« March 2010 | Main | May 2010 »

48 posts from April 2010

April 18, 2010

Maybin moves into leadoff spot (updated)

PHILADELPHIA -- An interesting change has been made at the top of the Marlins lineup before Sunday's game against the Phillies. 

Struggling Chris Coghlan, hitting a mere .119 this season (5 for 42), has been flip-flopped with Cameron Maybin, the Marlins' usual No. 2 hitter. Maybin has gotten off to a good start. He's hitting .294 with 13 runs scored. 

"Maybin has been getting on base," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Maybe we'll be able to use his speed stealing bases in the No. 1 spot. If he gets on, Coghlan may be able to use that hole as an advantage... maybe this weill get him going, hit and running, that kind of stuff."

Gonzalez said the change could last "more than one day." But until Coghlan breaks out of his funk, it's going to be hard to put him back at the top of the lineup.

"For me the No. 1 thing when guys go bad, slump, they're swinging at bad pitches," Gonzalez said. "You see Coghlan swinging at balls up. He usually takes them. You see guys open the strike zone up and trying to handle pitches they really can't handle and chase pitches. But the first pitch he hit [Saturday was right on the button.

"He's close. The only thing he needs now is a couple broken bat singles, get the monkey off [his] back psychology wise."

Coghlan was 6 for 42 in his first 14 games last year before hitting .338 over his final 114 and winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Maybin said Saturday he likes hitting leadoff. His numbers aren't bad. He's a career .304 hitter in the top spot. "Whenever I hit leadoff, I tend to be a little more patient, kind of make guys work," Maybin said. "I think that's a big part of being a lead off hitter, making guys throw pitches so the guys behind you can see what they're doing. 

"Honestly, [hitting first or second] is one of those things where I don't really have a preference. I just like hitting at the top and getting on for Hanley [Ramirez], Jorge [Cantu] and Dan [Uggla] all the guys who can drive me in."

> Catcher Ronny Paulino was scratched from Sunday's lineup with a tight right quadriceps.

> Relief pitcher Chris Leroux got the autographed baseball he was hoping to get from Roy Halladay Sunday morning. Leroux, who grew up in Toronto and as a huge Blue Jays fan, said his mom made a special request to get it. 

"He didn't personalize it," Leroux said. "But I'm still pretty sure my mom is going to love it. I'm not sure where she's going to put it. She might sleep with it."

> The Marlins will be off Monday before opening a three-game series in Houston. It will be a sweet homecoming for relief pitcher Clay Hensley in more ways than one. 

For one, Hensley was cut by the Astros last year before the Marlins picked him up and he revived his career in Triple A New Orleans. The other reason? Henlsey hasn't since his wife and first born son, Quinn, in more than a month in a half. Quinn was born on Feb. 28, two days before Hensley had to report to Jupiter for spring training.

"I spent a day with him and had to leave," Hensley said. My wife has kept me up to date by sending me pictures. He's laughing and smiling now. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing him again."

MARLINS LINEUP (UPDATED): 1. Cameron Maybin CF; 2. Chris Coghlan LF; 3. Hanley Ramirez SS; 4. Jorge Cantu 1B; 5. Dan Uggla 2B; 6. Cody Ross RF; 8. Gaby Sanchez 1B; 9. Nate Robertson P.

April 17, 2010

Meyer eager to bring down 19.31 ERA

PHILADELPHIA -- Friday night's seventh inning was one to forget for reliever Dan Meyer. With a little more than a dozen family members and friends from right up the road in his hometown of Mickleton, N.J. in attendance, the 28-year old left-hander had his worst outing in a Marlins uniform.

Dan Meyer It started with a bang when Chase Utley drilled a 2-2 change-up from Meyer into the seats in right field for a leadoff home run. Then, Meyer gave up a single to Ryan Howard, an RBI double to Jayson Werth, a walk to Raul Ibanez and a single Juan Castro before manager Fredi Gonzalez came and yanked him. In all, Meyer didn't retire a single batter he faced and saw his ERA shoot up to 19.31 on the season.

"I had a bad day at work and unfortunately it was in front of 40,000 people and who knows how many else on TV," Meyer said. "My family still loves me, though."

His Marlin family still does, too. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Meyer pitched too good for him last year to discard him after a bad week. "We could always talk about somebody negatively whether it's a pitcher, a starter or a coach," Gonzalez said. "Hitters go 0 for 10 or 0 for 20. Sometimes relievers get themselves in a little funk. For me, that's all it is. [We'll] keep running him out there."

In Meyer's first full season in the majors last year, he made 71 appearances and went 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA. He started this season by retiring four of the first six hitters he faced in three appearances, giving up a single in a win over the Dodgers and walking the only batter he was faced Monday against the Reds.

His last two outings have been much rougher. Tuesday, he picked up the loss in the Marlins' 11-inning defeat to the Reds, giving up three hits, two earned runs and two walks in one inning. Friday's implosion followed. Meyer said his cutter was "a little flatter" in both of his last outings. But Saturday, when he threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Randy St. Claire, Meyer said his go-to pitch was working again "like it was last year."

"Everything is there," Meyer said. "It's correlating that to the game. I hope Fredi and those guys still have confidence in me. I'm still going out there giving it all for these guys."

> Right-hander Chris Leroux, who relieved Meyer Friday and promptly got out of the bases loaded jam he was given, got to live out a childhood dream in his second appearance since being called up from Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday. 

Among the six outs in his two scoreless innings of relief, the 25-year old Toronto native was able to strike out former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. Leroux said his mom asked him before Friday's game to get an autograph from Halladay, who spent 11 full seasons with in Toronto and won the Cy Young award in 2003 before being acquired by the Phillies in a multi-team trade last December.

"I've always watched him and somewhat idolized him," Leroux said. "Just seeing him step into the [batter's] box was cool."

As for the autograph, Leroux said he's counting on a clubhouse attendant to get it for him. "Hopefully, he won't take the strikeout personally," Leroux said.

> Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said after Friday's 8-6 win he thought Gonzalez wanted umpires to delay the game because of the rainy conditions, which might have meant avoiding Halladay, who would not have come back to pitch if the delay was long enough.

“You’d have to ask Fredi, but I think he wanted to stall and see if they would stop the game before five innings and we wouldn’t get the game in," Manuel told Phillies writers. "But, whatever. I don’t know. You have to ask him.”

When asked about it by Marlins writers before Saturday's game, Gonzalez had a little fun. "Where is he? Let me at him," Gonzalez said before motioning as if he was going to dart off the Marlins bench to chase Manuel down. "I wasn't stalling. I was trying to get the field ready."

> Left fielder Chris Coghlan is back in the lineup after missing three games with sore ribs thanks to a diving catch in the outfield Tuesday. Gonzalez said Coghlan would have been used in a pinch runner situation Friday night had John Baker reached base in the ninth inning. 

Gonzalez said Friday he thinks Coghlan and Cameron Maybin, who hit leadoff when Coghlan was out, are "interchangeable" at the top of the Marlins lineup. 

Maybin is pretty good in the leadoff spot. He's a career .304 hitter in 46 at-bats with three stolen bases, five walks and .373 on-base percentage. Maybin also is a .325 hitter in the No. 2 hole, with nine doubles, 7 RBI and a .367 on-base percentage.

"I think before it's all said and done, he could hit in the middle of the lineup," Gonzalez said of Maybin. "He's got some power that's going to develop late. I don't see him like a [Astros outfielder] Willy Tavares type guy. He's a guy who chops the ball and runs. [Maybin] is a guy that can juice the ball."

April 16, 2010

Lamb gets start vs. Halladay; Coghlan still out

PHILADELPHIA -- The tarp is on the field here at Citizens Bank Park and with rainy, overcast skies it looks like we could be headed toward a rain delay before the Marlins take on the Phillies and Roy Halladay.

LAMB GETS FIRST START: Left-handed hitting Mike Lamb will get the start at first base tonight in place of rookie Gaby Sanchez. Lamb is getting the start in part because he's faced the Cy Young award winner a little more than the rest of his teammates. Lamb is actually 2 for 11 against Halladay with three strikeouts, but has the second most at-bats against him of any Marlin. Jorge Cantu (2-for-13 vs. Halladay) has seen him more than anybody else in the Marlins clubhouse.

"It's not an easy bull when you talk about bull rides," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Lamb's assignment and first start of the season. "I got all the confidence he's going to give me good at-bats."

Gonzalez said he needs to do a better job getting his bench players at bats. But if you look at the stats, he's doing a pretty good job. Through 10 games, other than Ronny Paulino and John Baker who platoon at catcher (and not counting Brett Carroll who is playing for the injured Chris Coghlan), the Marlins bench has collectively had 16 at-bats. Wes Helms leads the way with nine, followed by Lamb (5) and Brian Barden (2). The trio has combined to go 7 for 16 (.363) in pinch hit situations. Both stats lead baseball.

"You can't ask your pinch hitters to go up there in the ninth inning and get an at-bat when they haven't gotten a start in two weeks," said Gonzalez, who hinted Helms would like get a start this weekend. "You have to use your bench, because if not, it's not going to be any good."

COGHLAN STILL OUT: As expected, Chris Coghlan (out since Wednesday with soreness on his left rib area) took batting practice early Friday. But he's still not in the lineup. Coghlan said his goal is to play Saturday.

"He's moving around a lot better," Gonzalez said. "I think he could pinch run. I think he could probably play defense. I'm going to say he's available to pinch hit if it doesn't stiffen up between now and the game. He's progressing well."

Coghlan said he still feels a sharp pinch in his back as he follows through on his swings. But his plan is to play with some discomfort.

"I'm not going to be 100 percent," Coghlan said. "I just need to be as close as I can be. There's probably going to be a day where I'm not going to feel it anymore. But I'm going to be sore. There's a difference between sore and stiff and feeling discomfort and injury discomfort. I know I'm going to be sore and stiff whenever I come back. I just have to make sure it's just that."

Coghlan injured himself making a diving catch against the Reds in an extra-inning loss Tuesday. He's is five for 38 (.132) at the plate through eight games and has just one hit in his last 19 at-bats.

VERAS CLEARS WAIVERS: The Marlins will get to hold onto relief pitcher Jose Veras after all. The 29-year old right-hander, designated for assignment Wednesday after four dismal relief appearances produced a 15.23 ERA, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple A New Orleans.

"I'm glad he cleared waivers and stayed in the organization," Gonzalez said. "Guys could go away and the next thing you know you have the [low Single A Greensboro] Grasshoppers up here pitching. He'll be back up here I'm sure, whether it's injury or [someone] not performing."

FRIDAY NIGHT LINEUP VS. PHILLIES: 1. Cameron Maybin, CF; 2. John Baker C; 3. Hanley Ramirez SS; 4. Jorge Cantu 3B; 5. Dan Uggla 2B; 6. Cody Ross RF; 7. Mike Lamb 1B; 8. Brett Carroll LF; 9. Anibal Sanchez P.

April 15, 2010

Baseball Analyst Not Impressed with Cantu's RBI Streak; Coghlan Still Out

    Keith Law was at Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday when Jorge Cantu went deep off Cincinnati's Homer Bailey in the fifth inning. But Law was momentarily occupied and missed the blow that put Cantu in the record books for having the longest streak of games with an RBI to start a season: nine.

    "I'm devastated," Law said mockingly.

 Law, senior baseball analyst for Scouts, Inc., regular columnist for ESPN.com, and a former special assistant to the general manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, is not in awe of Cantu's major league record RBI mark. Far from it. It has nothing to do with Cantu, whom Law dismisses as "below average" offensively and defensively for a corner infielder -- "a trade or non-tender waiting to happen" -- and everything to do with his utter abhorrence of the RBI as a statistic.Cantu

   "It doesn't really tell us anything useful about the player's performance, that's the bottom line for me," said Law, who argues that RBI, pitching wins and saves are the three most overvalued statistics in baseball. "I still look at the stats. But the RBI column, I just will not be there. About the most useful thing it tells you is how much a guy plays -- the more you play, the more RBI you have -- and it tells you how often the guy in front of him gets on base. Of course, if you want to know how often a guy gets on base, just look at their on-base percentage."

     Law said the "bellweather" in the RBI debate is former major leaguer Joe Carter, who drove in 115 runs for the 1990 Blue Jays. But Carter was substandard in just about every other regard. He posted a miserable on-base percentage of .290, which was one of the 10 worst figures in the majors that season, and an equally lousy OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .681.

   "If you look at RBI, you think he had a great year," Law said. "But if you look at the statistics, he didn't have a great season. It was very ugly. But he played in 162 games."

   It has been often said that Cantu has a "knack" for driving in runs, reasoning that Law also finds fault with.

    "You slap anybody who says that," Law said. "It is stupid. That whole thing just has to die. You know, the implication when somebody says that is when nobody is on base, this guy takes off for the at bat. I don't think we've ever encountered a player who is consistently better with runners in scoring position. It's true of almost every player."

   Case in point is Cantu, who is a career .278 hitter overall. Cantu's career average with runners in scoring position: .285.

   Cantu hasn't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball during his RBI streak, which actually started late last season. During the current 13-game stretch in which Cantu has had at least one RBI, he's gone 18 for 52 at the plate, a solid but not otherworldly .346 average.

    "What's more important? RBI or runs scored?," Law asked. "If you were going to focus on either of these things, the runs scored stat would be more valuable. The hardest thing is to get on base. You can knock in a run with an out.

    "With Cantu's streak, what if he goes 5 for 5 and nobody was on base? If that's how a streak can end, where the hitter does everything but hit a home run and the other hitters didn't get on base for him, then the streak is worthless. It's all about context."

    I mentioned to Law that Cantu is closing in on the major league record for consecutive games with an RBI: 17. The record was set in 1922 by Ray Grimes Sr. of the Chicago Cubs.

    "I hate to sort of couch it in popular terms," Law said. "But the fact I've never heard of the guy you just mentioned doesn't speak very highly of the importance of the record."

    Some Marlins take extreme exception to the thinking that the RBI is overrated.

    "I think it's the most important statistic," said former Marlin Jeff Conine, who is now a special assistant to president David Samson.

    Said bench coach Carlos Tosca: "This ain't math. This is baseball."

    Coghlan Remains Out of Lineup

  Brett Carroll is back in left field tonight for Chris Coghlan, who sat out last night's game with soreness in his left side.

Coghlan said he could return to the lineup on Friday under a "best-case scenario."

-- Reliever Brian Sanches will pitch live batting practice in Jupiter on Friday and make his first rehab appearance on Monday for the Hammerheads. If all goes well, he said he expects to be activated from the DL on April 26 when the Marlins return from their nine-game road trip. 

    Marlins: 1. Cameron Maybin, cf; 2. John Baker, c; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, rf; 7. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 8. Brett Carroll, lf; 9. Josh Johnson, p.

April 14, 2010

Slumping Coghlan Sits With Sore Left Side

  Chris Coghlan will start tonight's game on the Marlins bench with a .132 batting average and a sore left side, the result of his sensational 11th inning catch on Tuesday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Coghlan is sitting because of the injury, not because of his hitting slump, and expects him to be back in the lineup as early as Thursday.

  "He kind of landed a little awkward on his side," Gonzalez said of Coghlan, who made a diving catch on the warning track to rob the Reds' Orlando Cabrera. "I didn't have the lineup up until late, waiting for him (to arrive to the ballpark on Wednesday). He goes, 'Well, I'm glad you took it out of my hands because I'm pretty sore.' The last at bat, a couple of swings he took, he kind of grimaced. He landed pretty hard out there on the warning track."

  With Coghlan out, Gonzalez shuffled his lineup. Brett Carroll was reinstated from the disabled list, will start in left field and bat eighth. Cameron Maybin will lead off. To create room for Carroll, the Marlins optioned Emilio Bonifacio to Triple A New Orleans.

    "He needs to play," Gonzalez said of Bonifacio, who had been limited to only three plate appearances through the first eight games. "It can't be good vfor a young player to sit around the dugout and get three at bats."

 Carroll, who landed on the DL toward the end of spring training with an oblique strain, provides the Marlins with a natural outfielder, something that Bonifacio wasn't. The Marlins also made two other moves, calling up right-handed reliever Chris Leroux from New Orleans and designating reliever Jose Veras for assignment.

    "If this wasn't game (nine) I'm sure I'd be out there playing," Coghlan said of his injury, which is located on his left side below his ribs. "(Gonzalez) just told me I should take a day and we'll evaluate it tomorrow. You don't want to come out. It's a bummer whenever you kind of get banged up a little bit and stay out of the game. You want to be out there competing with the guys."

    Coghlan said he doesn't not consider the day off a "mental break" from his hitting woes. Coghlan, the National League Rookie of the Year last season and the league's sixth leading hitter with a .321 average, is off to a terrible start at the plate. His .132 average is sixth-lowest in the majors among players with at least 30 at bats and his .175 on-base percentage ranks lowest in the majors among regulars. Last season, Coghlan had the second-highest on-base percentage among all major league leadoff hitters.

    "I feel fine mentally," Coghlan said. "It's game (nine). I don't know how many times I've got to say that. I guess until I start doing well, then I won't have to answer that question."

    Coghlan, who said he impacted the rubber warning track pretty hard when he made the catch, planned to have the injury examined by a doctor later on Wednesday.

 "I'm surprised I didn't just stick," Coghlan said. "But I went all the way to the fence. It burns. I burned my arm."

    Tonight's Lineup:

    Marlins: 1. Cameron Maybin, cf; 2. John Baker, c; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, rf; 7. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 8. Brett Carroll, lf; 9. Chris Volstad, p.

    Reds: 1. Chris Dickerson, cf; 2. Paul Janish, ss; 3. Joey Votto, 1b; 4. Brandon Phillips, 2b; 5. Scott Rolen, 3b; 6. Jay Bruce, rf; 7. Jonny Gomes, lf; 8. Ramon Hernandez, c; 9. Homer Bailey, p.

Jose Veras, Emilio Bonifacio Out; Chris Leroux, Brett Carroll In

    The Marlins designated reliever Jose Veras for assignment on Wednesday and called up right-handed reliever Chris Leroux. No surprise there considering Veras has not performed, giving up at least one run in each of his four outings and toting a 15.43 ERA.

   But the Marlins didn't stop there. They optioned Emilio Bonifacio to Triple A New Orleans and reinstated outfielder Brett Carroll from the disabled list. Bonifacio, the Marlins' Opening Day third baseman last season, has been used sparingly so far, going hitless in three plate appearances.

    Carroll landed on the DL during spring training with a strained oblique. Leroux has made two relief appearances for N.O., allowing no runs on one hit and striking out two. Carroll supplies the Marlins with a bonafide fourth outfielder.

    Veras was the surviving member of the Marlins annual scavenger hunt for cheap bullpen help. The others -- Seth McClung, Mike MacDougal and Derrick Turnbow -- didn't make it out of spring training. 

Nate Robertson Wowed by Marlins' Grit; Team Brass Holds Closed-Door Meeting Following Loss

   Another comeback, another loss by the Marlins on Tuesday. That makes two nights in a row the Marlins have made comebacks only to go down to defeat in extra innings to the Cincinnati Reds. And even though he pitched poorly, Nate Robertson walked away impressed with the never-say-die attitude he's noticed since joining the Marlins at the tail end of spring training.

   "They told me 'Get used to it. It's how it works around here,'" Robertson said.

   Robertson played on some strong Tigers teams in Detroit, but said he has "never seen anything like" the resolve on the Marlins to keep battling.

    "It's a heckuva team, coming back night after night," Robertson said. "So it's fun to watch. Sure, you would like to get in position where we don't have to make those late comebacks. You'd kind of like to win the traditional way sometimes, too. You know, hold the other team down, and you make some defensive plays and the bullpen holds."

 Of the Marlins eight games, six have been decided by two runs or less. The Marlins have also played three extra-inning games, most in the NL.

As for his pitching performance on Tuesday, Robertson said his slider wasn't working. He gave up home runs to Jonny Gomes and Ryan Hanigan, and nearly gave up another to Jay Bruce on a ball that umpires -- after reviewing replays -- determined had curled foul.

    Slumping Chris Coghlan Makes Sensational Catch

    He hasn't done much with his bat. By going 0 for 5 on Tuesday, Chris Coghlan's average dipped to .132. But the reigning NL Rookie of the Year made a significant contribution in the field with his diving catch on the warning track in the top of the 11th. He robbed Orlando Cabrera of extra bases and, in the words of third baseman Jorge Cantu, almost "saved" the inning for the Marlins.

Said Coghlan: "When you look back on it, you have to do something to help the team win. Obviously, right now, I'm not being as consistent as I can be offensively."

  Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he thinks that Coghlan is "close" to getting on track at the plate.

  "He is real close for me, swinging the bat," Gonzalez said.

  Closed-Door Meeting

  Gonzalez huddled with Marlins front office executives, including owner Jeffrey Loria, inside the manager's office for a lengthy period following Tuesday's loss, presumably to discuss personnel. If roster moves are made, the bullpen is the likely starting point. Jose Veras had another rough outing on Tuesday, giving up two runs in the top of the eighth. Veras' ERA now staqnds at 15.43 and he has given up at least one run in each of his four outings. Dan Meyer, who took the loss, has a 7.71 ERA.   

April 13, 2010

Cantu Setting RBI Marks

Jorge Cantu is currently riding a team-record 11-game streak with at least one RBI and will be chasing another record tonight when the Marlins face the Reds.

Cantu's club mark goes back to last season when he drove in at least one run in each of his final four games. He's had at least one hit and one RBI in each of the team's first seven games this season, putting him within one more game of equaling the major league mark to start the season.

Willie McCovey in 1969 and George Kelly in 1921 also had at least one hit and one RBI in eight straight games to start a season.

 The previous consecutive-game RBI record by any Marlin belonged to Hanley Ramirez, who drove in runs in 10 straight games last season.

  "I've seen the same guy I've seen for two years, and hopefully it continues," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Cantu. "He never gives at bats away."


    Curt Petersen, a Marlins minor-leaguer at Single A Greensboro, thwarted a robbey attempt last week, according to the Greensboro (N.C.) News-Record.

    Petersen, a pitcher, was a fourth-round draft pick for the Marlins in 2008.

    "I just went to the Walmart for toilet paper, and then all this happens," Petersen told the newspaper.


    Tonight's LIneups:

    Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Cameron Maybin, cf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Ronny Paulino, c; 7. Cody Ross, rf; 8. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 9. Nate Robertson, p.

    Reds: 1. Drew Stubbs, cf; 2. Orlando Cabrera, ss; 3. Joey Votto, 1b; 4. Brandon Phillips, 2b; 5. Scott Rolen, 3b; 6. Jonny Gomes, lf; 7. Jay Bruce, rf; 8. Ryan Hanigan, c; 9. Bronson Arroyo, p.


Cody Ross: "I think I swung at ball four"

Just got back upstairs after the Marlins played their third straight thriller. This time, though, there was no magic finish. Just a few wasted opportunities. 

Cody Ross Both Ronny Paulino and had chances to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. Paulino swung and missed at a sinker in the dirt from Reds reliever Nick Masset. Ross grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch, then admitted to us after the game he swung at ball four.

"That guy has good stuff," Ross said of Masset. "You have to give him credit. I had him where I wanted him, 2-0 and then 2-1. After that, it was just a battle. 

"[The pitch] was probably down, a tough pitch to take, a sinker that was pretty good. I went and watched the video and it was obviously down."

Ross' situation might seem like a dream situation for young baseball players everywhere. Tie game, bases loaded, two outs, full count. But when you're trying to win your third tough game in a row, it's not ideal and Ross admitted it.

"When you're a kid that's your dream," Ross said. "But when you're up here it's more 3-2, zero outs. Two outs, you have to come up with a big hit. When you have no outs, you can just hit a fly ball. It was a tough loss for us. But we'll bounce back. We bounced back today. They were up, we were down. Hopefully, though, we can get an easy one tomorrow."

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez agrees. The season is only seven games in. But playing thrillers every night can take their toll on teams, especially when you are constantly trying to rally. 

"We can't play catch up every night," Gonzalez said. "We have to go out there and throw some zeroes up, keep swinging the bats. I've been real happy with that. [Cameron] Maybin had a couple hits today. Jorge [Cantu] keeps swinging it. Hanley [Ramirez]. Dan Uggla is swinging, hitting the ball hard. I liked the bullpen with [Leo] Nunez and [Clay] Hensley. Both those guys pitched well. We just needed to push that runner across [in the ninth].

"You've seen it before. You don't take advantage of that opportunity and the next inning they score a run."

> Ricky Nolasco obviously had a tough night. The Reds smacked three homers off him and produced nine hits and five earned runs during his 92-pitches and six innings. But Gonzalez didn't think he was terrible.

"I thought he pitched well enough," Gonzalez said. "He kept us in the game. Is he better than that? Absolutely. But he kept us in the ball game."

Nolasco said the Reds "made good swings" on a "couple good pitches." "You just have to tip you're hat," Nolasco said. "[Scott Rolen] did a nice job taking it the other way [for the first home run]. The other [home run] was a hanging curveball."

April 12, 2010

Is there reason to worry about Coghlan's slow start?

One of the best stories of the 2009 Marlins season was how left fielder Chris Coghlan basically came out of nowhere to become one of the best rookie hitters baseball has ever seen.

Chris Coghlan

Coghlan led the majors with 47 hits in the month of September and won the NL Rookie of the Year award after finishing the season with a .321 average.

But in the Marlins first six games this season, Coghlan is hitting a mere .185 with five singles in 27 at-bats. More concerning, perhaps, are his nine strikeouts to just one walk. So, is Coghlan headed toward a sophomore slump? Manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Sunday's win over the Dodgers he isn't worried one bit about Coghlan because he has a history of slow starts.

Gonzalez is right. Coghlan started his rookie season with the Marlins 6 for 42 (.143 average) with four runs, 11 strikeouts and seven walks in his first 15 games. It wasn't until after May 23rd, that Coghlan found his stroke. By the end of June, Coghlan was hitting .262 with a .362 on base percentage.

Coghlan said Friday one thing pitchers are doing differently with him this year is that "they're nibbling more."

"I think that's something that over time when you prove you can hit, they're going to nibble, they're going to see if you're going to get yourself out," Coghlan said. "I've gotten myself out a couple times so far. That's the adjustment I need to make."

MARLINS LINEUP FOR GAME 1 VS. REDS: 1. Chris Coghlan LF; 2. Cameron Maybin CF; 3. Hanley Ramirez SS; 4. Jorge Cantu 3B; 5. Dan Uggla 2B; 6. John Baker C; 7. Cody Ross RF; 8. Gaby Sanchez 1B; 9. Ricky Nolasco P.