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Renewed faith, Zambrano says, has helped lead to his turnaround

HOUSTON -- Carlos Zambrano tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout Monday and picked up his first win in a Marlins uniform.

ZambranoThe first thing Zambrano did to celebrate? Point to the sky. It was his way of thanking the spirit above, whom he believes has led to his turnaround not just on the field, but off it.

"To be honest, God changed my life," Zambrano told reporters after the Marlins won their seventh in a row Monday, setting a new franchise record for wins on a road trip.

"Before I was on my own... Now, I'm pitching smiling because God is in my heart. When God is in your heart, nothing is frustrating. Nothing bothers you. You're focused on what you have to do. Because you have God, you can do pretty much anything."

Zambrano, 30, said he grew up going to church with his parents in Venezuela. But for some reason, he said, he stopped going.

"My communication stopped. Things were getting frustrating. Things were getting out of control," Zambrano said. "Now, I don't see my life without Jesus. Last year when I was suspended I went to a youth reunion in Venezuela and God spoke to my life. Since then I've been seeing more God's hands on my life. I don't know if people believe in God, but I do."

Believe what you want to believe, Zambrano says.

What's not up for debate is that after six starts with the Marlins Zambrano has a 1.98 ERA and 32 strikeouts opposite 14 walks. His command Monday was stellar according to catcher John Buck.

"His ball is moving all over the place and when he's able to control that sinker and his cutter that's provides a lot of options for me," Buck said. "And then when you saw that split finger. He was making that plate feel wide to those hitters and keeping that split low in the zone.

"Obviously so many people gave up on him for one reason or another. Since he walked in here he's been nothing but awesome every way you can think of it... he's kind of a favorite in this clubhouse."

Zambrano threw 110 pitches Monday, 69 for strikes.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said the fact Hanley Ramirez padded the lead with a solo shot and the team was able to turn a 3-6-3 double play in the ninth helped make the decision of leaving Zambrano in there easier.

POSTGAME AUDIO (CLICK TO HEAR INTERVIEWS)

CARLOS ZAMBRANO

 

JOHN BUCK

OZZIE GUILLEN

 

Comments

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Flagstafffishfan

Great game Z! Nice to beat Wandy! He's owned the Fish in the past.

bob

I think it's safe to say the Zambrano trade was a STEAL for the Marlins.

Stan M

As much as I dislike Hanley and his too long of a swing, when he does hit one out, that swing becomes a thing of beauty. Reminds me a little of Duke Snider except Snider didn't bend his knees as much. Isn't it amazing that our "ace" is by far our worst starter? Zambrano looked absolutely great, and a tiny bit lucky. Hanley ran hard out of the box on his double this evening. Mets might be ahead of us, but they have played 4 more home games (than road games)while we have played 6 more road games. To my way of thinking, that's a big plus for us. Did any of you ever hear that Red Barber invented the "games behind" part of the box score? I think I read that once back in the Dark Ages. Just in case someone isn't aware of it, it's the winning percentage and not the games behind that determines the winner. One of you math whizzes can probablly figure this out,but I think a team can conceivably win the division and still show that they are 1/2 game out. Is this correct?

Vincent Vega

Beating up on crappy teams is what good teams are supposed to do. Winning streak is good, but Marlins are 1-7 against NL east, and until they go thru the NL east at least once or twice, nobody really knows if the Marlins are contenders or pretenders.Right now,they're an average team , with above average starting pitching, below average hitting and defense,and a question mark bullpen. If the Marlins make it thru June and are still in contention, then it's time to take notice. But not before.

Funny How Things Work Out

Stanton has hit 5 Hr's during this winning streak. One has to wonder how many HR's will be negated ,playing at home in the spacious ,indoor Marlins Park. It would be ironic if the new ballpark costs the Marlins wins at home, which would ultimatly hurt their play-off chances.

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Taz Man

To all you negative people, give it a rest. A 7 game win streak (especially on the road) means something, regardless of which teams you beat. Starting pitching has been solid all year long. You know that the bats will heat up. The Marlins have too many good hitters for the batting slump to last. The NL East is a tough division, but the Marlins have as good a chance as any other team.

Not Ready for a Parade yet.

To all you kool-aid drinking Marlins fans, give it a rest. Marlins had a 6 games winning streak last year and also have had longer winning streaks in other years. Just because knowledable MLB fans arent ready to sing the Marlins praises yet is no reason for Marlins fans to get into a snit with the realists.Fact is ,time will tell how good this team is. Anything else right now is wishful thinking and guesswork. Marlins fans should be happy that they're out of last place and are getting good starting pitching right now.

rbleigh

@ Vinny Vega: Thank you Capt. Obvious

Miamiherald.com

@rbleigh... Thank You for your useless comment

Easy Money

Zambrano was 17-8 against Houston 10-4 at Minute Maid Wandy 3-3 against Marlins...easy game to make money on. No brainer.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
I just noticed your question about standings under an earlier blog. I'm more Cheese Whiz than math whiz, but it seems to me the only way a team could be a half game under and still win the division on percentage would be if one team played more games than the other, and I'm sure MLB works hard to prevent that.

C. Rod

Even though the Marlins have been beating up the Girl Scouts this past week, a W is a W and will take them anyway we can get them. Go Fish!!!!

Alex

Zambrano & Buerhle add big time veteran pitching knowledge and success to this staff. What a score it was getting these two guys. As for JJ, he should watch both of those guys and learn how to pitch. If you notice, Big Z's fastball doesn't go over 93 mph, but he throws it on the black. And here's the big thing: his off speed stuff sometimes is below 80 mph! When you have a 13 mph difference between your fastball and your breaking pitches, you can really make hitters suffer. JJ throws his fastball at about 92 mph and his breaking pitches at 87 mph. That's only a 5 mph difference and that is no good. Hitters can sit on the fastball and still be able to hit the off speed stuff. When Zambrano throws one of them 80 mph curve balls up there the hitters are so out in front he makes them look stupid.

Alex

All the Marlins haters can run their mouths; I love it! Here's one thing you can take to the bank: if the team continues winning the haters will disappear and suddenly we will have a whole bunch of new BANDWAGON FANS. Because that is what most of these haters are good at: ripping a team until the team starts winning, then suddenly they become big FANS of that team. Then if the team fails to win the World Series, gets knocked out in the playoffs or whatever, these same guys will jump OFF THE BANDWAGON just as quickly as they jumped on, LMFAO

That's exactly why Miami has a lousy reputation as a sports town. A lot of BANDWAGON FANS who run their mouths all the time about how the teams suck, don't go to any of the games, but quickly turn into "long time fans" once a team starts playing well. And most of the haters who post nonsense like "I am not going to spend one dime on this team" or threaten to boycott our teams because of what a manager or coach says or because they don't like the owner of Front Office, guess what? NONE OF THOSE GUYS WERE GOING TO SPEND ANY MONEY ANYWAY. All they are good at is bitching and moaning and criticizing.

jimmy the geek

Good news Marlins fans. The Marlins face AAA call up RHP Aneurysm Rodriguez tonite. Aneurysm has a 4.97era in 29innings, with batters hitting .347 against him this season. In AAA. Last year in his starts for Houston he went 1-6 w/5.27era. Also gave up 13HR's in only 85 innings pitched. Hope the parade of stiffs doesnt end soon. Marlins will be able to pad their stats before they knock him out by the 5th inning.

Alex

Anybody who says the Marlins have "below average defense" has not been watching. The Defense has been excellent. The shakiest parts are Lomo and Stanton in the OF, and Buck behind the plate. But the infield D is very good and when you take good starting pitching and add good defense to it, you have two of the main ingredients of a successful team. Sure the hitting hasn't been setting the league on fire, but as long as you have good starting pitching and good defense, you can contend.

No, it's not time to start printing playoff tickets, but the signs are very promising for this team. If the starting pitching was like last year's, forget about it. Zambrano & Buerhle is a huge step up from Vasquez & Volstad; even though Javy pitched well after the ASG, I would still take Zambrano or Buerhle over him. And Volstad (0-4 ERA over 6 for the Cubs this year) was just terrible.

Alex

As for all the crying and hand wringing over the dimensions of Marlins Park, it's much too soon to tell how that will play out over the course of the season. Some of our guys have hit huge HRs there, so I think all the talk about the park being too big is overblown. Guys like Stanton and Hanley have enough power to hit it out of ANYWHERE.

"It would be ironic if the new ballpark costs the Marlins wins at home, which would ultimatly hurt their play-off chances."

How about how many wins the team could ADD to their record with the strong pitching staff we have?

Frisaro

alex...do everybody a favor...go kill yourself

Alex

Stan, when Hanley tries to PULL the ball with that swing, it actually is not a bad swing! It's a good HR hitter's cut. The problem is when he tries to go to opposite field with that swing and winds up popping up to shallow right field. That's the number one "out" that he makes, a pop up to RF. Seriously, track how many times Hanley pops out to the right side. It's a LOT.

I actually wish Hanley became a dead pull HR hitter; with that long swing he would have success, but his BA would suffer. But hey, it's not like his BA is so good now, LOL!!!

Baseball Stats

Marlins defense ranked 20th out of 30 teams. Worst is San Fran,San Diego 3rd worst. Marlins pitching ranked 6th, hitting 26th...San Diego 29th...Have given up 104 runs,have scored 104 runs.

Stan M

Alex, actually Hanley hits his best when he does hit a percentage to RF. See the last couple of games. He's getting hot AND some of his hits are to RF. LB, you are right about uneven games, but I do think it can happen. But as you say, ML baseball will do everything possible to prevent it. Regarding the Marlins ballpark. All things point to it being beneficial to this team. for three reasons that I can think of. One...it will help our very good starting pitchers and should allow them to sometimes ease up and let the batter hit the ball to that capacious outfield. Second...we have the speed merchants to take advantage of the large dimensions, particularly the fast grass and deep alleys. We should see a good number of triples. Third...our team will eventually get used to the dimensions, but visiting teams will be intimidated.
Tomorrows game will be very important, for if JJ fails again, it will be time to think of an alternative. Alex, when JJ is pitching well, his fast ball stays around 94-95 mph, he has been off in his speed for his last couple of starts. Thats the worry.

.

good thing "the defense has been excellent"

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