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57 posts from July 2008

July 21, 2008

Volstad and the lineup

Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs are both back in the lineup after taking a day off, and John Baker is making his fourth start in a row. Of course the reason to come to tonight’s game is Chris Volstad, who is making his debut in South Florida. The roads from Palm Beach Gardens to Dolphin Stadium might be a little congested. The sad thing about this franchise is that if Volstad were a local kid from Chicago pitching in Wrigley or a New England kid pitching his first game in Fenway the entire city would be buzzing about the chance to see his debut.

In Miami?

Let’s just say there are plenty of seats available.

Here are the tonight’s lineups:

MARLINS

RAMIREZ SS

HERMIDA RF

CANTU 3B

WILLINGHAM LF

UGGLA 2B

JACOBS 1B

ROSS CF

BAKER C

VOLSTAD P

BRAVES

BLANCO LF

JOHNSON 2B

JONES 3B

TEIXEIRA 1B

McCANN C

FRANCOEUR RF

KOTSAY CF

LILLIBRIDGE SS

CAMPILLO P

July 20, 2008

Willingham sits out with sore wrist

Josh Willingham wasn’t in the lineup Sunday but he told Fredi Gonzalez he was available to play. Willingham was hit by a pitch on his wrist Saturday, and Fredi wanted him to take a break. Luis Gonzalez got the start in left field.

Mike Jacobs was given a day off against Cole Hamels, and Jorge Cantu moved from third to first and Wes helms got the start at third at hit in the cleanup spot.

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS

RAMIREZ SS

HERMIDA RF

CANTU 1B

HELMS 3B

UGGLA 2B

GONZALEZ LF

ROSS CF

BAKER C

JOHNSON P

PHILLIES

ROLLINS SS

VICTORINO RF

UTLEY 2B

HOWARD 1B

BURRELL LF

JENKINS RF

FELIX 3B

RUIS C

HAMELS P

July 19, 2008

Saturday Day Game Lineups -- Fish/Phils

  Here they are:

Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins, CF Shane Victorino, 2B Chase Utley, 1B Ryan Howard, LF Pat Burrell, RF Jayson Werth, 3B Pedro Feliz, C Chris Coste, P Kyle Kendrick.

Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, 1B Mike Jacobs, CF Cody Ross, C John Baker, P Scott Olsen.

July 18, 2008

Lineups -- Marlins call up Jesus Delgado

            The Marlins called up right-handed reliever Jesus Delgado from Double A Carolina after placing starter Andrew Miller on the 15-day disabled list with right knee tendinitis.Delgado

            Delgado becomes the fourth and final player the Marlins obtained from the Red Sox in the Josh Beckett trade to appear in their big-league uniform, joining Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Harvey Garcia. Delgado was 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 27 relief appearances this season for the Mudcats.

           With Marlins-killer Jamie Moyer going tonight for the Phillies, manager Fredi Gonzalez has elevated Mike Jacobs to the clean-up spot while dropping Josh Willingham down to sixth.

           Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins, CF Shane Victorino, 2B Chase Utley, 1B Ryan Howard, LF Pat Burrell, RF Geoff Jenkins, 3B Pedro Feliz, C Carlos Ruiz, P Jamie Moyer.

          Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Josh Willingham, CF Cody Ross (17-game hitting streak on the line), C John Baker, P Ricky Nolasco.

July 17, 2008

Andrew Miller to the DL

       

         The Marlins are placing starting pitcher Andrew Miller on the 15-day disabled list with patellar tendinitis to his right knee, retroactive to Monday. The move will be made Friday, and the Marlins are expected to call up a reliever from Triple A Albuquerque, at least initially.Andrew_miller

       Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad will move up in the rotation, with Johnson starting Sunday agaisnt the Phillies and Volstad taking the mound on Monday against the Braves. Ricky Nolasco and Scott Olsen are scheduled to start Friday and Saturday, respectively, against the Phillies.

      Gonzalez said a decision on a starter for Tuesday will be made later.

    Miller has struggled recently, losing his past four decisions. He went 0-2 on the just-concluded road trip, and was knocked out in the second inning on Sunday in Los Angeles.

July 15, 2008

All-Star Game thoughts

           The All-Star Game is a Midsummer Classic, and celebration of the game but in the midst of the party everyone in baseball is aware of the recession.

            “It’s a source of great concern,’’ commissioner Bud Selig said. “There’s no question the gas price situation and the economy picture is very bleak, and I worry a lot about it. So far, we’re OK.

“I’ve had a theory in the past - and it’s just a theory and there is no evidence to support this -- that there are probably less vacations because of the aforementioned things.

“It’s been true in other recessions since I’ve been in baseball -- from the late ‘60s on -- that we seem to do OK and not be affected as much. But I’m not saying this time that’s going to happen. I am concerned about it.’’

Selig, speaking to the Baseball Writers Association of America, defended his decision to use the winner of the All-Star Game to determine home field advantage in the World Series, and said he wouldn’t consider letting interleague play determine which league gets the home field in the Series.

“This is more dramatic,’’ Selig said of the All-Star Game being the deciding factor. “No one is going to be sitting on the edge of their seat watching that last interleague game. I don’t like the interleague (format). It’s not very dramatic or exciting.’’

Selig, who is an opponent of instant replay, said there was a chance there could be some form of instant replay – boundary calls on home runs -- in the postseason.

“We’re hard at work. We are looking at it intensely,’’ he said. ‘And once we are convinced the bugs are out, it will come quickly. So, there is a chance, if we agree to it, it could be before the postseason.’’

ODDS AND ENDS

Yankee Stadium was the star of the All-Star Game, because it is the final All-Star Game at what Selig called “the most famous sports cathedral in the world.’’ If the Yankees don’t get to the World Series this year, then the final World Series game in the history of Yankee Stadium will be the Marlins’ 2-0 Game 6 victory that gave Florida the 2003 World Series title.

            The Marlins had two players in the All-Star Game in Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez, who became the first Marlin to start an All-Star Game since Gary Sheffield (1997), but they also had two former Marlin players, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez and Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. There were more Marlins managers on the field than from any other club. Jim Leyland and Joe Girardi were coaches for the AL.

Dempster knows why the AL has won every All-Star Game since 1996.

“The American League has been using corked bats,’’ he said with a straight face. “We’re going to cut them open this time.’’

            Ryan Braun, a former star that the University of Miami, was second in the overall voting in the NL, and became the first Milwaukee outfielder ever voted to the All-Star team.

“It meant everything to me to be named to the All-Star Game,’’ said Braun, who played in only 113 games last year as a rookie, but has 57 career home runs. “I didn’t have (a timetable) for getting to the All-Star Game, but as soon as I got to the big leagues my goal was to get to the All-Star Game.’’

            

The Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series in 100 years, tied an All-Star record by placing eight Cubs on the NL team. There have not been that many Cubs in Yankee Stadium since 1938 – the last time they played the Yankees in the World Series. Geovany Soto was the first Cubs catcher to start an All-Star Game since Gabby Harnett started in 1937.

Soto has no idea what the Homer in the Gloamin' was.

How good was 71-year-old batting practice pitcher Clay Counsil, who came in from North Carolina to pitch to Josh Hamilton in Monday’s Home Run Derby?

“He’s the best I’ve ever seen,’’ said Colorado bullpen catcher Mark Strittmatter, who was the catcher during the Home Run Derby. “He’s 71, and every pitch was right there.’’

Hamilton, who set a derby record by hitting 28 homers in the first round, was overwhelmed by the crowd, which stood on its feet and chanted his name.

“That was the most unbelievable moment in my life,’’ Hamilton said.

MLB still optimistic about Marlins ballpark

      Major League Baseball is still optimistic the Marlins – despite the lawsuit filed by Norman Braman against the City of Miami – will get a new ballpark, and MLB president and CEO Bob DuPuy said Tuesday Braman’s claim the Marlins were $150 million in debt was simply not true.

“That statement was flat inaccurate,’’ said DuPuy, who believes the Marlins will survive the suit and eventually get the ballpark built on the Orange Bowl site. Braman is trying to stop the City of Miami’s $3 billion “megaplan,” which includes funding for a new ballpark for the Marlins.

“A few weeks ago I would have told you I was more concerned than I am now, given the judge’s preliminary ruling,’’ DuPuy said. “The lawsuit is an unfortunate delay. It’s one that I think should not have happened. But we do see it as a bump in the road and we remain guardedly optimistic that the commissioners will approve the definitive document and we will get a ballpark done.’’

DuPuy said MLB did not try to approach Braman in the early stages to try to derail the lawsuit.

“No one in baseball to my knowledge spoke directly to Norman Braman, and he didn’t reach out to us. We obviously have spoken with the team and the lawyers and are willing to help, but we have not talked to Norman Braman,’’ DuPuy said. “Nothing I read suggested he had any interest in being persuaded, and it’s obviously a broader attack than just the stadium. It’s on the entire global plan, and that’s local politics.’’

            The lawsuit also is creating a problem with the delay of construction, and even MLB is starting to become worried about the target date of a 2011 opening for the new ballpark.

“Because of the lawsuit that’s (2011) getting tight,’’ DuPuy said.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who spoke to the Baseball Writers of America Association Tuesday afternoon, joked when he was asked about Braman’s lawsuit.

“I would like to make a sarcastic remark about Norman Braman, but I won’t,’’ Selig said. “People seem to be reasonably optimistic that this is going to be settled…and it will be a great story.

“We have made some made some major comebacks in areas like Minnesota, but Florida may stand as the ultimate triumph. I’m hopeful that that matter will be resolved.’’

Tampa Bay’s attendance has soared this season because the Rays are winning, but the Marlins, who are only 1 ½ games out of first place, have seen no gains in attendance and are still last in baseball. Many believe there is so much apathy toward the team not even a new ballpark will bring in fans.

DuPuy said MLB has always believed baseball will work in South Florida.

“Because it has historically been a good market for college baseball, and historically been a good market for youth baseball,’’ DuPuy said. “You wonder if the team did too well in winning two world championships as early in their history as they did.

“We believe that solving the climate problem and coming up with a ballpark that is a destination point and having development around the at area will solve the problem,’’ DuPuy said.

“What’s good is the television ratings are very good, which means people are watching the games,’’ he said. “There are fans down there. They’re just not attending the games. We think a roofed facility will induce them to come to the games.

“There’s no team that has that kind of (TV to attendance) ratio. They are unique,” said DuPuy, who could think of only one other similar case in baseball history. “Cleveland was like that back before they got their new ball park. Cleveland was a good baseball market. They had great TV ratings and they didn’t draw flies, and when the new ballpark came they sold out for four years.’’

DuPuy even believes the Marlins fans who live in North Broward and Palm Beach will make the drive to Miami at because the new ballpark will have a roof.

“They will be going against the traffic and they are going to know the game is gong to start at 7 o’clock and they’re going to know the game is going to be over and there’s not going to be a rain delay, and there are going to be restaurants around there, and we’re hoping it will induce people to come to the ballpark,’’ he said.

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July 13, 2008

Anibal Sanchez vs. Andrew Miller

             Andrew Miller was dismal once again, knocked out in the second inning on Sunday here at Dodger Stadium after coughing up seven runs on five hits and five walks. He lost in San Diego earlier in the week after he gave up four runs in the first.

            Clearly, things are not going well for Miller, and the more he struggles, the more he begins to look like the odd man out when Anibal Sanchez returns. While Miller was coming unraveled against the Dodgers, Sanchez was throwing 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in a rehab start in Fort Myers for Single A Jupiter. Sanchez gave up three hits and struck out six. The Marlins think he could be ready in about three weeks.

            

Lineups -- Marlins/Dodgers (Sunday)

           Hanley Ramirez is out of the lineup with a sore right shoulder. Alfredo Amezaga is leading off and starting at shortstop. Some of the Marlins were watching the Phillies/Diamondbacks game with great interest as they prepared to take the field at Dodger Stadium. A Marlins victory, coupled with a Philadelphia loss, would move the Marlins into first place (though possibly in tandem with the New York Mets, who played later Sunday).

          "We have a chance to be in first place, boys," first baseman Mike Jacobs yelled out when the Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead on the Phillies.

         Kevin Gregg is not available tihs afternoon, having pitched the last four games and five of the last six. But starter Scott Olsen is available for bullpen use if necessary. Fredi Gonzalez said he could go to Olsen, who has not pitched since Wednesday, if the game goes to extra innings. Olsen isn't due to make his next start until Saturday after the All-Star break. Joe Nelson would be the likely candidate in a save situation today.

                The lineups:

         Marlins: SS Alfredo Amezaga, RF Luis Gonzalez, 3B Jorge Cantu, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, 1B Mike Jacobs, CF Cody Ross, C Paul Hoover, P Andrew Miller.

         Dodgers: RF Matt Kemp, LF Andre Ethier, C Russell Martin, SS Nomar Garciaparra, CF Andruw Jones, 1B James Loney, 3B Andy LaRoche, 2B Luis Maze, P Chad Billingsley.

Hanley Ramirez NOT in Lineup (NEW UPDATE)

          Alfredo Amezaga is starting at shortstop and leading off today (Sunday) for the Marlins in place of Hanley Ramirez, who left Saturday's game in the second inning with a sore right shoulder. But Ramirez and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the shortstop is fine, could be available off the bench, and is definitely a "go" for Tuesday's All-Star Game.

          Ramirez is on the field taking batting practice (3 p.m. EST) and everything looks normal.Hanley_throwing

          "Just a day off," Ramirez said. "It's okay."

         Said Gonzalez: "He'll be lurking (in the dugout)."

         Gonzalez said Ramirez asked to start Sunday, but the manager decided against it as a precaution.

         Ramirez felt the shoulder flare up in the first inning on Saturday when he made an off-target throw to first that enabled Nomar Garciaparra to reach on what was ruled a base hit.

          He said he injured the shoulder earlier in the week in San Diego, and he has icing it in recent days. Before Sunday's game, he was playing a video arcade game in the player's lounge area.

         Ramirez said the shoulder only bothers him to throw, not to hit. He mentioned the shoulder to Gonzalez when he came off the field after the first, but Gonzalez had him hit in the top of the second becaues the Marlins had a runner in scoring position.

         He had arthroscopic surgery on his LEFT shoulder after the 2007 season to repair a torn labrum.