It’s no secret the Marlins have struggled at home this year, posting a 24-39 record in their last year at Sun Life Stadium. But why have the Fish been so bad in their not-so-friendly confines?
“There’s no reason. It’s not the fans. It’s not the park. It’s not the heat,” veteran infielder Wes Helms said. “Whatever excuse somebody can come up with, I can come back with, ‘You know what, the visiting team has to play here too.’ So there’s no rhyme or reason to it. We just stink here. And that’s the bottom line.”
But Cody Ross, who spent parts of five seasons with Florida and returned to Sun Life Stadium for the first time on Friday since the Giants claimed him off waivers last August, offered an interesting perspective, commenting on the challenges of playing in “some of the worst conditions” in the big leagues.
“Here, it’s tough. It really is a grind every day. People say, ‘Oh, you’re playing Major League baseball, how could it be so difficult?’” Ross said. “First of all, you’re playing in a football stadium. Which I was just thinking about earlier today, this is a beautiful stadium. As a football stadium, the place is packed. It’s awesome.
“But not for baseball. It’s not good. Even when you get a good crowd of 25,000 people, it looks like there’s nothing in the stands. Not to mention the weather, rain delays and the humidity. It just takes a lot out of guys, day in and day out. I can remember I couldn’t wait to go on the road.
Such seems to be the case for the Marlins, who have compiled a 31-23 record away from Sun Life Stadium. Logan Morrison offered a third explanation to the same question Wednesday night after the Fish lost their seventh straight game in South Florida, saying it was the quality opponents the team has faced; for example, the Marlins were swept by St. Louis and Atlanta, and they opened a three-game set with San Francisco on Friday — all at home.
But Ross, who said he knows some Florida fans by name, appreciates the difficulties facing both players and spectators.
“I remember back in 2007, maybe it was July or August,” Ross said. “We had come off of a good roadtrip, and we were a couple games back. I was thinking, ‘Man, we have a chance to get some fans when we get out here.’ And it was crickets. I understand. If I was a fan, it would be tough for me to come to games here too, because you don’t know what kind of whether you’re going to get, you don’t know if you’re going to have rain delays. Stuff like that. But the ones that do come, I can say they’re die hard. They love the Marlins.
“It’s tough to come to the field every day and not have the energy behind you,” Ross said. It’s crazy when I play in San Francisco and I get a base hit and the crowd roars. I had never heard that before. Here you hear a little bit, some clapping. Go on the road and get a base hit, it’s silent. So when I went to San Francisco and you get a base it, ‘Wahh!’ It’s like, what did I do? What just happened? I only got a base hit.”
- Mike Cameron, scheduled to start in center field on Friday, was a late scratch because of soreness in his right knee. "He was a little sore, so we didn’t want to take a chance," manager Jack McKeon said. "We were going to give him a day [off] tomorrow, so we just decided to give him a day today. ... His knee was a little bit sore. He goes at it pretty hard, so we figured we give him a day today."
- Javier Vazquez flew home to his native Puerto Rico earlier in the week to tend to a family medical emergency — McKeon said Vazquez’s wife had surgery but is OK — and he was originally scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start, but Vazquez rejoined the Friday and felt fine during a workout, so he will pitch as planned. "[Vazquez] has probably our most consistent guy," McKeon said. "he’s got to the point where he’s using his fastball, making them hit the ball. Once again with all the guys, in spring training they don’t get enough work. Certain guys need more work than others. And now that he’s pitching regular and doing a heckuva job, he’s not afraid of throwing those pitches. ... [Vazquez] is going to go tomorrow. He wants to pitch, so go to it. Ready to go."
- McKeon said he expects Hanley Ramirez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder sprain after Wednesday’s game retroactive to Aug. 3, to return the first day he’s eligible, Aug. 18 in San Diego. “I kind of believe he’ll play. If I can read him, it looks like he wants to play," McKeon said. "He’s the only one that can tell us if it’s still sore or what. But if it needs no activity for a few days, he’s got a chance to get that. And he’s getting worked on and getting his treatment all the time. ... He really didn’t want to go on the DL. That’s one of the reasons we kept him off, because he kept telling us he would be ready."
- Marlins’ top prospect Matt Dominguez was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury. The 21-year-old third baseman was hitting .260 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI for Triple-A New Orleans.
Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Alfredo Amezaga, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Mike Stanton, rf; 5.Greg Dobbs, 3b; 6. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 7. Bryan Petersen, cf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p
Giants: 1. Andres Torres, cf; 2. Jeff Keppinger, 2b; 3. Pablo Sandoval, 3b; 4. Aubrey Huff, 1b; 5. Cody Ross, rf; 6. Orlando Cabrera, ss; 7. Aaron Rowand, lf; 8. Eli Whiteside, c; 9. Matt Cain, p