WASHINGTON -- No Marlins player has a bigger following on Twitter than Logan Morrison, who is nearing 25,000 fans. If each of those followers do what LoMo asks of them over the next two months, then Gaby Sanchez might have a real good shot at getting to the All-Star Game.
Before Saturday's game against the Nationals, Morrison sought out two Marlins reporters and delivered the news of his latest social media campaign: Getting fans to vote the Marlins first baseman to the All-Star the game.
Sanchez, a second-year starter, could definitely use the help considering his competition is much more well known -- take reigning MVP Joey Votto, the Phillies Ryan Howard and the Cardinals Albert Pujols to for example. But based on numbers and his defense alone, Sanchez certainly appears deserving through the first month and a half of the season..
He currently ranks second among National League first baseman in batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.420), slugging percentage (.553) and OPS (.973), trailing only Votto in those categories. He also ranks third in doubles (9) and leads all first basemen in hits (48) and total bases (78). His the Marlins team leader in homers (7) and RBI (25).
So what does Mr. Team first think of LoMo's proposed campaign? "I have to talk to him and tell him not to worry about me," Sanchez said. "It's a very nice thing for him to try to do. But I'm more worried about trying to get to the playoffs than getting me to the All-Star Game.
"It's the team. If we're not all doing well, I can't do anything. The reason I'm getting RBI is because guys are on base. The ability for me to drive in runs. That's the team being on base. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well and I'm feeling good. But it's the team. I can get a hit with no one one, you get nothing out of it."
> Marlins third base coach Joel Espada admitted Saturday he took a bit of a gamble Friday night waving Omar Infante home for what turned out to be the game-winning run, but only after Infante made a tremendous slide to avoid the tag of catcher Wilson Ramos. But if he had to do it over again, Espada said he would have considering it was so late in the game.
"I would not probably send him in the fifth or seventh inning, but the 11th inning?" Espada said. "They were not holding him on, ball hit into that corner. Werth made a great play. But I said you know what, I'm going to force these guys to make two perfect relay throws -- and they did. Credit to Omar, he made a perfect slide."
Who else would Espada have taken that chance with? "[Emilio Bonifacio], Omar, [Chris] Coghlan, and definitely Hanley [Ramirez]," he said.
> Lost amid the wildness of Friday's win was reliever Randy Choate's ability to escape a bases loaded situation with two outs and the game tied in the ninth. Choate, the Marlins left-handed specialist, came in for Burke Badenhop and was able to retired Andy LaRoche with a groundout to second.
"Not really a situation your looking for with the bases loaded up," Choate said. "But I have a lot of confidence in both my pitches right now, so it's a little easier to attack the hitter when you feel like you can throw both for strikes at any time. I was fortunate enough to get ahead of him. Once I did, he laid off a pretty good slider. I really hadn't shown him any fastballs in any of his at bats, spring training or the one back at home. So, he was a little late on the fastball and I decided to double up on him because I hadn't shown him that many. He kind of rolled over it to second. I just feel pretty good about the way I'm throwing and it makes you more comfortable when you go out there.
Choate has only pitched 6 1/3 innings in 15 appearances. But he's been extremely effective, especially lately. Since giving up his only earned run of the season on a home run to Chipper Jones in Atlanta on April 13, he's given up just two hits, none since April. And of the last 10 batters he's retired in a row, he's struckout seven.
> Greg Dobbs' game-winning double Friday was his fourth game-winning RBI this season, tops on the Marlins.
"Greg Dobbs has been doing an outstanding job for us," Rodriguez said. "He started as a left handed bat off the bench. Now he's getting more playing time. Not only on the field contributions, but also in the clubhouse and off the field. Along with Wes Helms, they're keeping this young team in order."
A collection of 10 different Marlins have delivered game-winning RBI this season. John Buck, Chris Coghlan, Omar Infante and Mike Stanton have done it three times. The Marlins are the only team in the Majors with five players to have at least three game-winning RBI.
> Omar Infante's run of hitting in the bottom of the order appears to be over. Infante, who batted second for the first 28 games of the season, is back in the two-hole Saturday. "He's swinging better, feeling more comfortable," Rodriguez said.
"I think if we want to win, that should be our lineup for the rest of the season. He's a two-hole hitter, perfect two-hole hitter."
> Marlins lineup: 1. Chris Coghlan CF, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Logan Morrison LF, 6. Mike Stanton RF, 7. Greg Dobbs 3B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Anibal Sanchez P.
> Nationals lineup: 1. Roger Bernadina CF, 2. Danny Espinosa 2B, 3. Jayson Werth RF, 4. Laynce Nix LF, 5. Adam LaRoche 1B, 6. Wilson Ramos C, 7. Jerry Hairston 3B, 8. Alex Cora SS, 9. Livan Hernandez RHP.