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If playoffs started today for Marlins, Buehrle would start Game 1 Guillen says; plus Coghlan beginning to find niche

There are still 111 games and a little more than four months left in the season, but if the playoffs started today the Marlins (29-22) would be hosting the New York Mets in a wild card game.

Mark BuehrleSo who would be on the mound for the Marlins in a winner-take-all one-game playoff? All things being equal, Ozzie Guillen said Wednesday it wouldn't be Opening Day starter Josh Johnson. Nor ERA team leader Anibal Sanchez (2.57), who ranks fourth in the NL in strikeouts (70). It wouldn't be the franchise's all-time wins leader Ricky Nolasco either. 

Guillen's guy for a must-win playoff game? Mark Buehrle.

"Nothing against my other four guys, but that's the only one I know what I'm going to get for that particular day," said Guillen of the veteran 33-year old left-hander, who won a World Series for him in 2005. 

"I've told him in the past when the bullpen is tired -- give me 7, 8, 9 innings. He'll give you everything he has," Guillen went on to say. "He's not an unbelievable athlete. But they don't give you a gold glove just because. This kid is legit. I hope everyone gives him a little bit of love. If that guy pitched for the New York Yankees, he would be an ace. He pitches for the White Sox and Marlins, who cares. He's not a first round pick who came in being a $100 million guy. He just works his ass off to put himself in a good position. He throws 84, 85, 86 and makes $100 million. There has to be a reason. You make all that money with that crap he throws, you better be good."

Buehrle, who will open a three-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia Friday, went 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in May. He held opponennts to a .235 average, down from the .274 average he allowed over his five starts in April when he went 1-4 with a 3.34 ERA.

COGHLAN FEELING RELAXED

His batting average is still an abysmal .134 (9 for 67). His on base percentage is just as bad at .174. But little by little former National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan is beginning to find a niche and valuable role with the Marlins.

Since Emilio Bonifacio went down with a sprained left thumb May 19th, Coghlan has started nine of 11 games in the outfield. And although he's hit just .152 in that span, he's played a valuable role in several big wins.

Last Friday, he belted a 3-run home run off San Francisco's Tim Lincecum and on Wednesday had a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning in the Marlins 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Nationals.

But his biggest lift has come defensively, where he's made several nice catches on the run to preserve leads. 

"Little by little he contributes to win some games," Guillen said. "I know the batting average isn't what we want. But he just started to play everyday just a couple days ago. He made a big play for us, big RBI and runs scored for us. Little by little he's doing stuff. I think he feels good about himself, helping us to win some games and that's what we need.

"We're not going to win with one or two guys. We're going to win with 25 guys. This kid started his career very well and then injuries took over and put him a little bit backwards. A few people passed him and now it's his opportunity to show us he can be an everyday player again. He's going to have times. Hopefully he takes advantage of that and opens some people's eyes, help us to win some games."

Comments

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Flav C

If production is important, Gaby is toast.

In 122 at-bats (batting 5, 6, or 7) Gaby managed to score 5 runs and 11 RBIs, with a .197 bat avg.

In almost half of Gaby's at bats (67), Coghlan managed to score more runs (7) and almost same number of RBIs (10), with a dismal bat avg of .134. Most of his at bats were in the #8 spot.

laurelbowie

Gaby's had a terrible year, but even with his dismal numbers this year, he's a career .263 hitter. That ain't setting the world on fire, but if he comes back anywhere near where he was in previous years, that's better than anything we've got from five on down right now. I'm not saying he will, I'm just saying it's not impossible for him to get back to what he was.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
You posted earlier that you have confidence that LoMo will be a big contributor for the Marlins, and I feel the same way, because of the way he plays the game. Even when he's banged up, I've never, ever seen a play when he didn't go hard — and that attitude and halfway-decent talent will take you a long way. It's easy to forgive a guy's mistakes when you know he's hustling and really cares about what he's doing out there, not just occasionally but play after play after play.

Flav C

This kid, Jose Fernandez, is on a class of its own. Grasshoppers are winning 1-0 and he went 6 innings, 4 hits, no runs...8 Ks.
Stan, your boy Keys, singled, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on another single, and scored the sole run until now on a sac fly. He does a bit of everything, it looks like.

Flav C

Stan, by the way, seems like there are more people paying attention to Brent Keys. Maybe some blogger who reads our boards :)

Take a look at this recent blog entry on Brent:

http://www.fishstripes.com/section/prospects

john

how are we winning with three players hitting under 160 plus the pitcher. we've got 4 - 9ths of the lineup hitting under 160. buck looks absolutely lost. ozzie needs to play hayes more.

Buck Blank

I really believe Ozzie can't bring himself to believe tyhe deterioration in Buck's game since he sdaw him in the AL. Buck ws never that good but never as lost as he is now. In his last 43 AB's he has one roller that found a hole and an infield hit. And I won't be convinced that the pitching staff would fall apart if someone else was behind the plate. You must realize the offensive component of getting nothing from your catcher only serves to increse the pressure on the pitcher due to the dearth of runs. Ozzie wll not let this go on much more--He can't.

Alex

Gaby will return eventually and I would not be surprised if he becomes part of a Righty/Lefty platoon at 1st base with Lomo, something I have been advocating since last year, when Gaby began his usual post All Star Game collapse. Plus Lomo was always a statue in LF and it was obvious he belonged at 1st base.

Buck is a problem. We are paying the guy 6 million a year, which is why he continues to play. That's the bottom line. We are not the Yankees or Red Sox, who just release guys and eat their contracts. The Front Office gambled on Buck and lost, but they are still going to try to get their money's worth out of him. Besides, the team is winning, so Buck's lack of production is not hurting the team THAT bad.

Alex

Ozzie is hilarious talking about Buehrle getting 100 million and throwing 86 mph, but he is 100% correct.He is a solid pro who, along with Big Z, has solidified the starting pitching staff and given us 5 good starters, the first time we have been able to say that in years! The starting pitching's ability to give the team a chance to win every single night has changed the dynamics of this team, and changed it for the better. We are now a team with good pitching, good defense (except for the outfield which is still a work in progress) speed on the bases, and power when needed. That's a good recipe for a contending team.

Alex

Oh, one more thing: the clown called "DD" posted a bunch of quotes on another thread and implied that I said those things. Well, not even ONE of the quotes he posted was mine! Not even one. I stand behind anything I post, but if you are going to quote me, then quote ME, not some other guy. Hell, I am fully capable of being wrong myself; you shouldn't have to look for something that someone else posted to find an example of me being wrong about something! LOL....

Flav C

I had mentioned that the Marlins success in May wasn't sustainable for the remainder of the season, due to several reasons included in my post. However, as I had also posted here several weeks ago, I also gave my reasoning on why I thought the Marlins would be the NL East Champions.

Interesting enough, this morning I saw this article on CNN/Sports Illustrated, talking about the Marlins. The article also points out that the Marlins success in May isn't sustainable, but they utilize all the cybermetrics data to make their case:

http://mlb.si.com/2012/05/31/why-marlins-success-likely-wont-last/?xid=cnnbin

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