A tired Marlins bullpen will be looking for a huge assist from Anibal Sanchez tonight.
Although it's been a fun week for the Marlins, it's also been a bit of a taxing one for the guys who sit and wait for the phone call down the right field line. With starters failing to go very deep into games lately, the Marlins have been calling down to the pen plenty.
Friday, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez used five relievers to eat up the final 4 2/3 innings and held closer Leo Nunez out to give him a breather. Tonight, Jose Veras will get a break.
"This homestand, since we came back from the All-Star Game, the bullpen has been overloaded with work," Rodriguez said. "That showed last night. Hopefully, Anibal Sanchez can give us at least six strong innings today."
> As expected, Chris Volstad will start Sunday for the Marlins. Rodriguez had been holding off on making the decision final because he wanted to see how Volstad felt after throwing 70 pitches in a Triple A start on Wednesday. Rodriguez said all he is hoping to get out of Volstad is five to six innings, thus the importance for the Marlins pen to stay fresh.
Sent down to the minors for some tweaking for the second year in a row, Volstad was 4-8 with a 4.78 ERA this season when he was sent down on July 6. In that last start against the Dodgers, he gave up five earned runs on five hits (two homers) and he also walked three. Volstad hasn't won a decision since he beat the Rays on June 13 in Tampa. In three starts in New Orleans, he went 1-0 with a 3.17 ERA with nine walks and 13 strikeouts.
"He has to command his pitches -- sinker, fastball, slider and changeup -- better," Rodriguez said. "He was pitching behind in the count when he was here. He went to New Orleans and worked with the pitching coach there, Scott Mitchell. I think that's what they were trying to do. I don't know if it was a mechanical issue or more of a mental approach, but hopefully he'll get here tomorrow and attack the hitters more."
The Marlins will announce the move after Saturday's game.
> Hanley Ramirez still hasn't shaken himself out of his funk at the plate, but at least he's beginning to carry his weight more with his glove. Friday night, he made three impressive defensive plays, one made the eighth best play on SportsCenter's Top 10.
"He needs to realize we need his offense, but we also need him on the field making plays," Rodriguez said. "I really feel like he kept us in the game with those big plays he made last night. As long as he understands we need the offense and we also need him to be a two-dimensional player, we'll be OK."