Tagged: Mets

Lose One, Win Two, then Repeat

It wasn’t the most orthodox way of how to win a 3-game series but for the first week of baseball the Marlins figured out a motivation tool to start the season 4-2. The first 2 series of the season had the Marlins losing in game 1 each time, only to come back and win the next 2. They got romped on Opening Day to the Mets, but despite the bullpen showing it’s flaws the Marlins battled back taking the next 2 games despite giving up a 6-1 lead in the 7th to walk 9 batters on Wednesday night. They next faced the Dodgers in their home opener on Friday and lost 7-3, but the Fighting Fish didn’t let that stop them from coming back again with a walk-off win on Saturday and Jorge Cantu’s heroics on Sunday.

The guy they call JOR-GEE is having another fabulous start to the season with an impressive first week. He has come away with at least one RBI in all 6 games, including the 5 RBIs he had Sunday to bring his total to 10. Not to mention his average is a cool .320 with 2 HR and 4 doubles, so it’s no secret Cantu loves April. His stats from last season for the month of April were .365 avg with 7 HR, 22 RBI, 5 doubles and hitting behind the Hanley Ramirez doesn’t hurt either. Both those players alone have the ability to lift the team on it’s shoulders and produce runs like the 3-4 combo of Chase Ugly and Ryan Coward.

The Marlins sit in 2nd place in the NL East behind the Phillies (5-1), who play the Nationals 6 times in their first 9 games. I’m not arguing with the scheduling because the Marlins played the Nationals 6 times in the first 12 games last season, ending up 11-1 to start. Although, the Marlins haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003 and its still an even match where as the Phillies are unfortunately back-to-back NL champs. Which makes me ask why should they play the team with over 100 losses last couple years to start a season? It isn’t really the most competitive of match-ups to start defending the NL title to, and if anything the league wants the Phils to jump out at 9-0 and let everyone else play catch-up all year long.

So depending on what happens with the Marlins against the Reds, as well as the aforementioned Nationals/Phillies series, this weekend’s upcoming games should be a blast. The Marlins come to Philly to face off for the first time this season and I’ll be there for damn sure to support my Fighting Fish, despite the sea of Red and cliche Boo’s I will be surrounded by. On that note, bring on week two!

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Mr. Robertson’s Neighborhood; Praise Gaby!

Before the 2003 season the Marlins traded some prospects to get Mark Redman from the Tigers and finish out their rotation. He went on to go 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA and help the Marlins collect their 2nd World Series Championship ring in his only year as a Marlin.

One of those prospects of that trade was pitcher Nate Robertson, who went on to win 12 games his rookie year in 2004 and has made a name for himself in Detroit ever since (good or bad). In 7 years as a Tiger he was 51-68 with a 4.87 ERA averaging 193 innings a year, but injuries and surgeries have set him back the last couple seasons. This time Robertson finds himself as the bigger name in a trade bringing the pitcher back to the team he was drafted by in 1999, the Marlins.

The left handed pitcher was traded by the Tigers with cash consideration (he makes $10 million this season) for pitching prospect Jay Voss and cash. He will take over what was thought to be Clay Hensley’s job, as the 5th starter, which now makes him the only lefty in the Marlins rotation. Larry Beinfest has confirmed that Clay Hensley will make the team but in a role to be determined, maybe middle relief/spot starter.

The final bullpen spot might have been decided by week’s end but trading for Nate Robertson could’ve ended the conversation right there. With the release of Seth McClung and Hayden Penn being claimed off waivers by the Pirates, there were 2 pitchers bidding for an Opening Day spot. Rick VandenHurk and Tim Wood probably were excited to be in the final 2, before winds of the Robertson trade came through the clubhouse and might have knocked them both out of contention. The need for a lefty in the rotation and the way Clay Hensley has played this spring couldn’t be ignored, so sliding Hensley into the bullpen spot leaves zero room for anyone else. Safe to say though the rotation is set for 2010.

On another front, the 1st Base job has been won unanimously by Mr. Gaby Sanchez and the tremendous spring stats he has produced. He’s sporting a batting average just under .400 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 5 doubles. Everyone was pretty sure after the 2nd week into Spring Training games that Sanchez had an edge in experience and seemed a little more confident over at 1st. After winning out the job last year only to be sent down to AAA before Opening Day because of injury probably makes this time all the sweeter, Congrats to Gaby!

Less than a week away til the Marlins open up with Josh Johnson against the Mets, so Wednesday’s start should be a good preview even though they’re in Florida. Opening Day JJ will face off with Johan Santana in New York and I can’t wait!

UPDATE: Within hours of the acquisition of Nate Robertson, the Marlins optioned Rick VandenHurk and Tim Wood to AAA New Orleans to be in their rotation and bullpen, respectively. The Marlins seem to have their pitching staff set for April 5th, just one bench spot left to solidify the 25 man roster.  

Spring Fling: Week 1

As I’m writing this Mike Stanton just jacked his 2nd homer of the spring, and Dan Uggla followed him with a solo shot of his own against the Astros. A sight I haven’t seen much of so far is that raw power to hit home runs. The most unlikely of names have been hitting it over the fence including Bryan Peterson and Emilio Bonifacio (no, that’s not a typo).

These young prospects with power like Stanton and Peterson have been turning heads early this spring, and could definitely see playing time somewhere during the 2010 season. Stanton is only 20 years old at this point, so a September call-up is probably the soonest you’ll see him. The talent is there and he looks just as good as Jason Heyward, you just don’t want to rush him. Although, I wouldn’t be shocked if Cameron Maybin’s groin injury lingers, Cody Ross moves to CF and Stanton takes RF by Opening Day.

If anything, the player who looks like he’s being rushed into the majors is Logan Morrison. The first baseman’s performance so far has not been promising and Gaby Sanchez seems to be handling the role a lot better. Of course, Gaby has a sprinkle of experience under his belt from last season and it shows with his average at .400 a week into the spring. Logan doesn’t seem to be adapting to any pitchers, carrying a .071 average in his couple appearances (although that one hit was a triple that produced 3 RBIs).

Don’t count out Jorge Jimenez to take over 3B, pushing Gaby and Logan out of the way for Jorge Cantu to play 1B again. Jimenez is looking to start the season on the Opening Day lineup, seeing as the Red Sox kept him off their 40-man roster. If he can’t secure the starting 3B job, he can still battle for the left-handed bat off the bench role. Jimenez has competition there though against veteran Mike Lamb, who has also shown signs of why his minor league deal should be purchased. Also, Hank Blalock decided to sign a deal with the Rays and made the choice a little easier by not coming to Marlins camp.

The pitching staff as a whole hasn’t done anything too drastic to cut themselves from the team, but I will tell you the highs and lows so far…
 
The lowest moment was the outing Seth McClung had on Monday against the Mets making me rethink his signing altogether. He pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed 6 earned runs on 2 hits (one being a solo HR) and 3 walks. It’s early but in the bullpen you only get so many opportunities to impress with so many arms out there.

The highest moments were a tie between…
1) The pitching of Clay Hensley on Saturday against the Cardinals going 3 innings with 4Ks allowing 1 hit and no runs.
2) Rick VandenHurk coming into a 5-0 deficit against the Red Sox throwing 3 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2Ks. Worthy noting VandenHurk is my dark horse pick, he looked better than Andrew Miller and Sean West influencing me to consider an all right-handed rotation.

The Marlins are going to start making cuts soon and should eliminate the youngsters and high scoring comebacks all around the league. I know no lead is safe but during Spring Training you see the 2nd and 3rd string players come out to blow the scoring wide open for better or worse. Starting the spring 3-0 was nice but ending the 1st week 5-3 wasn’t too good, so let’s hope this 2nd week they kick it up a notch.

UPDATE: Thursday morning the Marlins made some moves with a few pitchers, right-hander Ryan Tucker was optioned back to AAA-New Orleans, and lefty Jay Voss sent to minor league camp.