Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, C Matt Treanor, CF Jacque Jones, P Eulogio De La Cruz.


Let's Play Two!! (Marlins win Game 1, 8-6)

MARLINS WIN -- Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 10th save and the Marlins take the first game of the DH, 8-6. Last time the Marlins won both ends of a doubleheader was May 28, 2003, when they knocked off the Montreal Expos in a twinbill at Dolphin Stadium, or whatever they were calling the place back then.


BOT 7 -- The "Cody, Cody, Cody" chant goes out after Cody Ross clobbers his sixth home run of the season. That puts the Marlins back up by a couple, 8-6. Kensing is through after two innings, which means he won't be starting the second game of the DH. That pitcher remains a mystery, though the Marlins have one of their minor-leaguers -- believed to be from the Triple A Isotopes -- on standby at the stadium.


TOP 7 -- Unbelievable! Molina has just doubled again, driving in Randy Winn to make it 7-6. That's it for Molina, though. Giants manager Bruce Bochy sent in Steve Holm to pinch-run for him. Molina is now 4 for 4 today (with three doubles), 7 for 9 in the series, and 17 for 28 (.607) against the Marlins over the past two seasons. Highly doubtful he'll go back out to catch the second game of the doubleheader, so the Marlins don't have to look at him again until they get to San Francisco in August. Giants failed to score, though, so you wonder if Bochy is second-guessing himself, especially if Molina's turn comes up again.


BOT 6 -- Vizquel, who is playing in his 2,583rd game at shortstop to tie Luis Aparacio's major league Vizquel record, has won 11 Gold Gloves. But he just booted Logan Kensing's routine grounder up the middle for his first error of the season. The Giants media person just noted that Vizquel was also charged with an error in his very first ML game.



BOT 5 -- Ka-Ching! $$$$$$ Can you hear the arbitration cash register ringing now for Dan Uggla? He just went deep, a two-run dinger that gives the Marlins a 7-5 lead. It is his 16th home run of the Uggla season, which ties him with Houston's Lance Berkman for the major league lead, and his 12th in May, most ever hit by a Marlin in any month. He had been tied with Gary Sheffield, who put 11 out in April, 1996, for the Fish. Uggla's blast is no cheapie, measured at 433 feet to left-center. It's also Uggla's first home run this season off a left-hander. The crowd demands a curtain call, and Uggla obliges by emerging from the dugout with a quick wave.


TOP 5 -- Molina doubled AGAIN. He is now 3-for-3 on the day, 6-for-8 in the series, and 16-for-27 against the Marlins the past two seasons. But the Giants were unable to score. Still 5-5.


BOT 4 -- The rain shower was brief and the delay lasted only 29 minutes. Hendrickson doubled and now has eight hits in 22 at bats (.364).  That's seven more hits than he had in 27 at bats last season for the Dodgers and three more hits than he had in his entire, 62 at-bat career coming into the season. But his double went to waste. The Marlins failed to score in the inning.


TOP 4 -- Mark Hendrickson was teetering on disaster but escaped. After giving up a double to Denker (his first big-league hit), a single to Misch the pitcher, and walking Omar Vizquel to load the bases, he received a visit from pitching coach Mark Wiley while Logan Kensing started warming in the bullpen. But he got Jose Castillo to bounce into an inning-ending double play. AND THEN THE RAINS CAME. THE TARP IS OUT.


BOT 3 -- Looks like we're in for a long, long day. Misch had his own two-out difficulties in the third. After second baseman Travis Denker muffed a possible double play grounder, setting up runners at second and third with two outs, Misch walked Dan Uggla intentionally (wise moving considering the month Uggla is enjoying), but then walked Luis Gonzalez unintentionally to force in a run. The trouble didn't end there for Misch, who was then called for a balk when he stepped off the rubber after touching the ball inside his glove. That forced in another run, making it 5-5. Let's see. My clock shows 2:20, and we've only played three. Plus, just looked out to the west, where storm clouds are forming. Just what we need.


TOP 3 -- Fredi must be muttering to himself in the dugout. Bengie Molina, the human thorn to the Marlins, did it again. He ripped a two-out double into the gap in right-center, scoring a pair of runs and giving the Giants a 4-3 lead. That makes Mlolina 5 for 7 in the series so far. Hendrickson was, however, able to keep Rowand in Miami-Dade County this time. But Rowand singled over the head of Luis Gonzalez in left to drive in the slow-footed Molina from second, making it 5-3. Hendrickson finally gets out of the inning, but he is now up to 60 pitches -- 46 over the past two innings -- which is not what the pitching doctor ordered on this doubleheader day.


TOP 2 -- So much for that 3-0 cushion. Bengie Molina singles up the middle to start the inning and Aaron Rowand deposits an 0-1 pitch into the upper deck in left. Fredi Gonzalez was telling reporters before the game how the Molina brothers -- Bengie and Yadier -- are "always killing us."

          He's right. Bengie Molina, who went 3 for 5 with a home run on Friday, has now gone 14 for 25 with a pair of homers against the Marlins during the brief time Gonzalez has been manager. The Cardinals' Yadier is 5 for 15 with a home run over the same period.

          Hendrickson recovers after the Rowand bomb to retire the next three batters. 3-2 Marlins.


BOT 1 -- Lefty Pat Misch is on the hill for the Giants and looking for his first major league win. Scott Olsen was telling me before the game that Misch showed him around Kalamazoo and campus when he was considering Western Michigan University. Olsen ended up going in the draft instead.

         Not a good start for Misch. He walked Hanley Ramirez, who is mired in a 2 for 24 slump, and gave up a homer to Jeremy Hermida on a 3-2 pitch. Misch is taking his time, and the Giants infielders are looking restless.

         Jorge Cantu followed Hermida's home run with one of his own. Marlins up 3-0. No outs. It's the sixth time this season the Marlins have gone back-to-back.



Top 1 -- A good, quick inning for Hendrickson, who needed just 14 pitches to set the Giants down in order.


             The Marlins are walking a tightrope with their pitchers this afternoon. Burke Badenhop, who had his start last night washed out by the rain, could throw an inning or two if necessary. Doug Waechter could also provide an inning despite going 3 2/3 on Friday. Even Scott Olsen might see action. Olsen is scheduled for his routine between-starts bullpen. But he'll wait to see how Game 1 goes first. If it looks like the Marlins might need him, he'll skip the bullpen and prepare himself for a possible relief appearance.

            If the situation turns drastic, the Marlins could be forced to use a position player on the mound. Those that could be considered, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez, include outfielder Cody Ross and infielder Robert Andino.

           "I even hate to think about it, because it's not a fun thing," Gonzalez said. "If it gets to that point, you almost wish to say, 'Hey, we give (up).' But I guess you can't do that."


              Let the long day begin. The Marlins and Giants are set to hook up in an afternoon doubleheader, the result of Saturday's rainout. It'll mark the 28th doubleheader in club history for the Marlins. Their record: five sweeps, 16 splits and six losses.

              Memory_lane The last doubleheader played at Dolphin Stadium was on Sept. 26, 2004, against the Chicago Cubs. The result was a split. Interestingly, the opponent for the Marlins' very first doubleheader was the San Francisco Giants, played June 1, 1993. That, too, resulted in a split.

             Here are today's Game 1 lineups:

             Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Wes Helms, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, CF Cody Ross, C Mike Rabelo, P Mark Hendrickson.

             Giants: SS Omar Vizquel, 3B Jose Castillo, RF Randy Winn, C Bengie Molina, CF Aaron Rowand, 1B Rich Aurilia, 2B Travis Denker, LF Daniel Ortmeier, P Pat Misch.




              The Marlins have played in 27 doubleheaders. They have swept five, been swept in six, and split 16.

               Last was on June 5, 2007, at Atlanta, split. Last at Dolphin Stadium was Sept. 26, 2004, vs. Chicago Cubs, which they split.

May 24, 2008

Rained Out

         Finally. It was just announced that tonight's game has been postponed and will be made up Sunday as part of a doubleheader. The first game will start at 1:10 p.m.

         It's been so long since the last home rainout for the Marlins that their opponent in that washed out affair on Aug. 1, 2004 -- the Montreal Expos -- no longer exists.

        Saturday's weather has put a crimp on the Marlins' pitching plans. Mark Hendrickson will get the call in Game 1 of the twinbill. But the Marlins aren't sure who they'll throw in the second game. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would have to see how Game 1 goes before annointing a starter for Game 2.

         The possibilities include Logan Kensing, a minor-league call-up, or any number of relievers from the Marlins' pen. Kensing would be an interesting choice, though it's doubtful he could throw more than three innings. He had been a starter (remember his emergency start at Wrigley Field toward the end of the 2004 season?) and has said he wouldn't mind returning to that role in the future.

        The worst-case scenario for the Marlins on Sunday would be extra innings, more bad weather, or  if Hendrickson is knocked out early in Game 1 and Gonzalez is forced to use his bullpen, which he would prefer to save for the second game.

       One addiitonal note: only the second game of the doubleheader is being televised on FSN. You can still listen to Game 1 on the radio, though, and we'll provide you live updates right here throughout the game.

Rain, Rain.....and a pitching change (with updates)


          9:40 p.m. -- It is raining sheets at the moment, creating a kind of swaying lava lamp effect with the stadium lights in the background. No information to pass along beyond that. The intent is still to play.

           9:20 p.m. -- If you're planning to stay up for this game, get the coffee pot going. There seems to be no hurry in removing the tarp and getting things going. In fact, it hasn't rained hard at Dolphin Stadium for more than an hour, and yet here we sit, fingers tapping.

           8:40 p.m. -- Looks like it's going to be a long night. The grounds crew has placed the tarp on the field in anticipation of another storm cell that appears to be moving in from the north. One weather footnote: the Marlins have not had a game at Dolphin Stadium postponed due to rain since Aug. 1, 2004.

           The grounds crew has removed the tarp at Dolphin Stadium and all signs point to a delayed start. But the deluge has prompted manager Fredi Gonzalez to make a pitching adjustment. It was just announced that reliever Logan Kensing will start in place of Burke Badenhop, who had already warmed up and was prepared to pitch when the rains hit.

          Long reliever Doug Waechter would normally be the go-to pitcher for an emergency start, but he went 3 2/3 innings out of the bullpen on Friday.

          Clearly, Gonzalez doesn't want to take the same chance with Badenhop that Joe Girardi took in 2006 when he sent starter Josh Johnson back out to pitch following an 86-minute rain delay. Johnson, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, wasn't the same after that, and Girardi took plenty of heat for the decision.

         Kensing has not started for the Marlins since 2004.


Lineups -- Marlins/Giants (Saturday)

         As indicated, manager Fredi Gonzalez started Jacque Jones on Saturday, placed him in center and batted him eighth. Gonzalez said he gave some thought to batting Jones seventh, but decided to put Matt Treanor there in order to split left-handed hitters (Jones and Luis Gonzalez, who is hitting sixth).

Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, C Matt Treanor, CF Jacque Jones, P Burke Badenhop.

Giants: LF Fred Lewis, 3B Ray Durham, RF Randy Winn, C Bengie Molina, CF Aaron Rowand, 1B John Bowker, 3B Rich Aurilia, SS Omar Vizquel, P Matt Cain.

Umps: HP Chuck Meriwether, 1B Bill Welke, 2B Chris Guccione, 3B Tim Welke.

Carroll on the DL; Andino Back

      As expected, the Marlins placed outfielder Brett Carroll on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, an injury he sustained Friday when he crashed into the wall. Filling his spot on the roster is infielder Robert Andino, who was recalled from Triple A Albuquerque.