BALTIMORE -- Lot of interesting story lines as we leave Camden Yards. The obvious ones involve the manager. But when it comes to the team, I think the biggest development was that Ricky Nolasco probably saved himself from another trip down to the minors.
The 26-year old right-hander was getting pounded in the second inning Wednesday by the Orioles, who lit him up for four runs on six hits (including two home runs). Interim manager Edwin Rodriguez, who had 21-year old reliever Alex Sanabia warming up in the bullpen, admitted afterward he was "really close" to pulling Nolasco before he recovered.
"He was struggling with his breaking ball," Rodriguez said. "But then after he made an adjustment, he was mixing his pitches much better."
I think it is fair to wonder if Fredi Gonzalez had still been managing if Nolasco would have been given such a long leash. Nolasco, of course, rewarded Rodriguez's faith by giving up just two hits over the next five innings and got the win to end a two-game losing streak and improve to 6-6 on the season.
But had Nolasco not recovered, he probably would have lost his third straight start -- and with the way management has talking these days -- been sent down to the minors like he was a year ago to work out his struggles.
Nolasco ended up throwing a season-high 119 pitches Wednesday, of a which a season-high 77 went for strikes. Nolasco said high pitch counts don't bother him at all. "I don't mind getting run out there quite like that," Nolasco said. "I feel like I respond well and do what I have to do in five days to be 100 percent. I enjoy being out there."
SANCHEZ ON FIRE... I asked Gaby Sanchez before Thursday's game if he was going to miss facing American League pitchers. He smiled then shot my theory out of the water.
"I'm just feeling good right now, seeing the ball well, feeling comfortable at the plate," Sanchez said. "I don't feel like its like American League or National League. It's just something that happens. You get into a little groove. I'm feeling good right now."
Sanchez should. With his 3 for 3 effort Thursday night he raised his season average .307, second-best on the team behind Ronny Paulino (.308). He should also acknowledge the fact he feasted on the AL. He went 23 for 67 (.429) in interleague play with a team-leading 15 RBI and 12 runs scored (second only to Chris Coghlan).
Rodriguez, who managed Sanchez in Triple A, said he sees an entirely different player, one he thinks will be with the Marlins for a long time. "The first thing you can see with Gaby Sanchez, the difference, is the way he's been working his body," Rodriguez said. "The talent has always been there. But now, he's taking care of himself more. His body fat went down. His body control, burst strength, endurance, you can see that. He's been very consistent on the field."
WEST, MORRISON UPDATES... The Marlins are obviously going to have to tinker some more with their roster if they hope to become a real playoff contender. The question is what will they do?
Rodriguez shed some light on how two of the top prospects in the organization are doing down in Triple A: left-hander Sean West and first baseman Logan Morrison.
I tweeted this earlier, but according to Rodriguez, Morrison is now playing left field "four days a week." Makes you wonder if the Marlins are shopping him for other teams in attempt to bolster the bullpen, or if they're planning on trading a guy like Cody Ross and asking Coghlan to move to center.
"Offensively, I think he's ready for the big leagues," Rodriguez said of Morrision. "Now, it's a matter of finding him a position because it looks like Gaby is going to be there for a long time."
As for West, Rodriguez thinks he'll be ready for a return to the majors soon. "I saw him down in New Orleans," Rodriguez said. "He's been up five times. I think it's a matter of time. Whenever we need him, I think he's ready to come. I think his last start he was in Memphis, his first two innings the pitch count was up, then he made some adjustments and threw six innings, 99 pitches. Overall, his command has been good."