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With a chance this week to take series wins from two of the lower-echelon teams in the NL, the Fish floundered. The Marlins came out of back-to-back two game sets against the Mets and Cubs with only one win to show for it.
The backdrop for the first two game set was Citi Field, a billion dollar latrine fittingly located in Flushing, NY. The opening game was “rain” delayed by more than an hour as the infield grounds crew did everything they could to make the field unplayable. The problem was that the crew didn’t put the tarp over the infield correctly, allowing water to seep into the dirt and saturate it.
There is no joy in Mudville.
Bags upon bags of sand were continuously dumped along the base paths as the tractor was brought in to smooth out the surface. The problem is that after it was done, it looked like Gravedigger just got finished taking a spin through the base path.
Alas, there was baseball to be played.
Josh Johnson was through almost five innings when a hot shot back to the mound caught him in the wrist. A collective sigh of relief was heard emanating from South Florida as JJ took a few warm ups and finished out the inning. Johnson is expected to make his next start.
The Fish entered the 7th inning of Monday night’s game down by only one run. Much of the night was a pitchers duel, anchored by a solid outing from the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey and a strong showing from the Marlins bullpen. Mike Stanton put the Marlins on the board in the top of the inning with a monster shot to straightaway center field, a ball that likely landed somewhere in Jamaica (Queens).
Another extra innings affair that went the Marlins’ way, manager Edwin Rodriguez won a game of managerial “chicken” in the 11th inning. Tied at one apiece, the Fish were faced with a decision to bat or bench Burke Badenhop. Edwin left him in to try to force Mets manager Terry Collins into changing pitchers so Rodriguez could then pinch hit. Collins opted to leave in reliever Ryota Igarashi and Edwin left the Hopper in to bat. That’s what I call reverse reverse psychology.
Badenhop delivered what would be the game-winning hit and Leo Nunez shut it down in the bottom of the 11th inning to earn his MLB-leading 15th save. It would be the only game played in the series, as Tuesday night’s affair was rained out and will be made up July 18th at Citi Field.
The Marlins, winners of 3 of their last 4, came back home to play two against the waffling Cubs. Wednesday night’s game was led by Hanley’s 3rd homer of the year in the 1st inning and soon-to-be everyday third baseman Greg Dobbs’ 2-run RBI double in the 5th. The Fish held a 5-3 lead heading into the 6th inning when Edwin Mujica served up a towering solo homer to the Cubs’ Marlon Byrd.
Mujica’s play had been solid as of late, leading many Marlins fans (mainly me) calling him Ed “Money” Mujica. Eddie Money couldn’t cash in on Wednesday night as he allowed both of the Cubs runs in the sixth. The Cubs tacked on two more runs in the 8th inning to win 7-5, powered by 13 hits against Marlins pitchers.
Thursday night the Marlins’ bats failed to show up, notching only one run on a solo home run by Big Mike Stanton, his 9th dinger of the year. Of course there weren’t any base runners on for Stanton, there never are. The Fish got another lackluster start from Chris Volstad, something the faithful “friends of the Fish” are accustomed to seeing. The Marlins errors this week (4) didn’t help, giving them 26 on the year.
The Marlins now hope to avoid a 3-game losing streak as they begin interleague play against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. A battle between the two worst attendance teams in the league almost guaranteed to not be a sellout in either venue! This weekend’s series at Pro-Robbie-Land-Dolphin-Life Stadium might be fun for the friends and family who show up. The Fish get a day off from “squeeze week” on Monday before heading out for a 9-game West Coast road trip. It will be “Late Night with the Fish” all week as the Marlins try to stay above water in the NL East.
News and Notes Around the League:
The Cubs head to Fenway Park this weekend for the first time since the 1918 World Series. I don’t often get to say “Cubs” and “World Series” in the same sentence…Travis Hafner is heading to the DL for the Indians. Sizemore and Hafner on the DL means the universe is righting itself and the Indians will be back to their old tricks in no time…Jason Giambi had a 3-homer game against the Phillies Thursday night, the first such game of his career. Makes me wonder if Centrum Silver is all he’s taking…
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About the Author
Written by Jon Melton
Born in the Northeast and now residing in South Florida, I've traveled the country in search of truth, justice and the best hot dog. A regular contributor for the Miami Herald, I cover all the sports that SOFLA has to offer. Have questions, comments or cleverly constructed insults? Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org