Monday, July 09, 2007

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Isotopes
Overview: 45-46 2.5 GB
Top Hitters: Robert Andino .281-6-26, Scott Seabol .299-19-61, Val Pascucci .271-22-72
Top Pitchers: Chris George 5-7 5.60, Jeff Fulchino 6-2 5.83, Nate Field 6-4-2.12-10 Saves

State of the 'Topes: The Marlins AAA team is filled with plenty of veteran players. The past several years have taught us that the Marlins front office has viewed Albuquerque only as a place for major league ready players to tweak their game (i.e. Reggie Abercrombie, Matt Treanor, and Jason Vargas). With that said, it's rare to find prospects at AAA as opposed to Zebulon.

The Pacific Coast League All Star Game will be played at the Isotopes' home ballpark this year. The home team will field three representatives: Andino, Seabol, and Pascucci.

Andino was the Marlins second round pick back in 2002 and has proved himself in AAA. This is the shortstop's second consecutive All-Star game. Unfortunately it looks like Andino won't be taking grounders at Dolphins Stadium anytime soon due to Hanley Ramirez. The Miami native has seen limited action for the Marlins in 2005 and 2006, when Ramirez was injured. This is Andino's second season with the Topes.

Seabol is one of 18 Isotopes players born in the 1970s. Seabol was drafted back in 1996 by the New York Yankees. His career has seen 11 years in the minors and just 59 games in the majors. This is his second year in Albuquerque and he must love it there. Last season he batted .314, well above his .285 career average. The third baseman will continue swinging a hot bat in AAA but will only impact the Marlins if something happens to Miguel Cabrera.

Pascucci is another veteran hitter for Dean Treanor's Isotopes. The right fielder spent the past two seasons playing overseas. He is leading the Topes with 22 home runs and 72 runs batted in. Again, he role is most likely to provide insight to some of the younger guys like Abercrombie and Brett Carroll.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 8-12, 4 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .296-16-54, Chase Lambin .279-10-35, Grant Psomas .247-9-35
Top Pitchers: Gaby Hernandez 4-8 3.57, Jesus Delgado 5-6 5.87, James Russ 1-3 3.71

State of the Mudcats: Carolina finished the first half 28-42 but don't let their record scare you. There is plenty of talent in Zebulon but they didn't get their breaks during the first half. The Mudcats have four players in the Southern League All-Star game and two of them deserve your attention.

Pitcher Gaby Hernandez was prospect the Marlins acquired for Paul Lo Duca in 2005. Since joining the Marlins organization, Hernandez has pitched lights out. He mastered High A Jupiter last season and proving to do the same with AA hitters. Hernandez was named the Marlins Organization Pitcher of the month for a June where he allowed just five earned runs. He has an excellent fastball but is stuck with the many other talented pitchers in the Marlins farm system.

Third baseman Lee Mitchell has been the leader of the Mudcats. He is the team's triple crown leading slugger, but has to work on his patience at the plate. The Marlins 2003 6th round pick has struck out 100 times while walking just 44. Mitchell leads the team in strikeouts, but has crushed the ball all summer long. Keep your eye on this kid.

Jupiter Hammerheads

Class A

Florida State League
Overview: 8-9 2.5 GB
Top hitters: Andrew Jenkins .313-2-39, Gaby Sanchez .278-4-42, J.T. Restko .272-4-28
Top Pitchers: Chris Volstad 7-7 4.16, Ryan Tucker 5-4 3.52, Brett Sinkbeil 3-4 4.14

Monday, August 14, 2006

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Player Spotlight: Kevin Randel Carolina Mudcats (Class AA)

Randel might be another name added to the 2002 draft class success that has Jeremy Hermida, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Robert Andino already seeing major league action. Randel has powerful numbers for a second baseman: .283-12-48. In order to get serious looks from Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, the Long Beach State grad needs to do what he did best in college: have his walk total surpass his strikeouts to show plate patience. Since drawing 43 walks and k'ing 42 times his last season for the 49ers, Randel nearly twice as much. Last season Randel walked 58 times but struck out 95 times. I wouldn't be surprised if Randel gets called up when Major League rosters expand to 40 players in September. If the Marlins are out of the playoff hunt by then expect Randel to see some action.

Albuquerque Isotopes
Overview: 58-61 11.5 GB
Top Hitters: Robert Andindo .251-7-39, Mike Kinkade .324-4-48, Jason Wood .282-11-68
Top Pitchers: Nick Ungs 8-9-4.26, Renyel Pinto 8-2-3.40, Brad Clontz 6-4-4.15-17 Saves

Game of the week: 8/11 Topes 4 Nashville Sound 2

Yusmeiro Petit was the star during the series opener against the Sound. The Marlins pitcher who has bounced from the majors to AAA pitched sevewn solid innings allowing just two runs while striking out four and scattering five hits. The Topes manufactered four runs off eight timely hits. The four runs were scored by two sacrifices, a double play, and a single.

News: Isotopes outfielder Eric Reed has a 17 game hitting streak as of the end of the weekend.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 32-38 11.5 GB 1st Half
22-28 8 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .244-11-48, Kevin Randel .283-12-48, Ryan Bear .254-6-49
Top Pitchers: Paul Mildren 10-7-3.85, James Russ 6-8-3.79, Adam Bostick II 8-7-3.52

Game of the Week: 8/9 Mudcats 3 Birmingham Barons 2

Starting pitcher James Russ appeared to be in trouble after four and a half innings. Despite pitching seven innings, Russ's squad was down 2-0. The Mudcats finally got a run across Barons starter Adam Russell in the home portion of the fifth. The run scored off a wild throw by Barons catcher Wally Rosa. An inning later Barons reliever Arnie Munoz blew a save after his balk scored Kevin Randel.The game was eventually decided off a solo homer by Mitchell in the seventh.

Jamestown Jammers

Class A Short Season

New York-Penn League
Overview: 25-27
Top hitters: Jacob Blackwood .332-2-23, John Raynor .265-3-17, Spike McDougall .285-1-25
Top Pitchers: Kyle Winters 5-4-2.47, Graham Taylor 3-4-2.31, Brett Sinkbeil 2-0 1.23

Game of the Week: 8/13 Jammers 4 Staten Island 3

Starter Winters pitched 7 2/3 innings giving up two runs and scattered four hits. The Jammers scored four runs off three RBI singles hit in the first, fourth, and sixth innings by Jacob Blackwood, Blake Ochoa, and McDougall respectively. The game was ultimately decided by an up-the-middle single by Justin Webb in the eighth.

Marlins 6 Diamondbacks 5

Ricky Nolasco increased his win total to 11 after pitching 7.1 innings Sunday in the Arizona heat. Nolasco left a three run lead to the bullpen that was nearly blown in the ninth. The former Cubs prospect struck out four batters while giving up two homers in front of 30,974 at Arizona's Chase Field.

Miguel Cabrera's biggest fan on Sunday had to be the 6'2 pitcher. Cabrera went two for four Sunday driving in four Marlins runs. Cabrera's seventh inning two run homer gave the Marlins and Nolasco a commanding 6-3 lead.

Entering the ninth with a three run lead, Marlins closer Joe Borowski lacked control on Sunday and nearly cost Nolasco his 11th win, which put him three behind Dontrelle Willis' team rookie-high victory total of 14 set in 2003. Borowski gave up a leadoff double followed by a triple to start his day. A sacrifice hit by Shawn Green put the Marlins lead at one and caused Nolasco to chew on his nails a little harder. The Marlins closer settled down and ended the game on a strikeout and fly out to pick up his 26th save. Borowski's career high was 33 set back in 2003.

Josh Willingham led the Marlins offense with a 3-4 day at the plate, a day which saw 10 Marlin hits. Dan Uggla went 2-5 but scored three times.

Series Wrap-Up
The Marlins took two out of three from the third place Diamondbacks and are currently seven games under the .500 mark and 5.5 games behind the Wild Card leading Cincinnati Reds. The upcoming series against the NL West leading Dodgers is important in showing that we can come back from being swept by a first place team. Dontrelle Willis will look to take a series opening victory in his home state.

Wacky Stat of the Night: The Tank faced one batter in the eighth yet pitched 0.2 innings thanks to a double play.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Inside the Television

Ever wonder what the press box looks like during a game?
Thanks to the kind gesture of Florida Marlins broadcaster Rich Waltz and FSN, I was able to observe what a baseball game looks like from up there. Here’s my story.

Exit out of the elevator and you will enter into a world that many greats have been in: Vin Scully, Jack Buck, and Mel Allen. While these successful people achieve glitz and glamour, they are just a part of the team. There are many perks to work in that team: your own private entrance, a free buffet, and make a baseball stadium your office. However as soon as you walk into the FSN booth you realize it’s more than just two men that put on a successful show.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the 25-30 people on the other side of the camera. We all see the tasks for Marlin broadcasters Rich Waltz or Tommy Hutton but what we don’t see is the seven people operating in the press box. Working alongside the on-air talent is an audio manager, stage manager, statistician, cameraman, and a high tech cameraman. All work together to achieve a relaxed atmosphere in a demanding industry but who could blame them, they are getting paid to watch baseball. Spend one inning with the professional yet humorous group and you’ll find that a smile is a sign of success. Jon, the cameraman said it best, “Can you believe we get paid for this?”

The second most noticeable difference is the technicality involved to cover something as simple as a major league baseball game. Six cameras are stationed throughout Dolphins Stadium to make sure every inch is covered. Microphones are placed behind home plate, in both bullpens, the Marlins dugout and in the outfield. In addition to all the equipment is the 10 manned TV booth filled with 66 TV’s.

A producer and director work together to make sure stories get told and the best camera angle is on the air. Three graphic specialists work behind them constantly changing stats and providing stressful humor. In the next room are three people rewinding the live action to provide us with instant replays. Production Manger Chip Singer said, “Imagine a big TiVo and that’s what they do.” These men work together and are constantly working hard in a cold, dark office room, but that’s what they have to do. The most technical man in the booth is the audio man. He has the task of pleasing all the ears involved in the production crew along with us, the audience.

In general, these people are passionate about what they do and aren’t afraid to smile and cut jokes. They are quick to refrain from proper titles like Mr., Ms, or sir and mam. Believe me, only my parents would be proud of saying all those titles. They love what they do and do what they love. Isn’t that the life?

I’d like to thank Fox Sports Net and Rich Waltz for allowing a college student fueled by dreams into their workplace. It’s a simple thing for them but the world to others. Continue to shine even though the Marlins don’t.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Marlins 6 Mets 5

Who says homeruns are overrated?

Whoever says such a thing seems to forget games like this. While only four of the 18 hits during Tuesday’s opener against the visiting Mets fell into the stands, seven of the 11 runs scored Tuesday night were a result of them; and runs wins ballgames.

The biggest homerun came off the bat from a guy who spent the first 2 hours and 45 minutes of the game from the bench, pinched hit, and only saw one pitch.

Josh Willingham's two run homer off Mets closer Billy Wagner was the first walk off homer in 186 Marlin games, the longest drought in the majors. After a Miguel Olivo leadoff single and a Wes Helm sac bunt, the stage was set for the hottest hitting Marlin batter.

After hitting just two homeruns in his previous 101 at-bats, Willingham has homered five times since “Miami Vice” came out (his last 16 at-bats for those unfamiliar to Sonny Crockett). That isn't even counting the homer taken away by Braves centerfielder Jeff Francour in Atlanta last week. Now with 16, Willingham is tied with Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla for Marlin bragging rights.

The Marlins got in a 5-4 hole after Mets leadoff hitter Jose Reyes homered off newly placed reliever Randy Messenger in the seventh. Messenger replaced an aggressive Scott Olsen who was seeking to be the first of his teammates to 10 wins. Olsen pitched six innings, giving up six hits while whiffing 10 Mets. The "home grown" Kalamazoo native helped the cause after his two out RBI double to right field tied the game up at four in the fourth.

The Mets tagged Olsen for three runs in the third thanks to a two run shot by Centerfielder Carlos Beltran and a Paul Lo Duca RBI single. Before Olsen's RBI double, Hanley Ramirez made something out of the seventh slot and cranked a two run dinger in the fourth.

Crazy Stat of the Night:

After Beltran hit the scoreboard in the leadoff inning, Marlins shortstop Ramirez anticipated the bounce and fired a shot from 275+ feet to home plate, which kept Jose Reyes from scoring. Beltran was so surprised the shortstop made the play that he lost his footing and was hung out to dry. Beltran would have eventually scored on Delgado’s single.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Player Spotlight: Jason Wood AAA- Isotopes

The minor leagues are the place where prospects are many as are dreams of making it to the majors. However, it’s hard to call a 36 year young infielder who has played 15 seasons in the minor leagues a prospect or dreaming of the majors. Wood graduated from Fresno State in 1991, a time when most of his teammates were starting proper schooling. Wood played nine seasons in the Oakland A's farm system before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Bip Roberts. Wood has totaled over 1,500 minor league hits and is 100 RBI shy of 1,000.

Albuquerque Isotopes
Overview: 54-56 12.5 GB
Top Hitters: Robert Andindo .255-6-36, Mike Kinkade .328-4-39, Jason Wood.293-10-63
Top Pitchers: Nick Ungs 8-9-4.38, Renyel Pinto 8-2-3.40, Brad Clontz 6-4-4.43-16 Saves

Game of the week: 7/26 Isotopes 4 Fresno Grizzlies 3

The Grizzlies took a 3-0 lead into the ninth before giving up four runs to the home 'Topes. Chris Aguila started the rally thanks to a throwing error followed by a Paul Hoover base hit. After three RBI singles, a strikeout, and a hits batsman, the stage was set for Jason Wood's heroics. With the bases loaded in a tie game, 36 year young infielder came through in the clutch with a single.

The second star of the game had to have been starter Yusmeiro Petit, whom Marlins fans are familiar. Petit threw seven solid innings giving up only a solo homer in the sixth. Reliever J.B. Miadich allowed two unearned runs in the eighth.

News: The fourth Annual All-Faiths Night will be held next Sunday. Better not put Mel Gibson fans near Jewish people.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 32-38 11.5 GB 1st Half
13-26 9 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .246-9-43ran, Kevin Randel .279-11-42, Ryan Bear .241-5-45
Top Pitchers: Paul Mildren 10-7-3.79, James Russ 5-8-3.83, Adam Bostick II 5-7-4.10

Game of the Week: 7/21 Mudcats 8 Huntsville Stars 2

Starter Jose Garcia took a perfect game into the seventh inning before giving a leadoff double to Stars Centerfielder Travis Ezi. Garcia retired the first 18 batters on Friday night's 8-2 victory over the division rival Stars. Garcia (3-3), who also pitched for Jupiter and Albuquerque this season, ended his night pitching seven innings while striking out 10 Stars and walking none.

Garcia benefited from eight runs early in Friday's contest.

News: Since their win in the opener, the Mudcats lost the remaining three games of the series. Their offense continues to be their weakness as they scored just three runs in those loses while allowing 25. But do not fear, The Marlins front office have looked to fix the problem. The Mudcats welcome RHP Trevor Hutchinson, C Greg Brown and OF JC Muniz, who have been promoted from High-A Jupiter.

Greensboro Grasshoppers

Class A South Atlantic
Overview: 17-19 8 GB
Top hitters: Andrew Jenkins .279-4-59, Kris Harvey .248-15-59, Gaby Sanchez .317-14-40
Top Pitchers: Chris Volstad 9-7 3.44, Aaron Thompson 6-7 3.66, Sean West 5-4 3.66

Game of the Week: 7/26 Hoppers 8 Braves 2

The Grasshoppers brought their bats with them during last Wednesday's 8-2 rout over the first half division winner Rome Braves. The Hoppers hustled early in the game. Harvey' triple in the top of the first scored two runs. The Hoppers pushed across five runs in the fourth innings thanks to two RBI singles, a throwing error, and a two run homer by Jonathan Fulton. Sean West earned the win going six innings with seven hits and three earned runs given up. West struck out four

Friday, July 21, 2006

Owner’s following dreams

Who hasn't spent times at night dreaming of being the next Nolan Ryan? At one point or another, every little leaguer has promised themselves to become baseball’s greatest. For 25 men, they accomplished that feat without any baseball talent.

Take a look around Major League Baseball owners and you will find an undying passion for the game. Their success in business but failure and commitment in owning a baseball team shows us just how beloved the game of baseball is to Americans. Men who have accomplished all that could be done in their industry live a dream in a baseball business that costs millions yet doesn't give back as much.

In 2002, a team of investors led by John Henry purchased the Boston Red Sox for $700 million. With a payroll of $125 million, the Illinois Commodity Trade Advisor is in an arms race with rival Yankee owner George Steinbrenner over the most valuable franchise in the league, according to Forbes Magazine. However last season, the operating costs for the Red Sox was negative 18.5 million. Henry is not the only one to cough up a large sum to own a baseball team. In fact, multiple industries are involved with Major League Baseball.

Cincinnati Reds owner Robert Castellini’s company has the largest amount of produce in the Midwest. Castellini, along with previous partner Carl Linder, purchased the Reds from long-time controversial owner Marge Schott in 1999. Castellini became majority shareholder of the 130 year old franchise for $270 million last season. The produce magnate made millions in wholesale but faced many problems with the Reds as attendance dropped 15% last season as the team completed its fifth straight losing season.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arturo Moreno became the first Hispanic owner when the New Mexican native purchased the team from the Walt Disney Company for $184 million in 2003. Since then, the value of the team has doubled to $368 million. Moreno was the CEO of Outdoor Systems, a billboard company that was purchased by Infinity Broadcasting for $8 billion dollars. Moreno cut ticket and beer prices and increased payroll which lead to the team’s financial success.

Little Caesars, Arby's, and Safeway all have ties to baseball ownership. Mike Ilitch (Little Caesar’s) purchased the Detroit Tigers back in 1992 for $82 million. William DeWitt’s firm, which owns Arby’s, is the managing partner for the St. Louis Cardinals. The brewing tycoon Busch family sold the Cardinals to DeWitt after 50 years and 15 NL pennants of family run ownership for $150 million.

Four Companies (Time Warner, the Tribune Company, Rogers Communications, and Nintendo), two Wal-Mart chairmen, an art dealer, a ship builder, a Real Estate developer and former Sports Agent all own a major league team. Heck, even the game itself owned a team before selling the rights of the Washington Nationals to a real estate developer for $450 million.

In a country where only efficient businesses survive, a baseball team proves otherwise. Many teams fail to match operating costs and the price per win ratio is drastic. While some owners keep payroll low to prevent large debts, others open their wallet in hopes of buying a World Series ball club. Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, an investor, hoped to accomplish that feat when he paid Alex Rodriguez a quarter of a billion dollars to play shortstop in Texas.

Despite what most owners think, the road to the World Series is won through the farm system. In the past five seasons, only one top five payroll team won the World Series (2004 Red Sox). That if you want to win a world series: give your general manager the big bucks, not your players.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pirates 5 Marlins 3

9,139 people witnessed Thursday night's 5-3 Marlin loss to the last place Pirates, and the angriest person at Dolphins Stadium: starter Josh Johnson.

The 2002 fourth round draft pick pitched seven innings allowing only a two run Jason Bay homer in the fourth and three hits. Johnson was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh, and watched what would have been his ninth win of the season turn into Logan Kensing’s fifth blow save.

Manager Joe Girardi called upon the bullpen to save a 3-2 game, but Kensing had his second blown save in the past three games. During rainy Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to the Nationals, Kensing gave up a game tying homer to Robert Fick in the eighth. Lighting struck twice Thursday night, as the Texan stood on the mound forced to watch another tying solo homer, this time by Pirates outfielder Nate McLouth.

The Marlins got to the 3-3 tie thanks to a first inning double by Hanley Ramirez that scored leadoff hitter Alfredo Amezaga. Ramirez's only hit of the game marked his third first inning RBI of the week.

The Marlins made quick work in coming back from Bay’s two run shot with their own homerun, their tenth in the past week. Mike Jacobs' fourth inning solo shot just over the left field fence pulled the game even at two. Jacobs' 14th homerun of the season put him one behind Miguel Cabrera for the team lead and was the rookie first baseman’s first opposite field shot as a Marlin.

Two back-to-back extra base hits by Cabrera and Dan Uggla gave the Marlins their second lead of the night at 3-2. Cabrera's double, his 27th of the season, ties him with Jacobs for the team lead and puts them 10th in the National League. Uggla followed suit and his triple scored Cabrera. Uggla’s triple gave him five on the season and only two back of his career high he set in 2003 for the Lancaster Jethawks.

The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the ninth when pinch hitter Jeromy Burnitz hit an RBI single off a Randy Messenger 3-2 pitch,. Jack Wilson doubled to right which put the game out of reach for the Fish.

Crazy Stat of the Night:
Thursday Night's blown save marked the 15th of the season for the young Marlins bullpen, good for third in the National League. Last season, the Marlins had 18 blown saves.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Marlins 1 Nationals 0

The Marlins were finally on the winning end of a 1-0 pitchers duel. Through 93 games, the last time the Marlins played in a one run contest: their season opening 1-0 loss to Houston. The last shutout for the Marlins came during Anibal Sanchez's first career start, a 5-0 victory in the second game of a June 25 double header against the Yankees.

Campers witnessed the same rookie starter, Sanchez, one hit the Washington Nationals through seven innings Wednesday afternoon at Dolphins Stadium. After giving up a Austin Kearns single to start the third, the "Tommy John" survivor scattered four walks while holding his last 18 batters hitless. Sanchez did not get much run support from a Marlin team that entered the game 9-19 in one run games.

Nationals’ starter Ramon Ortiz also pitched seven innings, but Cody Ross' homer in the bottom of the second proved to be the difference in this divisional rivalry. Ross, the lone New Mexican in the league, has five career home runs, none bigger than Wednesday's shot.

The Marlins have been no stranger to hitting the long ball. They have hit 32 homers in the past 30 days, good for fourth best in the National League.

The solo jack proved all the Marlins pitching staff would need for support. After Sanchez walked Kearns to start the eighth, manager Joe Girardi learned from Tuesday's mistake and pulled his starter before he ran out of gas. Tuesday night Dontrelle Willis was one strike away from ending the seventh with a two run Marlin lead. Instead, an Alex Escobar two RBI single tied the game. Girardi went with Taylor Tankersley who recorded two outs before intentionally walking Alfonso Soriano to strike Felipe Lopez out.

Closer Joe Borowski earned his 19th save of the season and has allowed just one earned run in his past five games. Borowski got a huge strikeout in Marlon Anderson with runners on the corners and only one out. The 35 year old Rutgers grad got Kearns to fly out to end the game.

Wacky Stat of the Day:
Cody Ross hit 101 minor league homers during seven seasons. He has only six career major league homers in 145 major league at-bats. None bigger than Wednesday's 1-0 victory.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Marlins 4 Nationals 2

Revenge could not be sweeter for three Marlin pitchers. Ricky Nolasco, Taylor Tankersley, and Joe Borowski combined two blown saves, three losses and a 14.50 ERA during their last trip to the nation's capital. Monday night's 4-2 victory over the same Nationals played like a movie.

Nolasco pitched seven innings scattering five hits and allowing one run. The California native retired nine of his first ten batters before giving up a homer to Felipe Lopez in the top of fourth. The solo shot tied the game since Hanley Ramirez's leadoff homer at the bottom of the first. Nolasco earned his first victory since watching his ERA skyrocket from 3.26 to 5.00 in just two starts.

Nolasco must have wanted to beat the Nationals so bad, that he decided to do it himself offensively. After an RBI single by Jeremy Hermida in the fourth, the .190 hitting pitcher slugged a single that brought two runs in that would eventually be the difference in the game.

Hermida finished the night with three hits and an RBI. However, he dropped a routine fly ball in the seventh hit by Nick Johnson, who eventually scored. Hermida paid his debt back to Nolasco the next play by legging out a bullpen bound foul ball.

Tankersley pitched a perfect eighth against a team that gave the Alabama grad his first blown save of his career. Tankersley walked in the tying run in the seventh inning of a 8-7 loss to the Nationals on July 6.

Borowski got his revenge as well in the name of Ryan Zimmerman. The rookie third baseman hit a slider for a walk off homer on Independence Day off Borowski. In Monday night's game, Zimmerman represented the tying run with a runner on first. Borowski faced his demons and got the Virginia Cavalier to fly out on a 3-2 pitch to left.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Borowski said, "I always remember what guys have done to me before. I went with a fastball (on a 3-2 count) because I figured he was looking slider and got him to pop up."

Guess Zimmerman was thinking slider.

Wacky Stat of the Night:
Hanley Ramirez's leadoff homer (8) tied his career high that he hit while a member of the 2003 Augusta Greenjackets

Monday, July 17, 2006

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Player Spotlight: Kris Harvey Greensboro Grasshoppers (Class A)

Harvey was a two way star at Clemson University when the Marlins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft. In his last season in South Carolina, the son of Marlin Closer Bryan went 5-4 with a 5.52 ERA and had a .339 batting average with 24 dingers and 69 runs batted in. Since his offense numbers were far better than his pitching, both the Hoppers and Jamestown Jammers have used him in the outfield. As of July 17, Harvey is hitting .259 with 15 homers and 53 RBI. Harvey needs to focus on his patience at the plate if he wishes to progress to Zebulon this season. Through 84 games, Harvey has struck out 68 times and walked just 22.

Albuquerque Isotopes
Overview: 46-49 13.5 GB 2nd Place
Top Hitters: Robert Andindo .266-6-31, Mike Kinkade .338-4-32, Jason Wood.299-10-53
Top Pitchers: Nick Ungs 7-8-3.90, Renyel Pinto 7-2-3.24, Brad Clontz 4-4-4.08-15 Saves

Game of the week: 7/16 Iowa Cubs 5 Isotopes 4

The Cubs and 'Topes must have loved the weather in Albuquerque on Sunday; so much they played 17 innings, 12 of which had no runs. The five hour game saw 26 hits, nine runs, and two homeruns. Andino's solo homer in the eighth tied the game at three. The 'Topes bullpen held the Cubs to eight scoreless innings before giving up a two run homer with two outs in the top of the 17. Andino's RBI single in the home portion proved to be too little too late.

News: The Isotopes lost four straight games to the Iowa Cubs since coming back from the All-Star Break. Andino represented the Isotopes at the game, but grounded out to B.J. Upton in his one at-bat. The Isotopes will spend the week playing a home and away series against the New Orleans Zephyrs. The Isotopes lead the season series at 7-1.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 32-38 11.5 GB 1st Half
9-16 6 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .246-9-39, Kevin Randel .256-9-32, Ryan Bear .232-4-38
Top Pitchers: Paul Mildren 8-7-3.46, James Russ 5-7-3.54, Adam Bostick II 5-6-4.13

Game of the Week: 7/12 Mudcats 3 Montgomery Biscuits 1

Mildren pitched yet another gem for the Mudcats. In seven innings, the undrafted southpaw gave up just one earned run of four hits. The Mudcats provided Mildren with 10 hits, five of which were two baggers. The win snapped a three game losing streak and provided a welcome to the start of the second half.

News: Since their win in the opener, the Mudcats lost the remaining three games of the series. Their offense continues to be their weakness as they scored just three runs in those loses while allowing 25. But do not fear, The Marlins front office have looked to fix the problem. The Mudcats welcome RHP Trevor Hutchinson, C Greg Brown and OF JC Muniz, who have been promoted from High-A Jupiter.

Jamestown Jammers

Class A Short Season

New York-Penn League
Overview: 13-11 1 GB
Top hitters: Jacob Blackwood .300-2-10, John Raynor .278-2-10
Top Pitchers: Brett Sinkbeil 2-0-1.23, Kyle Winters 2-2-1.80, Graham Taylor 1-2-1.66

Game of the Week: 7/17 Jammers 9 Aberdeen IronBirds 1

The Jammers had their bats ready right from the start of Sunday's 9-1 victory at Ripken Stadium. Scoring five runs before getting three outs, Jammer starting pitcher Parrish Castor had all the run support he needed in his five inning victory. Timely hitting proved to be the Jammers' best friend on Sunday, they manufactured seven runs off two singles, a sac hit, a walk, a wild pitch, and a two run double.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Momentum is only as good as tomorrow's starting pitcher."

A day after suffering the record for worst defeat in Marlin home history, Marlins tied a batting record without their best slugger. Marlin hitters sent four souvenir balls in the stands on Sunday afternoon in a 9-3 win over the Houston Astros. The four homeruns tied a Marlins record for homeruns in a game, which has been accomplished 28 times.

Manager Joe Girardi turned to the aggressive southpaw Scott Olsen to quiet an Astros offense that recorded 12 runs the night before. After mouthing off to All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera in his last start, it appears Girardi didn't want to risk it again so he sat the teams triple crown leader.

It appeared the Marlins were headed towards another blowout after a Lance Berkman double in the fifth scored two runs and have the reigning NL champs a 3-0 lead over the Fish. Preston Wilson gave the Astros an early 1-0 lead thanks to his double in the first. Olsen pitched 5.1 innings giving up three runs off six hits.

The Marlins were down 3-0 at one point, but Astros starter Taylor Buchholz pitched into a jam in the fifth. After a solo homerun to Wes Helm, the 6'4 Pennsylvanian walked two batters before giving up a three run homer to Hanley Ramirez, which gave the Marlins a lead they would never lose.

The hit parade was followed in the sixth by Jeremy Hermida's third homerun of the season. Slugger Mike Jacobs' homer run (13th) in the seventh tied himself with Dan Uggla for second on the Marlins. After an Uggla single and Hermida strike out, Joe Borchard was hit by a pitch. With two on and two out, Helms doubled both runs in and racked up three RBI on the day. The scoring ended in the home portion of the eighth when Jacobs doubled in Alfredo Amezaga.

Wacky Stat of the Night
Dan Uggla, Sunday's cleanup hitter, marked only the second time that a Marlin second baseman hit in the fourth slot. (Kurt Abbot hit cleanup in September 1997)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On the eve of the Midsummer Classic at PNC Park, Floridamarlinsbaseball takes a look back on the success of Marlins at the games premier exposure of talent. Losing franchises like Pittsburg or Kansas City continue to make the "every team must field at least one" rule mean a player on a better team must sit out so a Royal can be on the squad. The Marlins are not part of this depreciation of the All-Star Game.

Of the 13 up and down seasons for the Marlins, five times they sent a lone member to the festivities. One of them, Edgar Renteria, is starting for the National League tomorrow night. Another, Jeff Conine, won the MVP when he traveled to Arlington by himself. The other two sole Marlins were Alex Gonzalez back in 1999 and Ryan Dempster in 2000.

The most Marlins at an All-Star game were four, and it happened twice. Last season Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca, Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera represented the 44-42 Marlins. A year before that Armando Benitez, Cabrera, Mike Lowell, and Carl Pavano went.

Both times the Marlins won the World Series, they sent three players. Jim Leyland only took Renteria to Denver when he managed the 1998 National League squad. Jack McKeon took four to Houston when he coached. Mike Lowell holds the record with three Marlin All-Star game appearances from 2002 to 2004. He was on second base when Benito Santiago's strike out ended the 2002 Classic in a 7-7 tie.

Mr. Marlin is the only member to come away with the MVP award when his 1995 eighth inning pinch hit solo homer off Steve Ontiveros was sent 410 feet to the lower deck in left field of Arlington Stadium.

Marlin hitters have had better luck at the All-Star Game than pitchers. The Marlins have sent a positional player to the All-Star game in every season except for 2000. The Marlin All-Stars have collected eight hits in 13 seasons totaling a .250 average. Perhaps the best offensive game for a Fish was in our first appearance at the 1993 game when Gary Sheffield went 2-3 with one homer and two RBI.

Marlin pitchers didn't allow a run in the game until 2004 when Pavano worked two innings and gave up a two run dinger to David Ortiz in the sixth. A year later, Willis was also at the receiving end of a sixth inning two run homer. Mark Teixeira's dinger would turn out to be the game winner of a 7-5 contest. Perhaps the Houston Astros could thank Willis for giving the White Sox home field advantage in the World Series. In 13 seasons, the Marlins have a 6.00 ERA.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Player Spotlight: Robert Andino AAA- Isotopes
Andino was selected by the Marlins in the second round of the 2002 draft. Andino was drafted to be the understudy of Alex Gonzalez and shine when he left. However the market correction affected Andino’s future as Hanley Ramirez was quickly inserted as the shortstop of the future. Andino played in five games while Ramirez was nursing a shoulder injury going four for 18. Andino was selected to the AAA All-Star, replacing teammate Scott Seabol, who had his contract purchased by a team in Korea. Andino is .267 with 40 runs scored, tied for the most on the team.

Albuquerque Isotopes
Overview: 46-45 11.5 GB 2nd Place
Top Hitters: Scott Seabol .314-17-46, Mike Kinkade .330-4-32, Jason Wood.298-10-51
Top Pitchers: Nick Ungs 7-8-3.87, Renyel Pinto 7-2-3.26, Brad Clontz 4-3-3.82-15 Saves

Game of the week: 7/7 Isotopes 11 Memphis Redbirds 2
Redbird's starter John Webb took a perfect game into the seventh inning until Isotope All Star shortstop Andino hit a sharp single. Times got from bad to worse for Webb when two batters later, Jason Stokes hit a go ahead three run homer. The Isotopes added a two run homer by Paul Hoover and finished on Stokes second three run homer on the night. Not bad after going hitless into the seventh.

News: The Isotopes welcomed RHP Jose Garcia from AA Carolina. Garcia has been all over the Marlins farm system. Garcia spent the first two months of the season with the Jupiter Hammerheads where he totaled a 6-2 1.87 ERA. He then breezed through AA Carolina in five starts where he went 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 32-38 11.5 GB 1st Half
8-12 4 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .251-9-40, Kevin Randel .251-9-29, Ryan Bear .234-4-38
Top Pitchers: Paul Mildren 7-7-3.60, James Russ 5-6-3.48, Adam Bostick II 5-6-4.13

Game of the Week: 7/5 Mudcats 7 Jacksonville Suns 2
The Mudcats got a strong start from Mildren, who became the staff's only seven game winner. In seven solid innings, Mildren allowed two runs while striking out seven. Lee Mitchell collected three hits to lead the Mudcats who totaled nine. Kevin Randel hit a two run homer in the seventh to give the Mudcats a 5-2 lead.

Greensboro Grasshoppers

A- South Atlantic
Overview: 9-9 4 GB
Top hitters: Gabriel Sanchez .317-14-40, Kris Harvey .268-14-49,
Andrew Jenkins .292-4-49
Top Pitchers: Chris Volstad 8-7 3.74, Sean West 3-4 2.77, Blake Jones 6-2 3.57 15 Saves

Game of the Week: 7/8 Hoppers 4 Hickory Crawdads 2

Volstad, the Marlins first round pick from 2005, led the Grasshoppers with five solid innings giving up just one hit, a homerun in the first inning. The Palm Beach Gardens grad picked up the win thanks to four strong innings from the bullpen.Rafael Galbizo (3-3 4.04) picked up a hold after allowing just one run during the sixth and seventh inning. Mauro Zarate (1-2 3.75) earned the save. 2005 11th round pick Andrew Jenkins (Oregon St) gave the Hoppers the lead after his two run homer in the fifth inning made the score 3-2. The Hoppers scored two runs off sacrifices in the home portion of the fourth and seventh.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2006 Florida Marlins vs. 2006 "Florida Marlins"
An interesting look at what might have been

Part II- Pitching

The off-season saw the Marlins part ways with three starters along with their set-up man and closer. In their place, the Fish have used nine rookies.

Had the Marlins signed AJ Burnett, kept Josh Beckett, Todd Jones, Guillermo Mota and Antonio Alfonseca, the price tag would have been 18.1 million dollars. Burnett struck gold with the Blue Jays (5 years- 55 million). Todd Jones saw his salary increase from 1.1 million to 5.8. Beckett joined a rotation where he was no longer the ace.

Five of the 2005 Marlins pitching squad are no longer in the majors. Al Leiter and Jim Mecir retired. Nate Bump and Antonio Alfonseca were sent back to the minors. And Ismael Valdez is listed as "unsigned".

The starting rotation for the 2006 Marlins has been anything but typical. Four starters weren't even in the rotation at the start of the season. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco began the season out of the bullpen, while Yusmeiro Petit and Anibal Sanchez started in the minor leagues.

Starting Pitchers
Josh Beckett- 11-4 4.75 Salary 4.3 Million
AJ Burnett- 1-3 4.58 Salary: 2.2 million


Josh Johnson 8-4 2.21 Salary: 327,000
Scott Olsen 6-4 4.17 Salary: 327,000
Ricky Nolasco 6-6 5.00 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: Josh Johnson has been making a name for himself this season. Johnson has been one of the most reliable arms for manager Joe Girardi. The two time NL Rookie of the Month has not allowed more than four runs this season. Olsen and Nolasco have had an up and down season but both have avoid the Disabled List, a place Beckett was all too familiar with while a Marlin. Beckett has kept his blister problem away and is one of the reasons the Red Sox sit on top of the AL East. Burnett however has no had the same luck. The former eighth round pick spent the first two months of his contract on the DL because of his elbow. In three of his four starts since coming back from the DL, Burnett has a 0-2 record and 6.06 ERA. While it's hard to pull away from Beckett's success this season, Johnson has been lights out.

Edge: 2006

Jones 1-5 5.82 23 Saves Salary: 5.8 million
Mota 1-3 6.12 Salary: 3 million
Alfonseca- 0-0 9.82 Salary: 275 Million


Borowski 0-2 3.71 16 Saves Salary: 327,000
Logan Kensing 1-1 3.20 Salary: 600,000
Matt Herges 0-2 4.05 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: Todd Jones has saved 23 victories for the surprising Detroit Tigers. His ERA is high but has saved his last seven chances. Mota failed in his audition for the Cleveland Indians set-up man. Alfonseca has had even worse luck. He never fit in on the Texas Rangers bullpen and was placed off waivers.
Borowski is a member of yet another turnaround closer for the Florida Marlins. Since 2003, General Manager Larry Beinfest has seen a closer more than double their previous season save total. In 2003, Braden Looper increased 15 saves. In 2004, Armando Benitez upped 26 and last season Jones jump from two saves in 2004 to 40.
However, the Marlins have failed to produce quality arms to take them from the starting pitcher's arm to the closer. Mota was the set-up man last season and it appears Kensing or Herges to be it this season.

Edge: Draw

Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 Florida Marlins vs. 2006 "Florida Marlins"
An interesting look at what might have been

Many experts have compared this 2006 Florida Marlins ball club to the 1998 Marlins squad. Both years marked a large cutback on payroll, which assumed a cutback on victories. However, this 2006 team have proved a substantial amount of money loss could translate into a negligible drop in wins. Halfway through this season, the Marlins are just eight game behind the pace of last years 60 million dollar team. Many feared that the result of the 1998 dismantling of the Marlins which saw 92 wins turn into 108 losses within a year would occur again.

The 1997 World Series Champions finished 92-70 with a payroll of 47,753,000 (according to USA Today's salary database). Within months, most of the stars were traded. Moises Alou to Houston. Kevin Brown to San Diego. The trade involving Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, and Charles Johnson marked the end of the dismantling. By the start of the 1999 season, payroll was trimmed down to 14,998,500 and fans were left shuffling through a newspaper to find exactly who was playing on the field.

Fast forward to this 2006 Marlins Squad. As said by floridamarlinsbaseball back in March, "The Marlins have parted ways with 916 runs, 847 hits, and 39 wins. Even if the Marlins filled the holes left from last season, they would still finish third in the East." General Manager Larry Beinfest was asked to trim the payroll down from 60 million to 15 in a matter of weeks. We are all aware that he loaded up on quality pitchers while saying goodbye to two Gold Glovers, a World Series MVP, and nine All-Stars. What you may not know is how this Marlins squad would have looked like.

*Please note that Miguel Cabrera's numbers are not included in this explanation because, well he's the only fielder still on the team. Instead I'll compare Josh Willingham to Mike Lowell.*

Had the Marlins kept the seven players in their 2005 batting order, the payroll for them would be 46.15 million dollars. Six of the seven "replacements" on the current team get the league minimum of 327,000. The current Marlins batting order earns 2.7 million dollar.

This season, the 2006 Marlins are hitting .262 with 71 homeruns and 308 RBI (minus Cabrera). The seven former Marlins are collectively hitting .276 with 53 homeruns and 236 RBI total for their 2006 respective teams.

Injuries would plague this team of former Marlins. Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca, and Carlos Delgado are playing hurt. Castillo injured his right knee and his batting average has dropped to .272 and is one error shy of his 2005 total which earned his third consecutive Gold Glove. Lo Duca has been playing with a bruised thumb and Delgado's sore rib cage has him hitting .252.

The 2005 team was 44-39 on July 7 while this year’s team is 36-46. The savings of 43.45 millions dollars actually cost the Marlins just eight games and a .014 difference in batting average. So ask yourself what exactly is 43.45 million dollars actually worth? In baseball statistics, absolutely nothing.

Position-by-Position Stats (2005 players with 2006 stats are bolded)
RF- Juan Encarnacion .282-11-46 Salary:3.5 Million
Jeremy Hermida .281-2-13 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: Encarnacion has been healthy all season for the Cardinals and his 46 RBI is very solid for his price tag. If Hermida stays healthy he will be the better pick of the future.

Telling Stat: At-Bats: Encarnacion 308 vs. Hermida 153
Edge: 2005 (1-0)

CF- Juan Pierre .270-1-12 Salary: 5.75 Million
Reggie Abercrombie .211-4-17 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: The Centerfield position has plagued the Marlins this season. With it being their weakness, any option would be great. Pierre has always found ways to get on base and his 26 stolen bases don't compare to Abercrombie's 4

Telling stat: Hits: Pierre 96 vs. Abercrombie 42
Edge: 2005 (2-0)

LF/3B- Mike Lowell .298-9-41 Salary: 9 million
Josh Willingham .267-10-43 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: Making nearly 28 times more than a player means there better be a huge difference in stats. Willingham's bat has led the Marlins to key victories. However his trip to the DL due to a strained ligament in his left hand is reason for concern this season. Lowell, on the other hand has proven his 2005 season a fluke but his power is far from 2003 when he hit 32 homers.

Telling Stat: OBP: Lowell .353 (9,000,000) vs. Willingham .353 (327,000)
Edge: 2006 (2-1)

SS- Alex Gonzalez .272-5-26 Salary: 2.7 Million
Hanley Ramirez .274-5-23 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: With both players having nearly identical offensive numbers it's hard to choose. Gonzalez hit in 12 of 13 games during the month of June and saw his average jump from .219 to .272. Ramirez also has his off and on streaks but has been a reliable leadoff man for the Fish.

Telling Stat: Errors- Gonzalez 2 vs. Ramirez 11
Edge: 2005 (3-1)

2B- Luis Castillo .272-2-29 Salary: 5.1 Million
Dan Uggla .311-13-50 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: We struck gold with Uggla. Simple as that. Uggla is among the best second basemen this season. Castillo's nagging injury has lead to a drop in numbers this season but still has three Gold Gloves to fall back on.

Telling Stat: Uggla is an All-Star.
Edge: 2006 (3-2)

1B- Carlos Delgado .252-22-56 Salary: 13.5 Million
Mike Jacobs .274-11-44 Salary: 327,000

Synopsis: Basically swapped for each other, both players seem to have equal stats. Jacobs has hit mostly cleanup and his power has been shown. Jacobs is second on the team with 21 doubles and his 11 homeruns puts him three behind All-Stars Cabrera and Uggla. Delgado on the other hand must enjoy getting a much needed raise. He got paid four million dollars as a Marlin last season. Sandwiched in between quality hitters, Delgado should more than surpass his 33 homers last season.

Telling Stat: Homeruns- Delgado 22 vs. Jacobs 11
Edge: 2005 (4-2)

C- Paul Lo Duca .292-3-26 Salary: 6.6 Million
Miguel Olivo .291-9-34 Salary: 700,000

Synopsis: Lo Duca has been playing damaged since he left June 24’s game with a sore thumb. While his numbers are nearly identical to last season’s, he has more passed balls and is on pace for more errors than a year ago. Olivo, a career .229 hitter is batting out of his shell this season. Olivo hit .408 in the month of June and has already played in more games than all but one season of his career.

Telling Stat: Strikeouts: Lo Duca 17 vs. Olivo 50
Edge: 2005 (5-2)

After breaking down position-by-position you realize the Marlins really did not lose much offense from a year ago. However the seven 2006 Marlins have struck out 130 more times and committed 10 more errors than the seven 2005 Marlins. The difference in stats are not as spread out as their salaries dictate. While the 2006 Marlins are not making a pennant run this year, don’t be surprised if the 2007 Marlins make an effort. Regardless of the fact, the early success of this year’s team may print out a blueprint for other teams to follow. Go young and let them learn together.

Stay tuned to Floridamarlinsbaseball as we take a look at the 2006 Pitching Squad vs. 2005.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Washington Nationals 8 Florida Marlins 7

The finale of this four game series against the Washington Nationals was just as unusual as the first three.
It was a tale of two games as both teams exploded to a 7-5 score entering the bottom of the second. Both teams closed the game going 10-80 at the plate. After scoring 12 runs and nine hits in the game's first nine outs, it looked like the game was going to be a high scoring affair.
The Nationals got to rookie Anibal Sanchez early; grabbing five runs off of just three hits before getting their first three outs. The Marlins answered back quickly with a seven run top of the second off six timely hits. Miguel Cabrera led the inning off with a walk and scored off a Josh Willingham triple, the same triple he needed in last nights three hit performance for the cycle. The Marlins crawled their way back thanks to an RBI ground rule double by hot swinging Miguel Olivo and RBI singles by Reggie Abercrombie and pitcher Anibal Sanchez. In the past two games, both Marlin starting pitchers earned their first RBI off their first single of their careers. Mike Jacobs broke the 5-5 tie with his two run cannon shot into the upper deck in right field.

That's all the offense the Marlins would have on the day.

With a two run lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning, all the Marlins had to do was prevent mental errors. But when Willingham dropped a can of corn pop out by Brian Schneider to try and get a tagging Alex Escobar out at the plate, it opened up the can of worms. Then with two outs and a runner on second and first base open, Taylor Tankersley gave a free pass to Alfonso Soriano.

That decision would be costly. Olivo had trouble picking up the lefties slider and a passed ball put both runners in scoring position. Tankersley lost command of the strike zone and walked Jose Vidro to load the bases and Ryan Zimmerman to score Schneider. Had Willingham took his time and caught the pop fly, the inning would end with a one run Marlin lead. In a perfect world.

The Fish's best chance to break the tie came in the top of the ninth with no outs when reliever Bill Bray hurried his throw to try and get speedy Reggie Abercrombie out at first. His throw ended up in the hands of right fielder Jose Guillen while Abercrombie stretched it out to third. With a runner on third and no outs, Abercrombie was stranded thanks to a strikeout, groundout, and pop out.

In a offensive stalemate, it's only fitting that the game would be decided on a defensive mistake. A throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez gave the Nats a runner at first with no outs. The runner: Schneider. A sac bunt, intentional walk, and fielder's choice later set the scene for rookie star of the series Ryan Zimmerman. The Virginia graduate delivered with a runner in scoring position after failing the previous two times on the day.

Letting a rookie beat you once: understandable
Letting the same rookie beat you again with an open base two days later: embarrassing

Stat of the Night:
1.) Brian Schneider scored the tying and game winning run despite going 0-3 at the plate. He got on base in the seventh when Willingham dropped his sac fly and again in the 11th when Ramirez committed a throwing error.

2.) National batters drew 12 walks

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Marlins 18 Nationals 9

Timely Hitting

Those are the two words to describe this offensive surge which saw 46 Marlin at-bats, 19 hits, and only five left on base. Of the 18 runs, only three runs came from a pair of homeruns hit by Miguel Cabrera and Josh Willingham in the first inning. The Fish manufactured 15 runs off six singles, four doubles, a Jose Vidro throwing error, and a sacrifice ground out. All Marlin starters earned a hit last night expect for outfielders Jeremy Hermida and Reggie Abercrombie. Six of those seven starters had multi-hit games.

The Marlins came within two runs of tying their franchise record of 20 set in a 2003 game against the Braves. Hard to believe that such a cheap team can master opposing pitchers in a divisional game. Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham lead the offensive surge with four hits a piece. Uggla ended the night with two doubles and four RBI.

The 7-4 lead held by the Marlins was blown wide open thanks to eight runs scored in the top of the fifth inning. It was a team effort tonight; the eight runs were scored due to five singles, a double, and a throwing error.

Rookie Yusmeiro Petit's prayers for run support in his first career start must have been answered. Although Petit's numbers were not lights out (6 IP, 11 hits, 5 ER), when your offense scores 18, it's easy to throw strikes and win games. Another product fresh out of Albuquerque, Renyel Pinto picked up his first save of the season as he got the last nine outs in the game allowing four runs and striking out five.

The Marlins closed their offense in the seventh after back to back doubles from Willingham and Wes Helms scored three runs. The Fish went 1-9 to close the game out after getting 18 hits.

Wacky Stat of the Night:
Washington Nationals pitcher Saul Riveria 0.1 IP 8 ER

Thursday Matinee:
Thursday's game will feature Marlin rookie Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 6.30) opposing former Marlin rookie great Livan Hernandez (6-8, 5.46). Sanchez's start will mean the Nationals have faced nothing but rookie starters during this four game series. With Brian Moehler on the 15 game DL, Dontrelle Willis stands as the only non-rookie starter left in the rotation.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nationals 6 Marlins 4

One word can describe this frustrating four game losing streak: Homeruns. In the past four days the Fish have given up 12 homeruns.

The Marlins gave some much needed run support a day after a crushing 9-1 loss to the Nationals. The holiday affair in our nation's capital provided solo fireworks from Nats Marlon Byrd along with Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez. Both fireworks got upstaged by a three run walk-off homer run by rookie Ryan Zimmerman who was down to his last strike with two outs.
Dan Uggla's double in the top of the fourth tied the game up at one and All-Star teammate Miguel Cabrera singled him in. Starter Scott Olsen gave the Fish six innings but left without the lead after giving up a two run double to Royce Clayton.
Ramirez's homer in the top of the seventh tied the game up and let Olsen off the hook. The game would be won or loss by the bullpens. It seemed like the odds were in Washington’s favor; the Nats bullpen has been 10-14 while the Marlins bullpen has been 6-15 in deciding the game.
The Marlins caught a break in the eighth by Jose Vidro's throwing error that flew Nick Johnson off the bag and allowed Cabrera to score. Drama brewed in the bottom of the eighth when Randy Messenger gave up a ground rule double to Johnson. Suddenly, with two runners in scoring position and only one out, pitching coach Rick Kranitz discussed with Messenger on the mound to try and get Jose Guillen to chase some crummy pitches. Guillen failed to do so and was intentionally walked. Girardi then called upon closer Joe Borowski to get a 1.2 inning save. Borowski pitched 1.1.

With runners on first and second, Borowski got the count to Zimmerman to 2-2 and appeared to be headed to his 16th save. However, Zimmerman got a hold of one and sent the ball to the leftfield seats. The last time DC was victorious at home on our nation's birthday: 1968.

So the Marlins will continue to die by the long ball and hope youngster Yusmeiro Petit can quiet the opposition’s bats. Peitit was called up just before his scheduled start Monday.

Petit was 9-3 with a 2.91 ERA last season for Binghamton last season, the AA affiliate for the Mets. The 21 year old Venezuelan was acquired along with Mike Jacobs for Carlos Delgado.

Anibal Sanchez will pitch the last contest of this four game series against the Nats leaving Dontrelle Willis to pitch in the Big Apple against the division leading Mets. Also on Girardi's mind is the double header scheduled for Saturday.

Taylor Tankersley continued to specialize on getting lefties out. He forced Brian Schneider to fly out and Daryle Ward to strikeout.

Wacky stat on the night:

Jeremy Hermida was forced out at second in the eighth which scored Cabrera. Hermida, for whatever reason, was not aware he was out. He broke to third and was in a rundown for a good bit before being told he was out.

Washington Nationals 9 Florida Marlins 1

Ricky Nolasco was reliable in the month of June when he went 3-2 with a 2.62 ERA. Since becoming a starter on May 17 for injured Sergio Mitre, Nolasco is 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA. Every time he has started he has gone at least six innings, with three exceptions. Two were in May and one was last night.
Every now and then a rookie pitcher will get rocked up. Last night's 9-1 loss to the Nationals was the worst start in Nolasco's brief career. He threw just four innings and allowed seven runs. Nolasco was a victim of Alfonso Soriano twice as the Dominican took him deep in the first inning and again in the fifth. Soriano was slumping prior to Monday's night game and credited not playing in Sunday's affair against Tampa as the reason for his 14th career multi-homerun game.
Homeruns have plagued the Marlins during this three game losing streak. Soriano's solo blast off the second pitch of the game compiled with his two run shot in the fifth plus Jose Guillen's three run homer off reliever Matt Herges blew the game wide open. Take away those three pitches and the eight run deficit would have been a 3-1 pitchers duel. Keep in mind that Nolasco's wild pitch in the second scored the never-aging Royce Clayton.
So I understand that perhaps last night's game looks embarrassing in the paper the next day, but we're going to make mistakes. Through a 162 game season, not every start will be roses.

Keep this in mind, the last poor start Nolasco had was a 7-3 Sunday loss to the Mets on May 28. His very next start: 8 IP, 0 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB.

News from the Farm:

  • Triple-A shortstop Robert Andino was named to the All-Star team. Andino, known for his glove, is batting .265 with eight homers and 26 RBI. Marlins fans remember Andino from his five games played in mid-May due to Hanley Ramirez's sore back. Andino hit .238 and started during the Marlins seven game losing streak.
  • The Hammerheads won a wild one last night. In a tied game in the 12th inning with two out and a runner on second Dante Brinkley (acquired in the Lo Duca trade) singled in Carlos Piste to win the game. It was an infield single and Piste was hit by the pitch.
  • The Mudcats blew a lead heading into the Ninth inning. Reliable closer Kevin Cave was out of character last night. According to The News and Observer in Zebulon, "Cave walked the first two hitters he faced, threw a wild pitch, gave up a hit and then threw another wild pitch before getting his first out. Cave (0-2) blew his third save attempt of the season." Carolina lost 5-3 to the Smokies

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Down on The Farm

Every week, Floridamarlinsbaseball will highlight what's going on inside and outside the Marlins system. Stuff fans want to know about yet the media cannot cover. So tune in and we will fill you in what's happening in the Florida State League, Zebulon, North Carolina or Albuquerque.

Player Spotlight: Travis Bowyer AAA-Isotopes
Bowyer, the hard throwing righty, is the closer of the future for the Marlins. He was acquired from the Minnesota Twins for Luis Castillo. Last season his AAA numbers (4-2, 2.78 23 saves) led to his major league call-up. But in eight games, Bowyer had an ERA of 5.59. The Marlins knew he was not major league ready and signed veteran Joe Borowski to close out Marlin victories. After a weak spring, the Marlins optioned him off to AAA. A shoulder injury has caused Bowyer not to pitch yet this season and it looks like any hope of pitching in the majors this season is dim.

Albuquerque Isotopes

Overview: 45-39 6.5 GB 2nd Place
Top Hitters: Scott Seabol .314-17-46, Mike Kinkade .327-4-31, Jason Wood.297-9-48
Top Pitchers: Nick Ungs 7-6-3.80, Renyel Pinto 6-2-2.63, Brad Clontz 4-3-4.13-13 Saves

Game of the week: 6/27 Isotopes 6 Omaha Royals 5
The Isotopes took a 4-1 lead into the Fifth inning. In the bottom of the fourth Matt Cepicky singled in Seabol. Mark Little double later turned into 2 RBI for Chris Ashby's single. The Isotopes relied on the effective arm of starter Yusmeiro Petit. Petit gave up just three runs off as many hits after 6 IP. German got a hold but a two run homer run in the top of the eighth off reliever J.B. Miadich made the score 5-4. The Topes showed they had heart and scored off two singles by Little and Ashby. Brad Clontz pitched a perfect ninth and earned his 12 save of the season.

News: Word from South Florida that another starting pitcher (Brian Moehler) might be headed to the DL meant another call-up. And for Renyel Pinto, that means a possible start Saturday on his 24th birthday. Pinto pitched in four games during the end of May, but never more than three outs. That means we will be playing the division leading New York Mets in their home turf of the Big Apple with two pitchers who combine to throw 14 innings in their brief major league career. Sanchez, who threw 86 pitches on Saturday to relieve Moehler, was scheduled to start Wednesday, but now will start Friday.

Carolina Mudcats
Overview: 32-38 11.5 GB 1st Half
7-7 2 GB 2nd Half
Top Hitters: Lee Mitchell .232-9-36, Kevin Randel .256-8-27, Ryan Bear .247-4-35
Top Pitchers: Paul Mildren 6-6-3.66, Anibal Sanchez 3-6-3.15, James Russ 4-6-4.06

Game of the Week: 6/29 Mudcats 4 Smokies 1
It took the Mudcats eight innings until they were able to breakthrough Smokies pitching. Mudcat starter Mannyl Olivera went toe-for-toe with Smokies starter Garrett Mock in shutout innings. Mock turned the ball over after striking out 10 Mudcats in seven innings. Mitchell delivered with a hitter’s best friend: a two run, two out single. Two unearned runs scored on a throwing error from Smokies shortstop Alberto Gonzalez. Mudcat closer Kevin Cave picked up his 5th save.

Jupiter Hammerheads A-Florida State League
Overview: 2-8 6.5 GB
Top hitters: Grant Psomas .287-5-37, Brett Carroll .241-8-30, Dante Brinkley .211-7-30
Top Pitchers: Gaby Hernandez 9-4-3.62, Jose Garcia 6-2-1.87, Harvey Garcia 0-5-3.19-13 Saves

Game of the Week: 7/2 Hammerheads 3 Palm Beach Cardinals 0
Hernandez struck out nine and pitched eight shutout innings for Jupiter. The Hammerheads snapped an eight game losing streak thanks to a bases loaded situation in the sixth. With ducks on the pond, Cardinals pitcher Eric Haberer threw a wild pitch. A sac fly by Psomas and a Juan Carlos Muniz RBI groundout gave Hernandez a three run cushion.