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53 posts from September 2008

September 29, 2008

Mitre Released


              One day after completing their season, the Marlins went right to work on the roster, releasing right-handed pitcher Sergio Mitre.Mitre

              Mitre was expected to open the season in the rotation but strained his right elbow in spring training and underwent Tommy John surgery in July. Mitre went 6-13 during the 2006 and '07 seasons with the Marlins after they obtained him -- along with Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto -- in the 2005 trade with the Chicago Cubs for Juan Pierre.

             Mitre did not pitch for the Marlins in '08, though his $1.2 million salary was the fourth-highest on the club.


September 28, 2008

Shea La Vie -- Marlins End Mets Season, 4-2, In Final Game at Shea Stadium


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            NEW YORK – None of the Marlins were alive when Shea Stadium was born in 1964. But every one of them saw it die, helping to write the final chapter on the stadium – and the New York Mets season – with a 4-2 victory on Sunday.

            One year after the Marlins knocked out the Mets on the final day of the season, they did it again in what proved to be the final game at Shea. The Mets were eliminated from the National League wild card race when they lost and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs.

Wes Helms and Dan Uggla connected on back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, snapping a 2-2 tie and breaking the hearts of 56,059 Mets fans on hand to witness the bitter end of the stadium and the Mets season.

With both the Mets and Brewers playing simultaneously, fans in both ballparks reacted every time their scoreboards flashed fresh scoring updates. At Miller Park in Milwaukee, the crowd roared with delight when the Marlins went on top in the eighth. Moments later, the sell-out crowd at Shea groaned when the Brewers took the lead over the Cubs.

The score was 2-2 when Helms was sent up as a pinch-hitter to lead off the eighth against reliever Scott Schoeneweis, one member of a maligned Mets bullpen that has hurt New York this season.

Helms, who had not homered since June 15, went in for Mike Jacobs and belted a 1-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his fifth home run. Uggla then cracked his 32nd home run on a 3-2 pitch from Luis Ayala.

Matt Lindstrom, a former Mets minor-leaguer, preserved the win for the Marlins, retiring Ryan Church on deep fly ball to center.

            The Marlins ended up taking two out of three from the Mets in the series and, at 84-77, finished with the third-best record in franchise history. For the second year in a row, the Mets finished in second to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.

Scott Olsen and Oliver Perez engaged in a scoreless pitching duel through five innings before the Marlins finally broke through in the sixth. Oliver was pitching on only three days’ rest, just as Johan Santana did Saturday when he delivered a three-hit shutout.

            Cameron Maybin opened the inning with a double and scored on a broken-bat single by John Baker. After the Marlins loaded the bases, reliever Joe Smith walked Josh Willingham to force in a run and make it 2-0.

            But the lead was short-lived.

Carlos Beltran tied it with a two-run homer after pinch-hitter Robinson Cancel drew a leadoff walk.

The Marlins played without All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who was out with a stiff shoulder that he injured Saturday while diving for a ground ball.

Ramirez not in lineup - Tarp OFF -- 2 p.m. Start

1:20: They have removed the tarp and announced that the game is expected to start at 2 p.m.

12:30: It continues to rain and it's obvious they won't be starting on time. Word in the press box is that 2 p.m. is the target for first pitch. It could be a soggy ending for Shea Stadium if the Marlins and Brewers prevail.Shea_rain

Noon- It is raining at Shea Stadium and the tarp has been placed over the infield. No word yet on whether the start will be delayed.

The Marlins will play today without Hanley Ramirez, who reaggravated a left shoulder injury while diving for a ground ball on Saturday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Ramirez would be unavailable, except to run. Rookie Cameron Maybin will lead off and play center and Alfredo Amezaga will start at short.

Marlins: CF Cameron Maybin, C John Baker, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, RF Cody Ross, SS Alfredo Amezaga, P Scott Olsen.

Mets: SS Jose Reyes, CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado, 3B David Wright, LF Nick Evans, 2B Ramon Martinez, RF Ryan Church, C Ramon Castro, P Oliver Perez.

September 27, 2008

Things you thought you'd never see

The Marlins are hazing their rookies by having them wear costumes as they ride the 7 train from Shea Stadium to Grand Central Station. They will then walk 10 blocks to the team hotel. Click on the photos to see them a bit larger:

Left to right: Reliever Frankie De La Cruz as a gorilla, pitcher Ricky Nolasco (who started Saturday) as Burger King, left fielder Josh Willingham as a sumo wrestler, center fielder Brett Carroll was a pirate, first baseman Gaby Sanchez in the bunny suit with the red tuxedo and center fielder Cameron Maybin as the frog-like alien. In the background, also dressed in a bunny suit, is pitcher Ryan Tucker.

Img00123 On the left - The Marlin wearing the grapes costume is pitcher Scott Img00132Olson, who will start Sunday's game. Pitcher Josh Johnson is dressed as a banana. In the background, rookie catcher John Baker as Captain America.

On the right, Reliever Matt Lindstrom, dressed as Shrek, rides the 7 train.

Mets Preserve Playoff Hopes With 2-0 Win Over Marlins


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            NEW YORK – Johan Santana didn’t look like a pitcher short on rest. Not to the Marlins, who came up empty against Santana in a dominating performance that may have saved the Mets’ season.

At the very least, the 2-0 victory at Shea Stadium kept their playoff hopes alive.

"Is he the Shea-viour?" Marlins catcher John Baker asked of Santana.

Santana, who was pitching on only three days’ rest, tossed a three-hit complete game as the Mets remained in playoff contention for the National League wild card and, pending the outcome of the Phillies game later on Saturday, the division title.

"It was one of those games where they needed him and he came through big-time for them," said Marlins outfielder Cody Ross. "He mowed through us. He pitched a gem. He got into a rhythm and we couldn't really break it."

Santana bested Ricky Nolasco in a pitching duel in which hits were scarce.

Nolasco, the winningest pitcher for the Marlins this season, struck out 10 and issued one intentional walk. But Nolasco also gave up the only runs in a must-win game for the Mets at Shea, which is being demolished after the season.

"When a guy throws nine zeroes at you, it's tough to win," said Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Nolasco pitched good enough to win the ballgame. That's going to get lost in the box score."

The Mets struck for a run in the first on Carlos Delgado’s sacrifice fly and again in the fourth on Ramon Martinez’s double, which scored Daniel Murphy from first.

Otherwise, base runners were in short supply for both teams.

The Marlins had only two serious scoring threats the first when they loaded the bases in the fifth with two outs. But Santana got out of the jam when he retired Baker on a fly ball. In the ninth, Josh Willingham doubled with one out. But Santana whiffed Dan Uggla for his ninth strikeout and got Ross on a long fly ball to the warning track in left to end the game.

"I'm sure it looked like from the stands and the dugout it might go out," Ross said. "But I knew as soon as I hit it it wouldn't."

It was the first time in his career that Santana took the mound on short rest. But he won’t be the only starter for the Mets, who are pulling out all the stops in their frantic bid to win a playoff spot, to work on an abbreviated schedule.

Oliver Perez will start Sunday for the Mets on three days’ rest. Perez is 3-0 in his five starts this season against the Marlins.

UPDATE: First pitch at 1:45, Tarp Coming Off

1:05 p.m. -- The grounds crew is removing the tarp.

12:55 p.m. -- Estimated start time has now been pushed back to 1:45 p.m.

12:10 p.m.: The grounds crew at Shea is covering the field as a light drizzle continues to fall. They have just announced that first pitch is now scheduled for 1:25 p.m.

Santana or Bust? Lineups for Saturday

          It could be curtains for the Mets, who are sending out Johan Santana on three days rest in a last-ditch effort to rescue the season. A Mets loss and Brewers victory would mean bye-bye for the New Yorkers. If the Marlins come out on top today or tomorrow, they'll finish with the third-best record in franchise history -- behind only the '97 and '03 teams that won the World Series.Johan_santana

        The weather is so-so, overcast with a subtle drizzle. The tarp is rolled up, though, and the Marlins are taking batting practice.

        Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, C John Baker, 3B Jorge Cantu, LF Josh Willingham, 2B Dan Uggla, CF Cody Ross, 3B Wes Helms, RF Jeremy Hermida, P Ricky Nolasco.

        Metropolitans: SS Jose Reyes, CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado, 3B David Wright, LF Daniel Murphy, 2B Ramon Martinez, RF Ryan Church, C Ramon Castro, P Johan Santana.

September 26, 2008

Ghosts of '07 Haunting Mets Again -- Marlins Win Opener, 6-1


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            NEW YORK – The gnarly weather obliged the New York Mets and their loyal fans, on hand to witness perhaps one of Shea Stadium’s final chapters and the moment of truth in the Mets season.

But with their playoff prospects resting on an important weekend series against the Marlins, the Mets stumbled in the opener on Friday, dropping a 6-1 decision before a largely subdued crowd of 49,545.

The gray, low-hanging clouds blanketing the New York metropolitan area provided the appropriate backdrop for the Mets, who are trying to avoid another gloomy ending to a flickering season.

The Marlins, reduced to spoilers, are relishing every moment of the Mets’ agony.

One year after eliminating the Mets on the combative final weekend of the 2007 season, the Marlins were back to their old ways on Friday, receiving a plus pitching performance from rookie Chris Volstad and enough scoring to put away the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey.

The Mets dropped to two games behind the Philadelphia Phillies -- with two remaining -- in the National League East. They started the day tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL wild card. But the Brewers had just taken a 5-1 lead on the Chicago Cubs when the Mets game ended.

It didn’t take the Marlins long to stir dark memories for the Mets, who saw their season erupt in flames last year when the Marlins scored seven runs in the first inning of the final game off Tom Glavine.

They didn’t roll another seven on Friday.

But they struck instantly, very likely arousing fans in Philadelphia and Milwaukee once the deuce flashed on their home park scoreboards.

They extended the lead in the sixth when Josh Willingham connected on a home run for the fourth straight game, equaling a club record. And, after the Mets managed to get on the scoreboard with an unearned run in the sixth, the Marlins added two more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth.

Shea’s fans let out a collective groan.

Hanley Ramirez, who had four hits, added three more runs to his major-league leading total of 125, which matches the team record he set last season. John Baker was on base four times, with the end result being Pelfrey’s fourth loss to the Marlins this season in as many decisions.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel used seven pitchers in relief of Pelfrey and, with wins now paramount and time running out, was expected to announce that Johan Santana would now start Saturday on three days rest. Santana, the ace of the staff, was scheduled to go Sunday.

But not even Mets pitching legend Dwight Gooden, who is expected to be on hand for what could be the final game played at Shea on Sunday, will be able to help the Mets if they don’t get a win on Saturday against the Marlins’ 15-game winner, Ricky Nolasco.

Volstad wasn’t sharp in his last start of he season, allowing three singles, issuing a pair of walks, and hitting a batter within the first three innings. None of those runners scored, however, as the Mets wasted valuable chances to make up the early deficit. Ryan Church flied out with the bases loaded in the first to end one threat, Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy did the same after two Mets had reached in the second, and Church grounded into a inning-ending double play in the third.

Volstad, who ended his rookie campaign with a 6-4 record and 2.88 earned run average, did not allow an earned run to the Mets.

Gloomy But Playable (so far) at Shea (and lineups)

           The sky is gray as can be, and it has sprinkled off and on this afternoon. But the thinking is they'll get tonight's game in at Shea Stadium, although it might involve a delay or two. Nobody wants to play a doubleheader, and the weather outlook for Saturday isn't so hot. So we'll see.

          Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, C John Baker,  3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Mike Jacobs, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Josh Willingham, RF Cody Ross, CF Alfredo Amezaga, P Chris Volstad.

         Metropolitans: SS Jose Reyes, LF Daniel Murphy, 3B David Wright, 1B Carlos Delgado, CF Carlos Beltran, RF Ryan Church, 2B Ramon Martinez, C Brian Schneider, P Mike Pelfrey.

September 25, 2008

Bang -- Game Called -- Sanchez Skipped

Thursday's game at Nationals Park between the Marlins and Nationals has been called off due to rain and will not be made up. The Marlins have also announced that Thursday's scheduled starter, Anibal Sanchez, will now be skipped in the rotation. The Marlins will go with Chris Volstad, Ricky Nolasco and Scott Olsen in their three-game series with the New York Mets.