The Marlins and Giants will kickoff a three-game series tonight at Sun Life Stadium. The story line is pretty simple: Can the Marlins hit the studs San Francisco will be throwing out on the mound?
Back-to-back Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum (4-0, 1.27 ERA) gets the ball tonight. Then, 2002 Cy Young winner Barry Zito (4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 5 career starts versus the Marlins) pitches for San Fran on Wednesday. Matt Cain (1-1, 2.84 ERA) goes Thursday.
The Marlins, one of the best offensive teams in the game, are going in with a confident attitude. "I think if you get caught up with the names and the hype, it only makes it a little more difficult," Marlins catcher John Baker said. "The guy is already good enough without having to give him an enormous amount of credit... we're just going to go out and play our game."
Florida does lead baseball with a .320 average when runners are on base and hit .286 (fifth-best) when runners are in scoring position.
"We have to find some holes," manager Fredi Gonzalez said Tuesday. "[Anibal] Sanchez and the guys that are pitching -- [Nate] Robertson and Ricky [Nolasco] -- have to match zeroes. It's going to be a fun series. If we don't make mistakes defensively, add on runs late, we can win. It's pretty simple."
The Marlins are 0-2 this season when facing former Cy Young winners. They lost to Johan Santana in the season opener, producing just one earned run on four hits over six innings while walking twice and striking out five times. Roy Halladay then shut them down for eight innings for the Phillies on April 16th, scattering eight hits and giving up just two earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks before the Marlins mounted a late rally against Philly's bullpen and lost 8-6.
Last year, though, the Marlins actually went 6-2 the eight times they faced former Cy Young winners. The key wasn't necessarily pounding the star pitcher, but getting to his bullpen.
Marlins '09 vs. Cy Young winners
> April 12: vs. Johan Santana, Mets lost 2-1. Santana charged with loss. 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 Ks, 26 ABs
> April 29: vs. Johan Santana, Mets lost 4-3. Santana was given a no decision. 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 26 ABs
> June 5: vs. Barry Zito, Giants won 2-1. Zito earned the win. 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 19 ABs
> June 7: vs. Tim Lincecum, Giants won 3-2. Lincecum earned the win. 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 24 ABs
> June 8: vs. Randy Johnson, Giants lost 4-0. Johnson charged with loss. 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 22 ABs
> June 9: vs. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals lost 4-3. Carpenter received ND. 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 23 ABs
> June 12: vs. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays lost 7-3. Halladay received ND. 3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks 12 ABs
> June 21: vs. CC Sabathaia, Yankees lost 6-5. Sabathia received ND. 1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 ABs
HENSLEY RETURNS; WOOD SENT DOWN: Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it was "a tough decision" sending reliever Tim Wood down to Triple A New Orleans on Tuesday to make room for Clay Hensley, who was reinstated from the bereavement list.
Hensley left the team Friday after learning his father had died. With services still not set and authorities still trying to determine his cause of death, Hensley said he remained in town.
“We kind of lost touch over the last couple of years,” Hensley of his father, who was 60 and died in Jacksonville, Texas. "We spoke over the holidays and stuff. We didn't spend a lot of time together the last couple years. I was on the West Coast and he was in Texas. It's difficult no matter what. Being a new dad now, it hits a little closer."
Hensley threw three scoreless innings in relief, striking out seven, on Friday before learning about his father’s death. He has struck out 13 over five innings in his last two outings.
“I think I’ll feel better playing,” he said. “Sitting around the house, it’s probably just a little better for me to be here.”
Left-hander Hunter Jones of Palm Beach Gardens was called up when Hensley left the team Friday. He threw walked the only batter he faced Sunday on four pitches before Gonzalez removed him from the game. Gonzalez said he thought Jones, who was 0-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts in Triple A, was a little too amped up.
“We feel like we need to get that left-handed situation in the bullpen [settled]," Gonzalez said. "I like to carry two guys. We want to give Hunter Jones the opportunity to be that second guy until Danny [Meyer] comes back. That's the thing about opportunities. You get one, you don't want it to get it to waste.”
Meyer, who has been on the disabled list with a left calf strain since April 26, has pitched two scoreless innings in Single A Jupiter during his rehab assignment. He has four strikeouts and one walk in two games. He was 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA with four walks and two strikeouts in six games with the Marlins before he was placed on the disabled list.
TASED AND CONFUSED: In case you missed it, a Philadelphia police officer Tasered a 17-year old high school senior during Monday night's Phillies game when the boy ran onto the field and proved hard to catch.
The Marlins, who were off Monday, saw the highlights of the chase and most had no problem with the way security reacted.
"What if you're at a really nice restaurant and somebody came in knocking plates over and causing a big scene? Police would show up and I think the same thing would happen," catcher John Baker said.
"It's not a difficult set of rules to follow. They're the kind of rules you learn when your a little kid. When somebody says don't run on the field, don't run on the field. When somebody says don't cuss in front of a little kid, don't cuss in front of a little kid. I know they have some problems in Philadelphia because they have rowdy fans. Well, don't throw up on a police officer on purpose. These are not difficult rules to follow. If you break the rules, there are going to be consequences and that's what we learned here. Somebody broke the rules and the police responded with how they felt was appropriate."