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53 posts from September 2008

September 13, 2008

Lineups --Marlins/Nats (Saturday)

                   No earthshattering changes to the lineup. As long as the Marlins are in contention, mathematically speaking, they'll stick with the regulars. Once they're eliminated, look for a smattering of changes.

                  The Southern League title is on the line tonight when the Carolina Mudcats -- the Marlins' Double A club -- face Mississippi in Game 5 of the best-of-five series. Win or lose, several Mudcats will be receiving call-up notices, though Fredi Gonzalez said he doesn't expect any of them to report until Tuesday. The names I keep hearing are outfielder Cameron Maybin, first baseman Gaby Sanchez, and pitchers Ryan Tucker and Jesus Delgado, but that's strictly chatter.

                 Nationals (56-91): LF Willie Harris, SS Cristian Guzman, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, CF Lastings Milledge, RF Elijah Dukes, 1B Kory Casto, 2B Emilio Bonifacio, C Wil Nieves, P Tim Redding.

                 Marlins (75-72): SS Hanley Ramirez, C John Baker, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Josh Willingham, RF Jeremy Hermida, CF Alfredo Amezaga, P Josh Johnson.

                Umps: HP Greg Gibson, 1B Charlie Reliford, 2B Brian Runge, 3B Chad Fairchild.

                        

September 12, 2008

Lineups -- Marlins/Nationals (Friday)

            The Marlins open their final homestand against the last-place Nationals. The Marlins have gone 10-2 this season against Washington.

            The Carolina Mudcats will be gunning for the Southern League championshp tonight in Game 4 of a best-of-five series against Mississippi. The Mudcats, who own a 2-1 lead in the series, are sending out left-hander Graham Taylor.

            Nationals: 2B Anderson Hernandez, SS Cristian Guzman, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, CF Lastings Milledge, RF Elijah Dukes, 1B Aaron Boone, LF Willie Harris, C Wil Nieves, P Shairon Martis.

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

September 10, 2008

Loria rips Braman

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria didn’t call it a good day; he said it was a “great day,’’ when Miami Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen ruled against Norman Braman’s lawsuit against the county, saying the funding for the Marlins ’new ballpark was a “public good.’’

“Braman is from the first century at the time of the Coliseum,’’ Loria said Wednesday. “He probably would have opposed the Coliseum..

“It was a colossal waste of everybody’s time and effort,’’ he said.

Hermida gives Tyler Babel the tour

Marlins right fielder Jeremy Hermida was the host and tour guide as he led Tyler Babel through the Marlins’ clubhouse before Wednesday’s Marlins-Phillies game.

Tyler, 6, got the red-carpet treatment from the Marlins players. Luis Gonzalez came over to give him some batting gloves and Dan Uggla and others stopped and joked with the first-grader.

There were some bats and autographed balls, and of course there was the moment when Hermida led Tyler up the steps from the dugout and onto the field at Citizens Bank Park.

“This is awesome,’’ said Tyler, wide-eyed and staggered by being on the big league turf.

Hermida set up the tour for Tyler, who was hit in the face by a foul ball on Aug. 5 that sailed off Hermida’s bat. Tyler suffered three fractures, and spent three days recovering in the hospital.

But Tyler, his older brother Matthew, 8, and mom (Anni) and dad (Matthew) were all smiles Wednesday. They each wore red Phillies T-shirt jerseys with black Marlins caps. The kids wore Ryan Howard jerseys and mom and dad wore Chase Utley jerseys.

“The Marlins are my second favorite team,’’ Tyler said.

Lineups for Wednesday

Fredi shook things up for the odd 4:05 p.m. game Wednesday, sending out a lineup full of wrinkles. He gave Jorge Cantu the day off, because Cantu is nursing some nagging injuries with his back and elbow.

“He will get a day off today and we have an off-day tomorrow,’’ Gonzalez said before Wednesday’s game. “Then I think he’ll be good to roll the rest of the way.’’

With Cantu resting, Gonzalez gave Dallas McPherson a start at third base, and put Dan Uggla in Cantu’s No. 3 spot in the lineup.Fredi also changed two-thirds of the outfield, starting Luis Gonzalez in right, and Alfredo Amezaga in center. And Paul Lo Duca got the start behind the plate, giving the Marlins five different position players from Tuesday’s lineup.

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS 73-72

RAMIREZ SS

GONZALEZ RF

UGGLA 2B

JACOBS 1B

WILLINGHAM LF

MCPHERSON 3B

LO DUCA C

AMEZAGA CF

NOLASCO P

                                                         

PHILLIES 79-66

ROLLINS SS

WERTH RF

UTLEY 2B

HOWARD 1B

BURRELL LF

VICTORINO CF

DOBBS 3B

COSTE C

MYERS P

September 09, 2008

Volstad leaves game early

Chris Volstad just can’t get a break. He has pitched well enough to have an impressive record but the Marlins just don’t’ score for him. Finally on Tuesday night the Marlins put up some runs in a Volstad start, scoring nine runs in the first four innings against the Phillies.

But Volstad couldn’t get the victory, because he had to leave the game after just three innings with a contusion on his right leg. Volstad suffered the injury in the bottom of the third when Carlos Ruiz hit a shot back up the middle that hit Volstad’s right leg. After wincing, Volstad stayed in the game and retired the next three Phillies. But he didn’t go back out for the fourth.

The Marlins had scored just 21 runs for Volstad in his first 11starts – 1.9 runs per start – but Volstad still managed to have a winning record (4-3) despite the lack of run support. He was sharp Tuesday, allowing just two infield hits over the first three innings and striking out two without allowing a walk. The Phillies did not hit the ball out of the infield (not even a fly ball) against Volstad, who held Philly scoreless over six innings in a 3-0 victory at Philadelphia Aug. 7. Volstad has a 1.00 ERA in Philadelphia.

Cody's back in the lineup

It’s still early, but everyone in Philly is worried about a possible rain delay tonight. The clouds have started to clear a bit, but it could be a long night ahead. Cody Ross, who had a rough time in St. Louis where he went 2 for 13 with eight strikeouts, is back in the starting lineup after hitting a pinch-hit homer in Monday’s loss. The Phillies have used a variety of outfield lineups of late, and former University of Miami star Pat “Pat the Bat” Burrell is starting in left field.

Here are the lineups:

MARLINS 72-72

RAMIREZ SS

BAKER C

CANTU 3B

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

WILLINGHAM LF

ROSS CF

HERMIDA RF

VOLSTAD P

PHILLIES 79-65

ROLLINS SS

WERTH RF

UTLEY 2B

HOWARD 1B

BURRELL LF

VICTORINO CF

DOBBS 3B

RUIZ C

KENDRICK P

September 08, 2008

Sanchez leaves early -- again

            Anibal Sanchez couldn’t finish the second inning Monday night in Philadelphia, and suddenly Sanchez is developing a disturbing trend of not lasting very long.

            Sanchez looked sharp when he first returned to the Marlins July 31 after a 14-month layoff and shoulder surgery. He won his first start back, holding Colorado to just two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. But his last two starts have been the quickest exits of his career. He was knocked out after just 1 2/3 innings Monday -- the shortest start of his career  -- and he went only three innings in his previous start Sept. 2 against the Braves

            Monday’s quick exit comes almost two years to the day from Sanchez’s no-hitter against Arizona. He threw the no-hitter Sept. 6, 2006, and then pitched briefly in 2007  (only six starts) before going on the disabled list after a 3 1/3 inning performance against the Mets on May 2.

The Marlins are being careful with Sanchez because he is coming back from surgery, but he left early in his last two starts because of had trouble getting outs.

            In those two starts, Sanchez gave up 11 runs in just 4 2/3 innings (23.40 ERA) but what is more disturbing is he can’t get outs. Sanchez has given up 15 hits and three walks while retiring only 17 batters in those two starts.

            He was tagged for five runs on five hits Monday, before giving way to Mark Hendrickson. Sanchez hasn’t won since he beat the Cubs 2-1 on Aug. 16.

           The question that now faces the Marlins is what to do with Sanchez the rest of the season. should they shut him down and give young Andrew Miller the spot in the rotation? Miller began the season as a starter, and is clearly a player who is in the Marlins' future.

            

Uggla and Hanley on verge of history

There has been a lot written about the Marlins’ ability to hit home runs this season, and now they are on the verge of pulling off a rare feat and rewriting a bit of baseball history.

            Shortstop Hanley Ramirez and second baseman Dan Uggla are about to go into the record book as the most powerful single season middle infielders to ever play for the same team.

When Ramirez hits his next home run – his 30th –Uggla and Ramirez will become the first second baseman and shortstop to hit 30 home runs or more each for the same team in the same season.

            It’s never been done.

There have been only a handful of times in history that a shortstop and second baseman from any team hit 30 or more homers in the same season, including last season when Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit 30 home runs and Uggla hit 31 for the Marlins.

But the idea of it happening for the same team seemed ludicrous until Ramirez and Uggla showed up for the Marlins two years ago. They came close a year ago when Uggla hit 31 and Ramirez hit 29 home runs.

Uggla hit his 30th homer on Saturday, and Ramirez has 19 games left in which to reach 30. Earlier in the season, it appeared as if Uggla and Ramirez might be the first pair of middle infielders on the same team to reach 40. They both went to the All-Star Game with 23 home runs each, and had a legitimate shot at 40 each, but their home run numbers have dropped considerably in the second half of the season.

            Ramirez can give the Marlins another distinction when he hits No. 30, joining first baseman Mike Jacobs and Uggla as the only three infielders on a National League team to hit 30 or more home runs. Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were the only other trio to pull off the 30-homer seasons for the 2001 Oakland Athletics.

LINEUPS FOR PHILLY

Welcome to the could-a, should-a, would-a series in Philly, where the Marlins limp into this three-game series as spoilers instead of contenders. The last time the Marlins were here they took 2 of 3 from Philly and their previous trip was even more memorable, because they came to Philly at the end of May in first place, and that's the last time they were in first place in the NL East. Earlier in the season many were pointing to this series as being one of the biggest of the season.

That was before the Marlins’ bats disappeared around the All-Star break.

Here are the lineups

            

MARLINS 72-71

RAMIREZ SS

HERMIDA RF

CANTU 3B

JACOBS 1B

UGGLA 2B

WILLINGHAM LF

BAKER C

SANCHEZ P

PHILLIES 78-65

ROLLINS SS

VICTORINO CF

UTLEY 2B

HOWARD 1B

WERTH LF

DOBBS 3B

STAIRS RF

RUIZ C

BLANTON P