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73 posts from May 2009

May 19, 2009

Sun! D-Backs/Marlins Try Again

             Conditions are considerably improved from what they were last night when the field was turned into a lake by the deluge. Not making any guarantees but, weather-wise, the elements appear conducive to baseball at Land Shark Stadium.

              No changes in the lineup for the,

              Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 2. Chris Coghlan, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 1b; 5. John Baker, c; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. Jeremy Hermida, rf; 8. Cody Ross, cf; 9. Josh Johnson, p.


May 18, 2009

Game Postponed, Doubleheader on Wednesday





                The Marlins won’t have a roof over their heads until 2012, the year they’re scheduled to move into their new ballpark.  They could have used it on Monday when a deluge caused the postponement of their game with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

                Play was stopped in the fourth inning with the Marlins ahead, 1-0. The game will be made up Wednesday as part of a doubleheader, with the first game set to start at 5:10 p.m.

                It was the 25th home postponement for the Marlins, who began play in 1993, but just the second since 2004.

                Monday’s game was stopped at 8:31 p.m. and called off at 10:08.

                The rain was so heavy that the entire outfield was eventually covered in standing water.

                More rain is forecast the next several days.



Dark Skies, Pitching Blues, Lineups

        Dark skies above and rain in the forecast as we wind up Marlins/D-Backs. Ricky Nolasco heads back to the mound trying to snap out of a season-long funk.

       So much for those preseason forecasts touting the Marlins' starting staff as the strength of the club and one of the best in the majors. The numbers don't lie, and they show the Marlins starters ranking 14th of the 16 NL teams in ERA at 5.12. Only the Nats (5.46) and Phils (6.35) are worse. Combined, Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA. The collection of five pitchers that have made the team's other 25 starts: 4-13 with a 7.16 ERA. That's right. The Marlins, outside of Johnson and Volstad, have received exactly four wins from the remaining three-fifths of the rotation. Not good.

      Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 2. Chris Coghlan, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 1b; 5. John Baker, c; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. Jeremy Hermida, rf; 8. Cody Ross, cf; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p.

      D-Backs: 1. Felipe Lopez, 2b; 2. Gerardo Parra, lf; 3. Justin Upton, 3b; 4. Stephen Drew, ss; 5. Mark Reynolds, 3b; 6. Miguel Montero, c; 7. Chris Young, cf; 8. Chad Tracy, 1b; 9. Dan Haren, p.

Marlins Call Up Brian Sanches


           Right-handed reliever Brian Sanches becomes the latest call-up for the Marlins, who are making moves fast and furious all of a sudden. Sanches fills the roster spot of John Koronka, who was designated for assignment Sunday.

           Sanches had made 16 relief appearances this season at Triple A New Orleans, going 1-1 with four saves and a 2.04 ERA for the Zephyrs.

           Sanches, 30, has some big-league experience on his resume, spending time with Philadelphia and Washington from 2006-08. His total major-league numbers: 42 relief outings, a 3-1 record and 6.13 ERA. Control has been an issue (30 walks in 47 2/3 innings), as has the long ball (13 homers).

May 16, 2009

Marlins sparkle in win over Dodgers

There's a really good chance Saturday night was the last time the Marlins are going to have Pom Pom giveaway night. In case you weren't at Land Shark Stadium you probably missed the silver lining in the Marlins 6-3 win over the Dodgers.

It was all over the field -- silver strands from the 15,000 pompoms given away before the game. Fans spent most of the night tossing those strands in the air, which eventually landed on the field. Players weren't happy. Dan Uggla called the situation "brutal." John Baker, who hit a two-run home run to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth, got deeper.

"Absolutely brutlal,'' Baker said. "The thing that was really frustrating is you look up and see people shaking them like its a joke. Its frustrating when stuff is flying all over the field and they're shiny and they hit the lights... I think you focus for the moment and your OK. But seeing stuff all over the baseball field... baseball is obviously America's past time and to see like that all over the field is very frustrating for a player."

Of course, at least they won and they were plenty of encouraging signs.

Andrew Miller's five innings in his first start since he went on the DL April 20th with an oblique strain wasn't glorious. But he picked up the win and got stronger as the game progressed.

"His final two and half innings were outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His breaking ball was good, his fastball outstanding. That was a good start for Andrew."

Baker agreed. "I felt he did great. I think he made a breakthrough in the middle of the game. Anybody could see it watching on the velocity from the third inning on. [Pitching coach] Mark [Wiley] told him if your going to miss, miss throwing your good stuff. All of a sudden, you see 93, 94, 95 and it turned around for him. You have to give him credit battling through a shaky start. That's a tough lineup even without Manny Ramirez in it."

> After the game we learned utility man Alfredo Amezaga injured his left knee rounding third base in the eighth. Gonzalez said Amezaga would get reevaluated before Sunday's game. It's the same knee Amezaga hurt while playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Marlins want to give relievers relief

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.

Brett Carroll sent down after loss

LAND SHARK STADIUM -- The Marlins capped their fifth straight loss Friday night by sending Brett Carroll back to the minors after the game. The move was made to make room for Saturday starter Andrew Miller.

Carroll was 3 for 21 this season at the plate (.143) and used primarily as a defensive replacement in the outfield.

May 15, 2009

Anibal plays catch; JJ says he feels fine

LANDSHARK STADIUM -- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he got a bit worried Friday afternoon when he got called off to the side by head athletic trainer Sean Cunningham. Was it going to be more bad news for the pitching staff?

Nope. Cunningham wanted to Gonzalez the best news he's heard in weeks -- that Anibal Sanchez was up and throwing again. The Marlins right-hander, who left his previous start on May 7th against the Braves with a sore shoulder, played catch for about 10 minutes Friday and could be throwing from the mound before the team's 10-game homestand ends on May 24th.

“He came in today, said he felt good," Gonzalez said. "In Colorado, they told me three, four weeks before he picks up a ball. Sean told me his range of motion was good, and strength was good. That is very encouraging."

Sanchez said he still isn't sure when he could pitch. The Marlins have said they think it could be up two months. “I feel good,” Sanchez said. “Depending how I feel in the next couple days, I should know a little more. I don’t know how much time it’s going to be. But I don’t have any pain.”

As for staff ace Josh Johnson, it appears his short outing in Milwaukee was just a scare. Johnson, who told reporters his shoulder just didn't feel right, said Friday it was more like "a one day thing." He said he was given a strength test and passed it. He threw on Friday and said he's on schedule for his regular bullpen session Saturday.

"I don't have any pain at all," Johnson said. "That's good."

The Marlins lineup: 1. Bonifacio 3B, 2. Coghlan LF, 3. Ramirez SS, 4. Cantu 1B, 5. Uggla 2B, 6. Hermida RF, 7. Ross CF, 8. Paulino C, 9. Volstad P.

May 14, 2009

Johnson Exits With "Weak" Shoulder -- "Nothing Serious" Manager Says

               Back up from the clubhouse, where there were some new details concerning Josh Johnson's early exit from Thursday's game against the Brewers. Seems there were some concerns about Johnson's right shoulder, though all parties emphasized there is nothing seriously wrong with the Marlins' ace.

               Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the decision was made to remove the ineffective Johnson after the fourth inning because there was "something there -- nothing serious" with Johnson's pitching shoulder. Said Johnson: "It just doesn't feel great. I wanted to go back out there. It's not tight. Almost weak. But then I came in here and did all the strength stuff, and they told me it's not weak. I've heard stories of people leaving Colorado and feeling absolutely awful their next start."

               Johnson labored all game and was lifted after throwing four innings, his shortest outing since June of the 2007 season. He remains on schedule to make his next start in five days.

Short Outing for Josh Johnson -- UPDATE


              Not much of a performance this afternoon by Josh Johnson, who was lifted after four innings. That marks Johnson's shortest outing since a 4-inning start on June 29, 2007 -- just before he was lost for the season and underwent Tommy John surgery.

             Johnson's downfall Thursday was his inability to throw strikes. He threw fewer than 50 percent of his pitches (40 of 82) for strikes and ended up walking five.

             The decision to pull Johnson appeared to be made abruptly after he batted (struck out) in the top of the fifth, as Burke Badenhop, who had been warming up earlier, resumed throwing -- only with a greater sense of urgency. Manager Fredi Gonzalez came out of the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman, perhaps -- and this is PURE SPECULATION -- to find out whether Badenhop could be permitted extra warmup pitches? Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley could also be seen conferring with Johnson inside the dugout. We'll find out soon enough what it was all about.

              Update: Just learned from the Marlins that Johnson was not lifted due to injury.

              Speaking of Wiley, he spent a good part of the morning studying videotape of Ricky Nolasco's abysmal outing Wednesday night.

              "A work in progress," was Wiley's only comment on Nolasco's struggles.