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60 posts from June 2008

June 30, 2008

It's time to send Tucker back

Thanks kid, but it's time to send Ryan Tucker back to the minors. Sure, he has had a couple of decent starts, and when he went five innings and gave up one run in his big league debut against the Reds on June 9, it looked like he might help the Marlins.

But since his debut he has given up 18 runs in 20 innings (that's a 8.10 ERA). He lasted just five innings Monday against the Nationals, the worst hitting team (.238) team in baseball. He probably should have been lifted in the fourth for a pinch-hitter, but the Marlins have a short bench because Dan Uggla is still nursing a ankle injury. Tucker hit for himself and struck out, leaving Matt Treanor stranded at second. Then he goes out in the fifth and promptly gives up two home runs and leaves after needing 101 pitches to get through five forgettable innings. By the way, the Nationals had hit only 60 homers all year before Elijah Dukes and Dmitri Young went deep. Tucker has given up four home runs in his last two starts, a total of nine innings.

The Marlins aren't sure who they will move when Josh Johnson joins the team, but Tucker is making a strong case for himself. He has the potential to be a decent pitcher in the big leagues, but he just doesn't look ready yet.


Dan Ugga is still out with a sprained left ankle, but the Marlins shouldn't cry over that. Washington is missing half of it's Opening Day lineup, because Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns and Lasting Milledge are on the DL along with closer Chad Cordero.

Uggla isn't doing any baseball activities (not even hitting off a tee) while he tries to strengthen the ankle he injured Saturday night.

Marlins everywhere utility man Alfredo Amezaga, who has a  groin injury, is feeling better, and Fredi Gonzalez said Monday Amezaga could play in the infield, but not the outfield.

Here's a look at Monday's lineups:





















All-Star Votes Pour in for Hanley Ramirez


            Hanley Ramirez has widened his lead to about 170,000 votes over Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada in the latest All-Star update. Barring some sort of late comeback by Tejada, Ramirez is starting to look like the safe bet to start the All-Star Game for the NLers.

               Ramirez had a lead of about 70,000 votes over Tejada in the previous weekly update.

               Dan Uggla has moved up to third in voting for NL second baseman, but is far behind Philadelphia's Chase Utley, whose 2.6 million votes is the most for any NL player. Uggla has received just under a million votes.

              On-line voting (mlb.com) ends Wednesday night. The NL and AL teams will be announced Sunday.


June 29, 2008

Josh Johnson Update

             You have to figure the Marlins will have Josh Johnson make one more rehab start in the minors before sticking him in their rotation if Sunday's results have anything to do with the decision.

             Johnson was not sharp, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings in Double A Carolina's afternoon game against Huntsville.

             Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez had said he and the front office would sit and discuss Johnson's status after his start on Sunday, with the right-hander pitching for them as early as the Fourth of July. But logic would suggest the Marlins will proceed with caution with Johnson, who had Tommy John surgery last Aug. 3.

            Larry Beinfest, the team's president of baseball operations, even said during a television broadcasting gig on Friday that the Marlins would "probably" wait for Johnson to make two more rehab starts before activating him from the DL.

           Assuming that's the case, Johnson could still make a start for the Marlins before the All-Star break.

Olsen off to a fast start

Guess Scott Olsen was ready for Sunday's game against Arizona.

Olsen opened the game by striking out the side on 13 pitches in the first inning. He struck out Stephen Drew on three pitches to start the day. His first four pitches were strikes, and 8 of his first 11 were in the strike zone.

Uggla out/Maybe today is Olsen's day/lineups

Well, Scott Olsen gets one last chance to get a win in June today. He's pitched much better than his record, but he's had no luck at all. He didn't get a lucky draw today, because he's facing Dan Haren, who hasn't lost since May 27. Olsen hasn't won since May 6.

Olsen will need some runs and he won't have Dan Uggla in the lineup. Uggla is out with a sprained left anklet and Robert Andino is at second base in his place.

"He'll rest it really well over the next few days,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Sunday's game. ""But maybe Wednesday. He's just got to ice the [heck] out of it today. He's got to get that whole swelling down and get some treatment on that.''

Here's the not so-Uggla lineup:





















Scoring Drought

  Drought20pix                                If the Marlins don't score as many as two runs Sunday when they sew up their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, they will set a new franchise record (at least by my research), and it is not a pretty one -- fewest runs scored in the first six games of a homestand.

                So far, the Marlins have scored 13 runs in the first five games of the stand. They're been hitting .180, and now Dan Uggla (the Sports Illustrated jinx?) is gimping around on a bum ankle and probably won't be in the lineup this afternoon. Actually, the Marlins' scoring woes started in the final game in Oakland when they came up with just one run. But let's stick with the home data.

               One has to go back a long, long ways to find a home scoring drought as ugly as the one the Marlins are in now. In fact, you have to go all the way back to those lovable 108-game losers of 1998 to find anything as awful. Twice that September, the Marlins totaled a whopping 15 runs in the first six games of a homestand. The first of those was overlooked because Mark McGwire was launching home runs 56, 57, 58 and 59 at Pro Player Stadium, and I can't imagine that anyone was paying attention to the second instance, either, considering the putridness of the season.

              Only one other time in club history has a Marlins team produced so little, and for that one, you have to go all the way back to the very beginning. The 1993 Marlins scored only 15 runs in their very first home series (remember the one?) against Los Angeles and San Diego, and it was a darn good thing they scored six runs in their inaugural game, that kickoff win over the Dodgers, or it would have been much worse.

            So keep your run clicker handy this afternoon. You never know when you'll get to the use the thing.


June 28, 2008

D-Backs/Marlins Saturday Lineups; All-Star Ricky?

The Marlins try to win their fifth consecutive game against the Snakes tonight. Here are tonight's lineups:

ARI-Byrnes-LF, Upton-RF, Hudson-2B, Jackson-1B, Reynolds-3B, Snyder-C, Young-CF, Ojeda-SS, Webb-P

FLA-Ramirez-SS, Gonzalez-RF, Cantu-3B, Willingham-LF, Uggla-2B, Jacobs-1B, Ross-CF, Treanor-C, A. Miller-P


Because he owns D-Backs starter Brandon Webb, Luis Gonzalez got the start in right field tonight.

Gonzo is 6 for 15 against Webb in his career. Jeremy Hermida is 2 for 8 against Webb, but Fredi Gonzalez said Hermida will be back in the lineup on Sunday afternoon.


Nol_2 Yank_2 NO, Ricky Nolasco is not being traded to the Mets or Yankees, but if Nolasco keeps pitching like he has lately he may find himself as part of the National League All-Star team in Yankee Stadium on July 15.

Since May 9, Nolasco and Rays lefty Scott Kazmir have the most wins (7) in the major leagues. Nolasco is currently tied with 7 other pitchers for 4th in the NL in wins. He has 3 more starts before the All-Star Game.

One advantage Nolasco may have when the NL All-Star pitchers are selected is that Nolasco's last start before the All-Star break comes on a Saturday against the Dodgers. That would leave him with 2 days rest before the All-Star Game. Other NL pitchers who make their last start before the break on a Sunday could be left off the All-Star team, because they would not be available to pitch on All-Star Tuesday.

June 27, 2008

Off the Hook

              It never fails. Right when I had Marlins media relations man Matt Roebuck research a stat -- i.e., fewest total hits by the Marlins in consecutive games -- their bats picked that time to snap to life. Back-to-back singles by Hanley Ramirez and Jeremy Hermida, and a two-run double by Jorge Cantu, means the existing record is safe. One day after the Marlins were one-hit by Tampa Bay's Matt Garza, the D-Backs' Micah Owings was no-hitting them until Ramirez broke the spell in the third, and Hermida and Cantu raised the two-game total to four hits (so far).

            The existing record, thanks to Roebuck's digging, belongs to the 1995 Marlins, who were held to three hits over a two-game span. They were no-hit by the Dodgers' Ramon Martinez on July 14, 1995, and held to three hits the following day

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Lineups (and other tidbits) -- Marlins/D-Backs (Friday)

  Josh_johnson                                 Josh Johnson could be back sooner than expected. He is scheduled to throw Tuesday for Double A Carolina, after which the Marlins will decide whether to activate him from the disabled list and insert him into the starting rotation. At most, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez, Johnson would receive two more rehab starts in the minors before re-joining the Marlins.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tommy Hutton is feeling under the weather and won't be in the booth for Friday night's television broadcast. But Rich Waltz won't be forced to go solo. He'll be joined in the booth on a rotating basis by president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest (innings 1 through 4), president David Samson (innings 5 and 6) and general manager Michael Hill (7 through 9).

              Remember, no cheering in the press box (or broadcast booth).


The Lineups:

Diamondbacks: SS Stephen Drew, LF Eric Byrnes, 2B Orlando Hudson, 1B Chad Tracy, 3B Mark Reynolds, CF Chris Young, RF Jeff Salazar, C Chris Snyder, P Micah Owings.

Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, 1B Mike Jacobs, CF Cody Ross, C Matt Treanor, P Ricky Nolasco.