SAN FRANCISCO -- Ozzie Guillen is not waving the white flag on closer Heath Bell. Not yet.
The Marlins manager told a group of reporters a moment ago that he intends to stick with Bell as his ninth-inning stopper despite the veteran pitcher's run of poor outings, the most recent of which came last night when he entered in the ninth and the Giants rallied for two runs to send the game into extra innings.
"We're a better team with Bell closing," Guillen said. "There's no doubt. That's what we want. That's what I want. I never manage for the fans. I never manage for the owners. I never manage for the media. I manage for the ball club, and obviously we need wins. And I'm going to give Bell every opportunity out there to fail again, because we're a better ball club with him as closer. And I want him to be the closer. And he's getting paid to be the closer. And that's the reason we signed him to be the closer.
"I know he's not pitching well. We all know that. He's throwing the ball good. He's just not getting people out. I'm not going to unplug that (stuff) yet. It's too early. If you do that, maybe they lose confidence."
Guillen said that if Bell didn't have an extensive track record as a successful closer, it would be a much different story and he would be quicker to make a change.
"It's not easy to have patience. It's not easy losing games that way. But, we are WAY better ball club with him as a closer."
Guillen said he feels that Bell's arm strength is "fine" and the "ball's coming out of his hand pretty good. It's just location -- bad location -- and no strikes. That combination, you're going to lose games."
"People will go, wow what are you doing? I don't work for people. I've got 25 guys here to take care of. If it drives everybody crazy, what, you don't think I have blood in my veins? Yes. It drives me crazy more than anybody else. I'm the one that put him there. I'm the one that's got to take him out. I'm the one that's got to take the blame. All those people that worry about it, just relax. Chill."
Guillen said he made the decision to replace Bell for Steve Cishek in the ninth because he sensed a sudden downshift in mood inside the dugout when the inning began to unravel.
"Yesterday if we lose the game, that's going to be painful and that's going to stick with us for a few weeks. The way the reaction was in the dugout, if we lose this game, this is going to be sticking with us for a little while."
All that said, Guillen added that neither Bell nor Cishek is available this afternoon for the series finale. And Guillen said he'd like to give Cishek, who pitched two innings in relief on Wednesday, a couple of days to rest up.
GUILLEN PREDICTS STANTON WILL KILL SOMEONE
After watching Giancarlo Stanton hammer two line drives, one of which struck the wall at AT&T Park with tremendous force and the other that sailed over it to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead in the 10th, Guillen predicted his slugger will cause bodily harm to some pitcher or third baseman before the end of the season.
"If this kid puts the ball in play, that ball is going to get hurt," Guillen said. "I (never saw) anybody hit line drives like that. I never saw anyone the ball come off his bat like that. That kid will kill one pitcher before the season is over. Or a third baseman. I hope not, but, wow, if this kid hit the ball back to the pitcher the way he hit it to left field yesterday, it's going to be a (medical) helicopter coming down, and hurry up, because that's scary."
TODAY'S LINEUPS (scheduling note: due to a conflict with the Heat game, the radio broadcoast of today's Marlins game will switch from 790-AM to 102.7 FM at 6:15 p.m.)
Marlins: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, 3b; 4. Logan Morrison, lf; 5. Omar Infante, 2b; 6. Giancarlo Stanton, rf; 7. Greg Dobbs, 1b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p.
Giants: 1. Gregor Blanco, rf; 2. Conor Gillaspie, 3b; 3. Melky Cabrera, lf; 4. Buster Posey, c; 5. Angel Pagan, cf; 6. Brandon Belt, 1b; 7. Joaquin Arias, 2b; 8. Brandon Crawford, ss; 9. Ryan Vogelsong, p.
Umpires: HP -- Lance Barrett; 1B -- Paul Emmel; 2B -- Scott Barry; 3B -- Jerry Meals.