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Dunn The Vulture; Valdespin Hot; Saltalamacchia Out

Marlins reliever Mike Dunn has a new nickname: The Vulture.

Bullpen buddy A.J. Ramos was flapping his arms Sunday morning, a day after Dunn tied a team record with nine wins as a reliever. Saturday night, Dunn swooped in to get the final two outs in the top of the 10th inning, earning the ‘W’ when Christian Yelich hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the inning.

“At this point in the season as long as the W’s are going to someone on our team, that’s all that matters.” Dunn said. “They all make fun of me … They all came in last night flapping their wings.”

Edward Mujica was the last reliever to earn nine wins in 2011, and Robb Nen did it in 1997. Dunn is now fourth in Marlins history with 17 career wins as a reliever. He is a win away from doubling his career high for a season, which he set in 2011 with five.

After earning Saturday’s victory, Dunn said others joked that he was only 11 games away from being a 20-game winner, but he said he’d be fine staying at nine.

“I prefer to get holds and let the starters collect the wins,” Dunn said.

Dunn earned Saturday’s win by striking out both Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce, stranding an inherited runner at third.

“Coming into the game in that situation, I had a one-track mind,” Dunn said. “With Billy Hamilton, I couldn’t let him put the ball in play … I was able to get ahead of him — execute my first two pitches and then I had a little room to make a couple pitches outside the strike zone and get him to chase.

“With Bruce … I ultimately got ahead of him and felt pretty good and was able to get him to chase a pitch out of the zone too.”

Dunn has now logged five appearances without surrendering an earned run, lowering his ERA to 3.79 on the year. Four of his wins have come in July.

Henderson Alvarez is second on the team with eight wins.

VALDESPIN TRYING TO STAY HOT

By going 2-for-4 for a second straight game Saturday, second baseman Jordany Valdespin raised his average to .289 through his first 14 games with Miami. That ranks third among Marlins position players, behind only Casey McGehee and Giancarlo Stanton.

Valdespin has a hit in four of his last five games and seven of his last 18 at-bats.

Less than a month ago, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said the team was in the market for a second baseman. Last week Hill said he liked how Valdespin had fit into the lineup and the former Met remained the starter following last week’s trade deadline.

With that date passed, Valdespin can look forward and focus on continuing to help the team.

“Everything is good right now so I hope to keep doing well and keep playing everyday,” Valdespin said. “We have a good team and we can make the playoffs so we need to keep playing like this … playing with emotion.”

SALTALAMACCHIA OUT AGAIN

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not in the starting lineup for a second straight game Sunday. Saturday, manager Mike Redmond said the backstop was dealing with a sore back, but Saltalamacchia said he feels fine. 

“I don’t know what that’s about,” Saltalamacchia said before Sunday’s game.  “My back feels great.”

He added that Redmond told him Saturday night that Mathis would be starting Sunday without giving a specific reason.

Asked if he was antsy to return to the starting lineup, Saltalamacchia said he was.

“Yea, of course,” he said. “I’m watching our team play great right now and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Saltalamacchia had not missed two straight games since June 19 after he was struck by a foul ball. 

In his last 10 games, Saltalamacchia has hit .250. He was 0-for-4 in his last appearance Friday.

Backup Jeff Mathis has hit .097 in his last 10 times out.

SUNDAY’S LINEUPS

> Reds (55-55): 1. Billy Hamilton CF, 2. Jay Bruce RF, 3. Todd Frazier 1B, 4. Devin Mesoraco C, 5. Ryan Ludwick 1B, 6. Skip Schumaker 2B, 8. Kris Negron 3B, 8. Zack Cozart SS, 9. Mike Leake RHP.

> Marlins (54-56): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Jordany Valdespin 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Jacob Turner RHP.

COMING UP

  • Monday: OFF
  • Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates TBA, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park

Comments

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Lou Vales

Since 1956!!!! and I have never seen any hitter---great, good, mediocre or poor----strike out chasing the same pitch over and over and over and over again in the same position outside of the strike zone. I have heard Stanton speak and he is an intelligent young man so I KNOW he is not brain dead and I also have seen him hit in enough situations to realize there is no obvious explanation for this. Can someone tell me how or why an intelligent man who has demonstrated an ability to hit Major League pitching can mix in so many line shots in relatively meaningless situations without being able to drive the ball with men on in critical spots. How long has this gone on? I tie it in with his foray into managing the club and telling them what he wanted done as far as the trade market. It seems impossible to miss the same pitch in exactly the same spot that frequently. Wouldn't muscle memory kick in as far as taking the pitch? It is reaching the point of the bizarre. If the man could not play, I would not pose these questions.

Lou Vales

I know one of you is not concerned with the offense but I believe they would have trouble scoring in Amsterdam with a coupon.

Marlins Teal

Would love a Stanton,Heaney,Mcgehee and Ozuna (If needed) for Cubs SS/2B Javier Báez,RF Jorge Soler and 3B Kris Bryant. Daydreaming.... :(

Dionysus Thexinoe

Why would the Marlins trade 3 legitimate MLers, including the franchise star, PLUS a blue chip lefty pitching prospect in exchange for three minor league infielders, one of whom is hitting .257 and has 129 Ks in 103 games at Triple A?

Dionysus Thexinoe

Saturday, manager Mike Redmond said the backstop was dealing with a sore back, but Saltalamacchia said he feels fine.

“I don’t know what that’s about,” Saltalamacchia said before Sunday’s game. “My back feels great.”

Sounds to me like Salty's been benched. Unfortunately for him, the pitching is showing improvement without him, and the defense as well. On a positive note, the benching enhances his chances of capturing the coveted David Samson Award for the 2014 Waste-of-Space of the Year.

A Realist

I just realized that Loria DOES look like a gargoyle.

Lou, I've been saying this about Stanton for a while now. I think he just isn't that intelligent. He gets frustrated and chases stuff. I also noted that as soon as he swings at one bad pitch during the at-bat, the rest of the at-bat is as good as done. He gets upset and chases again. He really doesn't hit in key situations, despite the stat Rich and Tommy displayed during the game showing Stanton to be 3 for 7 with bases loaded this year. Now he's 3 for 8.

I hope that this team can walk away from Jones at the end of the season. I hope they have the guts to do that after giving him a two year deal.

Here we go again with this offense again. Suddenly every pitcher looks like an ace against us. Season is done, but at least Cosart should fill out the rotation nicely next year.

DT, I agree. There is no way I'd trade major leaguer's for minor leaguer's. Those major leaguer's mentioned are actually playing reasonably well. I do think if Stanton continues to play at his current level he may actually remain relatively cheap to retain through arbitration. He's not amazing defensively or hitting for average. I don't think he's going to hit 40 home runs, either.

Dionysus Thexinoe

A Realist, that's three major league STARTERS plus a blue chip lefty for three minor league infielders!?!?

As for Gargoyle-Face, historically there are many different representations of gargoyles... Loria is in reality an anthropomorphized ape, hence the gargoyle appearance.

Dionysus Thexinoe

he more the season progresses, the more I think both their off-season signings, Jones and Salty, will be gone next season. There's $12MM of salary between them next year, and one is a platoon player while the other is currently benched in favor of a .200 hitter who can play the position.

Lou Vales

Stan, I thought you were wrong about Stanton but those have been some very bad AB's and far too often.

Marlins Teal

DT, 2 infielders (BECAUSE WE NEED OUR REAL 3B OF THE FUTURE) and a RF. They are 22 with a lot of potential. Look at Bryant stats, he is Real solid and so are the other 2. Baez is a freak athlete with a lot of power. He can play SS/2B/3B. I know they wont trade him but would love to have Soler instead of Stanton K'ing with the bases loaded on a lot of occasions...

Lou Vales

I have no ideas for this season. This was a CRIPPLED Reds team that had lost 10 road games in a row. We should have not lost the first one but I expected a gutsy, FOCUSED performance coming back and I did not see that.

MDX

Just forget about Turner, call Heaney, Desclafani or Nicolino to pitch on the road trip, it's only one start. Nothing to lose.

Dr Nobody

need to move Stanton to 5th or 6th spot in batting order, not 3rd or 4th. Seems he puts too much pressure on himself.
Or, maybe he needs to see an eye doctor. Seems he might have a problem with depth perception, swinging at all those low, outside, off the plate, pitches. Depth perception might also cause him to misjudge balls that bounce in front of him in the outfield. Quite a few have skipped past him.

Dionysus Thexinoe

Marlins Teal, I get what you're saying, but the price is way too expensive. When we're using the words "potential" and "future" to describe ballplayers, it basically means they haven't accomplished anything yet, although there's cause for hope that they will. And right now that's what those minor leaguers bring to the table... hope for the future.

Otoh, Stanton, McGehee, and Ozuna are frontline starters who have already demonstrated their ability to play at this level over more than one season. And in the case of McGehee and Stanton, they are way underpaid, which makes them very near and dear to this cheapskate owner, making it even more unlikely that they will be traded. I'm not even sure that I would trade Heaney alone for the three ballplayers you listed.

But again, just my opinion.

Dionysus Thexinoe

On a different note, I am SHOCKED... SHOCKED, I tell you (!!!!!)... that Tommy Hutton indirectly criticized Redmond for his pattern of automatically removing the starter from the game based solely on the inning and at the first sign of trouble, regardless of the pitcher's effectiveness. Koehler's last start was an egregious example; it was his best start (I think) of the season, the hitters were flailing at pitches and it was Valdespin's error that started the trouble. Then Redmond did it again in Cosart's start. How can you be a major league manager and not understand that you will actually ENERGIZE the other team when you remove the starter who has handcuffed them the entire game? Especially when that starter's pitch count is only in the low 80s (Koehler 83, Cosart 82)??? There's a question you MUST ask yourself, I think, when you're considering lifting the starter, and that is, "Am I doing the other team a favor by taking him out? Will the other team be glad if I make this move?" And whenever the answer is yes, and the pitch count is below 100, get your bald-headed behind back into the dugout!!!

If further evidence is needed, consider that middle relievers A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn, Sam Dyson, and Bryan Morris are a combined 17-5.

In the meantime, Hutton better be careful... he's straying into unknown territory (for him), which is going from being a total shill to actually broadcasting the game.

MDX

Looks like Conine is gonna step in for Tommy soon.

Stan M

I just got off the phone with Jerrery Loria. He called and personally asked me to become GM for the remainder of this year. Naturally I accepted. The press release will go out this evening before the game. These are the changes that I have made:
1) Gregg was given his unconditional release.
2) Reed Johnson was thanked for his contributions over the first half, and placed on waivers.
3)Jacob Turner was placed on waivers as well and told that if unclaimed, he will pitch in AA, not AAA ball.
4)Bour was give his unconditional release.
5) Nicolino and Urena were both moved from AA to AAA and Nicolino has been told that if he performs well, he will be called up in September.
6) Canha was placed on the 40 man roster, called up, and told that he will play against lefthanders at 1B for rest of year.
7)Grant Dayton and Wittgren were both called up to the big team and told they will remain for rest of year.
8)Heaney was told that after one more start, he will be called up and have a place on starting staff for remainder of year regardless of performance.
9)Domino German will be promoted from low A to high A ball.
10) Preston Wilson will immediately be added to the TV broadcast team.
11) Realmuto will catch against all LH pitchers.
12) Jones will be told that any time he leads off an inning, or there is a man on first with less than 2 outs, he must bunt toward 3B. No exceptions until the shift is finally lifted.
13) All players promoted to the ML team will be told that they are present to either win a permanent job, or move on at the end of the season. That is, sink or swim fellas.

Dionysus Thexinoe

I just came back from a hunting trip with Loria.

I pulled a Dick Cheney, mistook him a huge albino moose and accidently shot him... 17 times.

(I wish).

Lou Vales

Stan, I agree with EVERY one of those points and not to say you are a genius---you are smart---every one of those moves was evident. I would also sit in on hitting sessions with Stanton and hitting coach and try to understand his rationale for not moving over in the batting box to be able to see the ball better. I make references to the Italian Soccer Leagues for obvious reasons because strange things go on and some of these AB's are very strange. You know they are just BAD so there is nothing going on but the idea that approaches and non-adjustments can be so bad is SCARY.

Lou Vales

Stan, I would hold on to Bour. ONLY disagreement. One day this week--I have time on my hands---I am going to look at every home run they have hit this year and tell you how many have come in clutch situations that changed the game. For example Jones' 2 run homer yesterday, and Stanton's homer when trailing 5-1 in the 9th would be labeled as NON-clutch. I expect numbers to be interesting. By the way, my favorites on your list are 6 and 11.

Stan M

Loria explained that occasionally both he and Samson would like to make suggestions. I told them that it a fine idea. I first called an old politician and asked to borrow his "lock-box" from a past campaign. This should come in handy for storing ideas from the FO.

Stan M

Lou, if you do that, I will guess Ozuna. And to me, the most important of the 13 points is the last one.

Lou Vales

The ONLY guys I would not trade on this team unless absolutely FLOORED are Yelich and Fernandez. EVERYBODY else is open to discussion including the entire farm system. Guys I really see coming down to Earth are Ozuna---who may have the same EEG readout as Stanton, well, I just realized that everybody else has probably come down to Earth with exception of Alvarez who could be really good. As I wrote this I just realized we need a myriad of guys to step up. Have no idea who they will be?? The Tigers were poor a decade ago and now in next 5 days they will trot out Scherzer, Price, Verlander, Porcello and Sanchez. How is that possible??

Marlins Teal

DT, i understand what you are saying maybe it's just me but baez is a beast, he hit 2 homers yesterday giving him 24 for the season. Last season the guy hit 38 and he's ONLY 21 IN AAA the other guys I mention are 22. Soler is a Cuban guy from La Habana who's signed FOR 9 YEARS FOR ONLY 30 MILLIONS!!!! WOW, he is a Beast too, 6'5 in AAA too and last but not least Kris Bryant, another 6'5 guy who's killing it in AAA and is about to get called.I dont even think the Cubs would accept that offer to be honest. That is way too much power and future I wish though...

Dionysus Thexinoe

Marlins Teal, it's a judgment call. I happen to think that a blue chip lefty pitching prospect is a real commodity. It's not necessarily a reflection on the Cubs prospects. But the fact is that they're all unproven, and that includes Heaney. So like I said, judgment call.

Marlins Teal

Yes I get you, only time will tell but the Cubs future seems GREAT for now. You got to think that Stanton was right were they are now (unproven status too).I wish we had their farm system. It's really frustrating to be a Marlins fan 99% of the time.

Marlins Teal

BTW Baez just got the call to the majors. He's the #1 Cubs Prospect and that is really something considering all the great players they got in their farm system. As a fellow puerto rican Im rooting hard for him.

Dionysus Thexinoe

Stan, as GM, are you keeping Redmond?

Stan M

As GM, I'm playing all of my cards, but not showing some. He stays until I find someone better..but am definitely looking. I want to replace him if at all possible for next year.
DT, we agree on many, possibly most things. But I honestly think that Hutton frequently points out bad plays by the Marlins. Within reason, of course. If he knocked them all game, the viewership would disappear. All that being said, were I he, I'd be looking over my shoulder at Preston Wilson. If there is a change, and I think one could be in the wind, that's where it will come from.

Reason I think my #13 was most important is because so many players have career, or near career years in their "walk" year. I want a hungry team fighting for their ability to remain where they are.

Lou, you are starting to see the same thing as I, but in different words. Too many players on this team are clones of one another. The mistakes were already made by the FO in signing middle of the road power hitters who K too much for a ball park that smothers power. We need more guys like Yelich and McGehee, We can live with one or two Ozunas and Hechs, but not when they are surrounded by other players that are too much like them. And that includes Stanton.

Dionysus Thexinoe

Stan, we don't necessarily disagree on Hutton either. You're probably right, since I make liberal use of the mute button. It just seems like whenever the volume is up, he and his partner are shilling something. They both tend to make excuses for any shortcomings by the Marlins. I also absolutely hate how they take the Fox strike zone graphic as the infallible final authority, evidently never having taken geometry or trigonometry in school.

Broadcasters should NOT be constantly knocking the team... but they SHOULD be honest if they expect to be credible. It can be done.

But the truth is that I don't listen to either of them often enough to make sweeping conclusions. I'd just much rather hear Allison's melodious voice and see her rockin' bod.

Dionysus Thexinoe

Clark, why did you change your picture? And why so serious?

Dionysus Thexinoe
A Realist

DT, I agree about Rich and Tommy. It shouldn't only be when the Marlins get robbed, as in the first game against the Reds, that Tommy and Rich get upset and state their true feelings. I have to imagine that Tommy gets really pissed seeing Stanton continue swinging at those sliders away. He played the game so he understands adjustment after enough trial and error.

With regard to Redmond removing starters when they begin to falter, I agree with Redmond. Early in the season all pitchers not named Fernandez had a funny way of totally coming apart at the seams at the first sign of trouble. Koehler, I agree, was having his best game of the year, but he let two guys get on to lead off the 8th inning in a 1-0 game, regardless of the Valdespin error (that was a web-gem type of play). I didn't see him coming out of that. Redmond let these guys have their shots earlier in the season and they didn't demonstrate mental toughness. In fact, they proved their mental weakness and I think Redmond sees that. So many times they would be cruising along and then one bad pitch leads to 4 runs in one inning and 2 runs the next. The next thing you know were looking at a rout.

A lot of these guys need a good mental butt-whooping. It goes back to the Tino Martinez thing. They didn't like a tough guy telling them what's what, even if he was a Hall of Famer.

A Realist

I just thought about the day when Loria will not be the owner of our tem and it gave me goose-bumps. Sad I know, but it gave me hope.

Dionysus Thexinoe

A Realist, maybe you're right about Redmond's reasoning. To my way of thinking, though, young pitchers need to progress and develop, not just in innings and pitch count, but also in game situations. We all have some hope that this team will play some meaningful games in September (and beyond?) and what's going to happen in a high-pressure game in front of a screaming crowd of 40-50,000 if these kids haven't yet learned to pitch in regular game pressure situations? That's MY reasoning.

Lou Vales

Why do you guys think he is selling this team? Do you believe the personality traits he has manifested would be conducive to a guy leaving the "limelight?" Check out the definition of megalomania and tell me if that sounds like anybody?? Gentleman and Gentlewoman(if there is one here), this man is here to stay. Better get ready or switch allegiances because this guy's position is as obdurate as some of the "great" personages in history. I won't list the names.

Dionysus Thexinoe

Lou, I don't believe he'll sell, for reasons related to what you've detailed in your post. Which is why I put my hope in that he'll give new meaning to the sports term, "sudden death."

Al-Kendall

Please do not campaign to get Nicolino called up in September. Since he does not get many SO's, he needs a full season of AAA before he should be asked to face MLB hitters. The Marlins have a huge problem with their 40 man roster, and they just helped Houston out with their logjam!

Al-Kendall

I would prefer Bour to Jones at 1B, but this is unlikely to happen. Canha may also be better, but he is part of the problem the Marlins face and may be lost to the rule 5 draft.

Lee Stone

Lots of great thoughts today. Let me degrade the conversation with my GM banter.
1) To the person that suggested more Allison Williams air time ... I'd replace the entire homer broadcast team with Allison.
2) Jose Abreu. Do you realize that the salaries of Furcal, Jones and Salty would have taken care of the Cuban's paycheck this season? Good grief. The Marlins would be how many wins better? Realmuto would not only provide better defense than Salty, but higher on base % and some speed on the bases as well. Austin Barnes would be another high energy reinforcement in a utility role, inc. catcher. Missing out on Abreu's natural landing spot in Miami was a crucial error.
3) Marmol, Wolf and Gregg? Would any of us have approved those experiments? More money to sign Abreu is what those guys cost ... in addition to losses
4)I was in before the season started on going after Baez and Bryant from the Cubs. Stanton and Moran may well have done the trick at that time. Those guys are all stars for a long, long time.
5) Dietrich is a star some day soon ... guaranteed. Don't know why he was the kicking boy because of a few errors. He also made fantastic plays and has huge offensive potential.
6) I have no idea why Koehler, Turner, Hand, etc. have been pushed into sixth and seventh innings so regularly. I'm happy with six strong innings from a starter. What would the ERA's of those pitchers be sitting at if they had not been extended.
7) All coaches would be replaced (manager too). Marlins are weak in plate approach, baserunning, and sacrifice skills ... all coaching-related issues.
8) Off subject but crucial. I'd be pushing hard for Fox Tracks technology taking over ball and strike calls automatically. Put it on the scoreboard and intstantly show the pitch as green (ball) or red (strike).

Al-Kendall

If Jones is hitting better than Stanton and McGehee, the Marlins offense does not produce. I hope this changes soon, but it has been tough to watch this past week.

A Realist

DT, let's be honest. These guys aren't playing in front of 40 or 50,000 fans anytime soon, unless it's the opposing team's fans. This team will not make the playoffs. Too many weaknesses. Where do I begin? Can't score (hit with RISP), average defensively, management is very soft on it's players expecting mediocrity, poor bullpen, mentally weak pitching in tight games, deplorable catching and 1st base play all around, etc. These guys are choke artists. I mean they win 9 out of 10 and then lose 5 out of 6. They don't compartmentalize wins and losses. A loss demorlaizes them and then they're good for a nice 5 or 6 game losing streak. It's pitiful really.

I do think Loria will sell eventually because even HE can't stand being hated as much as he is. I think he will sell after 2015 once he can pocket all the profits.

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