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59 posts from August 2008

August 12, 2008

Uggla's mistake is behind him - and Marlins

            No one is sure what Dan Uggla saw Monday night when he thought he had been given the steal sign in the ninth inning of a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals. Uggla was thrown out and then stood up afterward, handling every question about his mistake, taking all the blame.

        Wes Helms also missed a hit-and-run sign in the sixth inning Monday, but by Tuesday afternoon, the Marlins said the problems had been addressed.

“We talked to them. It was taken care of and we will play tonight,’’ said Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, who added the Marlins have a plan in place for when a player misses a sign or is confused.

“We have all that stuff covered,’’ he said. “There’s a failsafe system. It was just one of those nights. We all learn from it. We go over our signs every other series.’’

Both Uggla and Helms were remorseful.

“It’s because they care,’’ Gonzalez said. “These are the kind of guys you want on your team. It stays with them the next day. You feel like you hurt your team. But we didn’t lose the game because of that.’’

Marlins first base coach Andy Fox said Uggla’s mistake was a rarity.

           “This is a smart team. These guys have been heads-up all year,’’ he said. “For the most part I think we have been very good in game-type situations, running the bases and doing things like taking the extra base when it’s there.

       "These guys are very conscientious in their decision-making. (Monday) night was just one of those things. I can’t remember a time this year when something like that has happened. We’re running the bases a lot better than we did last year.’’

Cantu is back in the lineup

Jorge Cantu is back in the lineup after taking a day off, and Chris Volstad will make his first big-league start against the Cardinals tonight. The Marlins have scored only seven runs for Volstad, who could have easily had a 6-0 start with some run support. They have scored only 11 runs in their past four home games.

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS

RAMIREZ SS

HERMIDA RF

CANTU 3B

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

WILLINGHAM LF

ROSS CF

BAKER C

VOLSTAD P

CARDINALS

SCHUMAKER CF

LOPEZ 3B

PUJOLS 1B

LUDWICK RF

ANKIEL LF

MOLINA C

MILES 2B

LOHSE P

IZTURIS SS

August 11, 2008

Rhodes is rolling along

       Well, that Arthur Rhodes deal has looked pretty good so far. Rhodes, a left-handed relief specialist who came over from Seattle for Gaby Hernandez, came into Monday’s game in the eighth with one out and a runner at first to face lefty Rick Ankiel.

Rhodes ended the inning with a 4-6-3 double play, and has now faces five batters since coming to the Marlins. He has struck out three and induced a double play.

Molina!

Molina, Molina Molina.

            Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez must have nightmares every time he hears that name. Fredi always jokes about how the Molina brothers own the Marlins, and they got the Fish again Monday when Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to lift the Cardinals to a 3-2 lead.

The three Molina Brothers – Bengie, who plays for the Giants and Jose, now with the Yankees, and Yadier, the youngest -- are now a combined 38 for 108 against Florida. That’s a .351 batting average against the Marlins. There’s more: They have combined to hit four homers (two by Bengie and two by Yadier) and have driven in 25 runs – or an average of one RBI every 4.32 at-bats.

Yadier will be in town for the next three nights, but the bad news comes next week when the Marlins travel to San Francisco to face Bengi, who is a career .444 hitter (24 for 54) hitter against the Marlins.

The Marlins talked to the Giants last month about a possible trade that would have brought Bengie to the Marlins, but the two teams couldn’t work out a deal.

Olsen and Favre ready to go

Scott Olsen has never missed a start because of an injury, and he’s not planning on missing his next one Thursday against the Cardinals.

            “I’m good to go,’’ said Olsen after he threw a bullpen session at Dolphin Stadium Monday afternoon. “I’ll be out there Thursday.’’

            Olsen injured his ankle covering first base Saturday and there was some concern if he would be ready to make his next start, but both Olsen and the Marlins believe he will be fine.

            Olsen has made every start since coming to the big leagues. He made 31 starts in 2006, 33 last season and has started 24 games this season.

            Olsen does have a new jersey. It’s fresh off the rack: a Brett Favre New York Jets jersey was hanging in Olsen’s locker when the club began a home stand Monday. The jersey is from New York, where the Marlins just played a three-game series against the Mets, and it’s from Luis Gonzalez, who seems to be everywhere this team needs him to be.

“He (Luis) said he was going to go try and find a Favre jersey, and I told him if he found one, pick one up for me, too,’’ Olsen said. “Two days later, ding, ding, ding, there it is.

“I was never a Packers fan,’’ said Olsen, who grew up in the Midwest. “But I’ve always been a Brett Favre fan.’’

Waecther goes on the DL, Kensing returns

The Marlins brought back Logan Kensing from Triple A Albuquerque Monday and put Doug Waechter on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 6. Waechter (3-2 with a 3.51) ERA has been out since Wednesday with right shoulder inflammation.

            Waechter was scheduled to see a local doctor Monday, but Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said at this point he didn’t think it would be a long term injury. Waechter had become a valuable member of the bullpen, first pitching in long relief and more recently as a short man in the seventh and eighth innings.

            “He’s been terrific for us,’’ Gonzalez said. “He was that long guy and then became the swing guy. It’s just we would rather be safe than sorry (with him). We didn’t want to put him in a situation to hurry him up.’’

            Kensing is 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA in 34 appearances this season. But hasn’t pitched for the Marlins since July 8 in San Diego. He was sent down to Triple A after having rough stretch in which he gave up four runs in his last three appearances covering just 3 1 3/ innings (10.90 ERA).

Cantu gets a day off

Fredi Gonzalez is giving Jorge Cantu a day off and starting Wes Helms at third base and putting Josh Willingham in Cantu’s No. 3 spot in the order. Mike Jacobs is hitting cleanup and Dan Uggla is hitting fifth.

Gonzalez said he just wants to give Cantu a breather. He has rested Jacobs and Willingham recently and he said he will continue to give players a day now and then to stay fresh for the stretch run, because the Marlins believe they are in the race for the long haul.

The Marlins begin a four-game series against St. Louis and then play the Chicago Cubs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which means this week the biggest Marlins fans outside South Florida live in Milwaukee.

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS

RAMIREZ SS

HERMIDA RF

WILLINGHAM LF

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

ROSS CF

BAKER C

SANCHEZ P

CARDINALS

SCHUMAKER CF

LOPEZ 3B

PUJOLS 1B

LUDWICK RF

ANKIEL LF

MOLINA C

MILES 2B

PINEIRO P

IZTURIS SS

August 10, 2008

Brett Favre In the House -- Sunday Lineups w/Mets

               The Marlins -- not the Dolphins -- will be the first South Florida team to see the new Jets quarterback. B.F. is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the matinee tilt at Shea. Scott Olsen is a big Favre fan, so we should expect to see him standing on the top dugout steps for the ceremony.

              Luis Gonzalez bought Olsen a Favre jersey, which the pitcher has hanging up in his locker and plans to wear all week leading up to the first Dolphins-Jets showdown just to irritate Fins fans. Olsen says he's not a Jets fan. Just likes Favre. On a more serious note, Olsen is limping around the clubhouse with a sore right ankle, which he injured Saturday night while covering first base. Favre

             Swears he'll be fine for his next scheduled start on Thursday which Fredi Gonzalez also confirmed.

             We're still waiting for the Mets to get their act together and put out the lineup sheet. But here's how the Marlins are shaping up today:

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

            Mets: SS Jose Reyes, 2B Argenis Reyes, 3B David Wright, 1B Carlos Delgado, CF Carlos Beltran, LF Daniel Murphy, C Brian Schneider, RF Endy Chavez, P Mike Pelfrey.

             

August 09, 2008

Two for the Record Books

                  It took the Marlins exactly 116 games to reach the 1,000 strikeout plateau, reaching the milestone on Friday when Dan Uggla struck out in the seventh inning. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Marlins reached the 1,000 strikeout mark quicker than any team in Major League history.

                 When Jorge Cantu homered in the top of the third on Saturday, the Marlins became the first team in National League history to have each of the four infielders (minimum 75 games at each position) hit at least 20 home runs. The Marlins are trying to become the first team in Major League history to have their four infielders hit at least 25 home runs each. Uggla (26) and Hanley Ramirez (25) have already cleared the hurdle, with Mike Jacobs (23) closing in on the number.

Lo Duca to DH Tonight for Isotopes

             Catcher Paul Lo Duca passed his physical and will DH tonight for Triple A Albuquerque. But he'll be receiving plenty of action behind the plate in coming games. The Marlins want to find out whether he can help them behind the plate, and Lo Duca caught just 20 games for the Nationals before they released him.

           "Let's see what we've got," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Lo Duca, who signed a minor-league contract.

          Meanwhile, pitcher Andrew Miller is due to take the mound tonight in Jupiter for the Hammerheads. He's down to throw no more than 65 pitches, or five innings.