The Marlins haven’t done many things well over the last month – except get good production from their bullpen.
After Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers, they made a move to try and make sure that production doesn’t slip – sending outfielder Brett Carroll down to the minors to make room for Saturday night starter Andrew Miller and keep a total of 13 pitchers on the roster. According to manager Fredi Gonzalez, having the extra arm will help alleviate some of the extra work his relievers have had to do this season.
Entering the weekend series, the Marlins bullpen was fourth in the majors in innings pitcher. Kiko Calero, who pitched a third of an inning and walked two batters Friday, leads the majors in appearances with 21. Left-handers Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer aren’t far behind.
“You don’t want these guys worn out by the end of June,” Gonzalez said. “So by having the extra arm, it’s going to protect us.
“Now, on the other hand, we’re going to have to wait until late in the game to make a defensive move to improve our defense in the outfield. But I feel like [rookie Chris] Coghlan isn’t that far away… I think the more he’s out there, the more comfortable we’re going to be having him out there in games.”
The Marlins aren’t the only team in baseball who have 13 pitchers on their 25 man roster. The Dodgers are one of a handful of teams that do, too.
As it stands, that leaves the Marlins with 12 position players or four backups – utility man Alfredo Amezaga, catcher Ronny Paulino, third baseman Wes Helms and outfielder Ross Gload. Gonzalez said if the Marlins ever got into a pinch at catcher, they’d have three guys they could turn to – Coghlan (who caught in high school), Helms and Amezaga.
“I’m pretty sure Amezaga could do it. I’ve asked him,” Gonzalez said. “But he told me ‘You don’t want me back there.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said ‘I’ll show all your catchers up. I’ll embarrass them all.’ And you know what, he may. But I’m pretty sure we’d have to get him high school shin guards.”
In the midst of facing the second of three consecutive Dodger lefties, Gonzalez has decided to give catcher John Baker a rare start against a left-hander tonight. “I didn’t want him sitting out for three days,” Gonzalez said.
Baker is hitting .182 this season (2-for-11) vs. southpaws. Ronny Paulino, who went 0 for 2 against Eric Stults Friday, will start Sunday against Clayton Kershaw.
Saturday's Marlins lineup: 1. Bonifacio 3B, 2. Coghlan LF, 3. Ramirez SS, 4. Cantu 1B, 5. Baker C, 6. Uggla 2B, 7. Hermida RF, 8. Ross CF, 9. Miller P.
SOUND BYTES: For those of you who would like to hear complete interviews from the postgame and pregame interviews we conduct, a page has been created here on MiamiHerald.com where we upload the audio we collect. I uploaded interviews from last night's game as well as what Joe Torre had to say about Manny Ramirez's meeting with the team yesterday. Check it out: Marlins audio.