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Singing the Bullpen Blues


   Forbes magazine released its annual report on Wednesday that showed the Marlins having the highest profit margin of any team in the majors last season. But the team elected to spend nary a dime on the bullpen over the winter, and Wednesday it showed.

  The conglomerate of Renyel Pinto, Jose Veras and Leo Nunez combined to cough up three Mets runs on three hits, six walks, and a balk in a matter of 2 2/3 innings, allowing a 6-1 lead in the seventh to disintegrate into a 10-inning nailbiter that the Marlins finally managed to win.

   "We're lucky we didn't lose the game today," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. "It was the second game of the year and it feels like 140 after that one. We preach late in the game we can't walk people. We can't do that because we're going to get our heads beat in."

  Over the winter, the Marlins traded Matt Lindstrom to the Houston Astros for a couple of low-level minor leaguers and a Rule 5 pick -- Jorge Jiminez -- who failed to stick and was returned to his original club, the Boston Red Sox. They chose not to re-sign Kiko Calero, who is starting the season in the Mets farm system. They also chose not to re-sign Brendan Donnelly, who landed with the Pirates.

   They signed a handful of relievers to minor-league deals as non-roster invites to spring training, hoping somebody would emerge. Mike MacDougal didn't make it. Derrick Turnbow didn't make it. Seth McClung didn't make it. Veras did, but the former Yankees reliever was all over the place on Wednesday, as were Pinto and Nunez. Those three relievers delivered 82 pitches, only 40 of which were strikes.

   "We tried to get the job done," Veras said. "We tried to shut the door. We're going to get it. We're going to get it quickly.

    Only Tim Wood, who entered in the 10th after the Marlins regained the lead on Ronny Paulino's pinch-hit single, was able to locate the strike zone, throwing 10 of his 15 pitches for strikes, providing a 1-2-3 ending for his first major league save.

    "Me and (bullpen coach Reid Cornelius) talked before I went out to the mound," Wood said. "He said 'Just pound the zone.' The whole way I was running out to the mound, I kept telling myself, 'Pound the zone. Pound the zone.' These big-league hitters, if you're not around the zone, they're gonna spit on that stuff. They're going to spit at it, not swing at it."

   If Wednesday's performance by the Marlins bullpen is any indication, it could be a very long season.

Comments

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Glags

Not sure what pile Samson was talking about. Maybe he was referring to the bullpen.

FireFrediNowPleaseHesucksatlife

Once again, like it has been proven to him and the world that this strategy doesnt work, Fredi's bullpen moves based on matchups almost killed the game for us I was almost hoping we would lose this game so that the hot-seat would get even hotter for him because god knows we are not going anywhere with him - Sad thing is, if he gets fired they might give Tosca the job and he is not too far from being another Fredi Gonzalez we shouldve hired Bobby V when we had the chance

Jesse

Nolasco's great effort goes down the toilet because of the bullpen meltdown. I wondered where last year's pen went. Now I know.

MarlinFan

Can we get someone to throw strikes. I see Pinto and Nunez haven't changed.

brg

Kiko Calero, why would the Marlins want to resign last years best bullpen pitcher?

James

in fairness to the pen...and as frustrating as it was to watch last night...they were getting squeezed tremendously, as did nolasco in the 2 batters he walked before leaving...these guys sans veras were around the strikezone all night but couldnt buy a call

oh...and then there was the phantom balk call...the umps were doing everything possible to give the mets the game and we still won...feel good about that

James

BRG, kiko isnt back because he wanted a two year deal and his arm is hanging on to his shoulder by a few threads...why do you think he got a minor league deal and had to beg to get that?

CKep04

They need to get rid of Pinto, he changes everything in the game and that includes momentum. He walks people first and then pitches right over the plate. He is our worst pitcher, everybody else will get better, but he hasn't.

K-Man

How can you blame Fredi for low quality pen? He has nothing to do with who he is given. He has done an excellent job with the team. Granted he makes mistakes, but what coach doesnt. It is a numbers game

Corey

Everyone needs to relax! Let's talk about the bullpen after we play more than 10 games. Anything can happen during the first week of the season. Let's be honest the Pirates are 2-0 yes the Pirates. Remember how great the Royals were last April....yeah they finished the season real well.

I understand how poorly the bullpen performed, but let's see if they can work it out over the next few games.

thejuandiggler

How can you tell me that Vanden Hurk, A Miller arent better options i nthe bullpen then Veras, and Pinto ????????
None of those guys are gonna be starters in the long term. Face it. Just call them up to be permanent relievers.
If we dont make playoffs it will simply rest on the miss-handling of the bullpen.

Pinto saaaaaaaaaacks ! How long does it take to get that through your skull Fredi/Beinfest !

Glags

For a team that had a little over 20 blown saves year, I hoped against all hope that the bullpen/closer roles would be their focus in the off season; and it was. I guess this it what happens when u try to recruit has beens or never will be's. I have always said we are a closer away from being a true contender. If u reduce the number of blown saves by half, we could have taken the phillies last year. Two games into the season our defense and bullpen scare me. Two games four errors is unacceptable at this level.

FireFrediNowPleaseHesucksatlife

Fredi is to blame because it is his job to know who has the hot-hand, who to go to and not to but he is too focused on matchups and stats as he has been since his first year as manager and that strategy continues to fail. I will root long and hard for the success of this team but if starting off horribly will get Fredi fired then so be it. It is for the better of this franchise now and in the future.

harryinhollywood

Fredi's gone by June 1st- he overmanages too many games after the 6th inning

Remember97&03

Pinto sucks his performance is unsatisfactory if he was working anywhere else he would have been fired he would have been fired from pollo tropical

James

you guys who are saying fredi is going to be fired are crazy...and what 1 walk last night with a fine outing by all 3 pitchers? hey i know people are lemmings but lets not all jump off that cliff quite yet...fire fredi...you can be the first to jump

MarlinFan

They just gave up the lead again. We will NOT make the playoffs with these middle relievers. The only one who is stopping people is Bradenhop.

MarlinFan

Veras SUCKS. Another run given up.

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