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53 posts from September 2008

September 19, 2008

Friday's lineup/Hanley Ramirez still out

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez will miss a second straight game since injuring his left shoulder during Wednesday's game. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Friday night's game against the Phillies that Ramirez is "doing better than yesterday."

"For me to say he's going to miss the whole series, I'm not there yet," Gonzalez said.

It remains to be seen whether Ramirez will be ready on Saturday. Ramirez was icing his shoulder with a big ace bandage wrapped around it during pregame. Rookie Cameron Maybin again will bat leadoff and play centerfield, and Alfredo Amezaga will be at shortstop again while Ramirez is out.

Now for the lineups...

Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Chase Utley, 2B

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Pat Burrell, LF

6. Shane Victorino, CF

7. Gregg Dobbs, 3B

8. Chris Coste, C

9. Brett Myers, P

Marlins:

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. John Baker, C

3. Jorge Cantu, 3B

4. Mike Jacobs, 1B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Luis Gonzalez, LF

7. Cody Ross, RF

8. Alfredo Amezaga, SS

9. Josh Johnson, P

-Sarah Rothschild

September 18, 2008

Marlins Win 8th Straight, Defeat Astros 8-1

BY CLARK SPENCER

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

            

            October baseball might not occur in the immediate future for the streaking Marlins, who are running out of time in their belated playoff push. But if their victory on Thursday proved anything, it is that their long-term prognosis looks bright.

Cameron Maybin and John Baker, a pair of rookies who should figure prominently in the Marlins’ 2009 plans, put on a two-man show that propelled the Marlins to their eighth straight win, a 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros that kept their dim playoff hopes alive.

Maybin reached base five times and Baker drove in four runs as the Marlins remained on the outer periphery of the division and wild card races. With the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets each winning on Thursday, the Marlins failed to make any significant strides in their late chase, outside of catching the fading Astros in the wild-card fray.

But Maybin and Baker delighted the tiny, rain-soaked crowd at Dolphin Stadium.

Maybin, batting leadoff in place of injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez, singled four times in five plate appearances, walked once, and scored from first base – not once, but twice – on Baker doubles.

Baker, meanwhile, continues to show off his bat. By going 3 for 5, he raised his average to .290 -- .333 with runners in scoring position – and has pretty much locked up the No. 1 catching job next season.

It all added up to the Marlins’ second straight series sweep, and leaves them one victory shy of the franchise’s longest-ever winning streak. They outscored the slumping Astros by 27-4 over the three-game series. Their next opponent, the Phillies, bring a 7-game winning streak into South Florida for the final homestand of the season in a crucial series for both teams.

The Marlins weren’t at full strength on Thursday, not with Ramirez sitting out with a left shoulder injury that could keep him on the shelf another day or two. But his absence was not felt.

Alfredo Amezaga, filling in at shortstop, not only made a backhanded stop on Lance Berkman’s ground ball in the fourth, but also threw him out from his knees. Then there was Maybin, fresh up from Double A.

The 21-year-old outfielder, one of the prize catches in the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade with the Detroit Tigers last December, provided a glimpse of his talent with Thursday’s performance.

            He used his speed to score from first on the two doubles by Baker, and also to beat out an infield hit.

Maybin and Baker weren’t the only stars.

Pitcher Scott Olsen turned in one of his finest performances, earning the win while allowing just one run on three hits over seven innings. The Astros scored their only run in the first.

Olsen, who had gone winless from July 24 through Sept. 6, has now won each of his past two starts while improving his record to 8-10.

-30-

Hanley Ramirez Out of Lineup With Sore Shoulder

          Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is not in the starting lineup because of the left shoulder injury he sustained Wednesday. Ramirez said it's possible he could return to the lineup in a day or two, but winced as he pulled on an undershirt while discussing the injury with reporters. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it's doubtful that he would even use Ramirez as a pinch-runner, and it's unlikely he would take batting practice before tonight's game.

       Cameron Maybin will bat leadoff and play center field while Alfredo Amezaga will start at short and bat eighth.

       Ramirez injured the shoulder while diving for a ground ball in the third inning on Wednesday. He said he continued to feel discomfort when he tried to swing the bat. But he said he did not hear a "pop" or any other sound that would be cause for alarm. Ramirez underwent surgery on the shoulder after the 2007 season, but he said this is the first time it's given him any trouble since then.

     "It's a little bit stiff," Ramirez said. "I wasn't able to finish my swing and follow through like I'm used to."

       Marlins: CF Cameron Maybin, C John Baker, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Josh Willingham, RF Cody Ross, SS Alfredo Amezaga, P Scott Olsen.

       Astros: 2B Kaz Matsui, SS Miguel Tejada, 1B Lance Berkman, RF Hunter Pence, 1B Mark Loretta, LF Ty Wigginton, CF Reggie Abercrombie, C J. R. Towles, P Alberto Arias.

September 17, 2008

Hanley Ramirez leaves game with sore shoulder

Can the Marlins win without Hanley Ramirez?

They might have to find out. Ramirez had a huge game Wednesday night, belting two home runs in his first two at-bats against the Astros, but he left the game in the fifth inning with a lleft shoulder strain, and was listed as day-to-day, but the Marlins can only hope their best player returns this season. Ramirez appeared to hurt his shoulder when he struck out in his third at-bat.

The Marlins have 11 games left after tonight, and they still believe they have a chance to reach the playoffs, but that slim chance – and it is incredibly slim – looks even slimmer without Ramirez.

Ramirez was replaced in the lineup by Cameron Maybin, who played center field. Center fielder Alfredo Amezaga took over for Ramirez at shortstop. It was Maybin’s first appearance as Marlin. He promptly singled up the middle in his first at-bat as a Marlin.

Then Maybin made a running catch in deep center on Hunter Pence’s sixth-inning drive. The Marlins haven’t seen anyone run like that in center field since Juan Pierre left.

Maybin would be the logical choice to replace Ramirez as the leadoff hitter with Amezaga taking over at shortstop and hitting at the bottom of the order. Ramirez, who has 32 homers and 33 stolen bases, was leading the majors in runs scored with 119 and he was leading the Marlins in hitting (.294), hits (168), walks (90), and stolen bases -- and he was tied with Mike Jacobs for the lead in home runs.

Wednesday's lineup

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS 78-72

RAMIREZ SS

BAKER C

CANTU 3B

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

WILLINGHAM LF

ROSS RF

AMEZAGA CF

NOLASCO P

                                                         

ASTROS 80-70

MATSUI 2B

TEJADA SS

BERKMAN 1B

WIGGINTON LF

BLUM 3B

PENCE RF

BOURN CF

QUINTERO C

BACKE P

September 16, 2008

Triple A team moving to New Orleans

The Marlins are expected to move their Triple A affiliate from Albuquerque (N.M.) to in New Orleans next season. According to industry sources, and a Marlin source, the team will replace the Mets affiliate in New Orleans. The Mets are moving to Buffalo. The Dodgers are moving their Triple A team from Las Vegas to Albuquerque, and there was speculation the Marlins might leave Albuquerque and move to Las Vegas. The New Orleans location will make it easier to move players to and from their Triple A club.

The Mudcats are here, but not in the lineup

The Mudcats arrived Tuesday. Center fielder Cameron Maybin, first baseman Gaby Sanchez and pitchers Ryan Tucker and Jesus Delgado – all from the Double A Carolina Mudcats -- were added to the September roster. None of them were in the starting lineup.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would use the new players when he could, but insisted the Marlins were still in the race for the NL East title, and he would manage the team that way.

“We’re playing to win this thing,’’ said Gonzalez, whose Marlins began Tuesday six games behind the Mets in the NL East race and 5 ½ in back of wild card leaders Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

“We will use them where we see it can help us, pinch-run, pinch-hit,’’ he said. “The best case scenario is we win it, and we give them a start here or there. They’re here. They can help us win ball games. Let’s go.’’

            

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS 77-72

RAMIREZ SS

BAKER C

CANTU 3B

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

WILLINGHAM LF

ROSS RF

AMEZAGA CF

VOLSTAD P

                                                         

ASTROS 80-69

ERSTAD LF

TEJADA SS

BERKMAN 1B

BLUM 3B

PENCE RF

NEWHAN 2B

BOURN CF

AUSMUS C

OSWALT P

September 14, 2008

Lineups -- Marlins/Nationals (Sunday)

                    The brooms are poised as the Marlins go for a sweep, their first since May, in this afternoon's tilt against the Washington Nationals. The Marlins are 12-2 against Washington this season and have swept them twice already -- once in April and again in May.

                    The Marlins now have three infielders (Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla) with at least 30 home runs. The entire Nationals lineup today has hit a whopping total of 30.

                  Take away the Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Marlins record would be 57-68.

                  Nationals: 2B Emilio Bonifacio, SS Alberto Gonzalez, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, CF Lastings Milledge, RF Ryan Langerhans, 1B Kory Casto, C Luke Montz, LF Roger Bernadina; P Collin Balester.

                 Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, C John Baker, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, RF Cody Ross, CF Alfredo Amezaga, P Anibal Sanchez.

            

Maybin, Sanchez in next wave of call-ups

It was a tough night for the Carolina Mudcats, who lost the Southern League championship in a 10-inning defeat to Mississippi.

Afterward, four Mudcats were told they were being called up by the Marlins.

Headed to South Florida: outfielder Cameron Maybin, first baseman Gaby Sanchez, and pitchers Ryan Tucker and Jesus Delgado.

The four are expected to report on Tuesday when the Marlins open a 3-game series with the Houston Astros.

September 13, 2008

The 30/30 Man

            Hanley Ramirez just walloped his 30th home run, a no-doubter over the scoreboard in left-center, making him only the second Marlin ever to have at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season. Preston Wilson had 31 homers and 36 stolen bases for the Marlins in 2001.

         Ramirez_swinging   Meanwhile, the home run feats continue piling up for the Marlins.

            When Ramirez connected off Washington's Tim Redding here in the second inning, the Marlins became just the second team in major league history to have three infielders hit at least 30 homers. They equal a record held by the 2001 Oakland A's, who set the mark with first baseman Jason Giambi (38 HR), third baseman Eric Chavez (32) and shortstop Michael Tejada (31).

           Joining Ramirez on the Marlins' 30+ plus infield club are first baseman Mike Jacobs (32 HR) and second baseman Dan Uggla (30).

           Earlier tonight, third baseman Jorge Cantu slugged his 26th home run. When he hit No. 25 on Friday, the Marlins became the first team in big-league history to have four infielders with at least 25 homers.

           In honor of the occasion, I'll close out this post by using the old newspaper designation for "end of story."

          -30-