The weather here in South Florida is ever-changing. On any given day, residents can be treated to climate changes that can span hours and entire days. One minute it’s sunny and delightful, then the next thing you know a storm rolls in and leaves everyone with a little taste of gloom. The weather in South Florida is indeed very fickle.
The Marlins began their most recent 9-game road trip against the defending champion San Francisco Giants, a task they met with resounding success as they swept the series. The Marlins at that time were 5-1 in their previous six games and looked to keep their winning ways going as they got ready to face the slumping Dodgers and division-leading Diamondbacks.
“Hey, I think we can win this division”, said the excited Marlins fan.
Looking back on the week, the Marlins should have taken the series from the Dodgers, but a bases loaded single by Dioner Navarro in the bottom of the ninth of the first game sealed the Fish’s fate. It was Clay Hensley who gave up a walk and three hits in the frame, a performance that would earn him the first of two losses – and a trip to the DL – on the Marlins’ roady.
The next night, the Marlins took advantage of the hot corner connection, getting a pair of 2-RBI games from Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms en-route to a 6-1 victory, a game that was pitched entirely by the Marlins’ bullpen. Manager Edwin Rodriguez successfully used a platoon of relievers to fill in the pitching slot that would have been allotted to injured ace Josh Johnson.
The Fish entered Sunday’s rubber match looking to take 2 of 3 in the house that McCourt built, but Clayton Kershaw had other plans. The Dodgers put their ace on the mound to counter the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco in what was expected to be a down-to-the-wire pitchers duel.
Too bad only half of the duel showed up.
Kershaw completely shut down the Marlins’ offense as he put together a complete game shutout, all the while offering up only two hits.
Uecker-isms aside, it has to be noted that Ricky Nolasco got thoroughly shelled in the 8-0 rout, getting tagged with all eight of the Dodgers’ runs. It was easily his worst outing of the year, a disappointing shellacking that wasn’t supposed to happen to a guy that’s supposed to be the Marlins’ second ace.
The Marlins fan now says, “If we take 2 of 3 from Arizona, we’ll be fine.”
The three game set that the Fish played against the D-Backs was a mirror image of the Dodgers series. The first game started off ominously as Marlins pitchers got eaten up by five Arizona home runs, including two by the red-hot Kelly Johnson. The finally tally was a 14-5 pounding in a game that never seemed to end.
Anibal Sanchez managed to right the ship and pick up the win – his fourth win in his last five starts – the next night as the Fish held the Snakes to two runs on six hits. It was Sanchez’ ninth straight quality start this season, and he now boasts a 5-1 record with a 2.57 ERA.
The final game of the road trip could have salvaged the set against Arizona but instead ended in agony. The Fish were up 4-0, then down 5-4 as Arizona rallied in the late innings. The Marlins tied it up on a John Buck solo home run in the top half of the ninth inning, but it was to no avail. Clay Hensley got tagged with the loss, but it was Burke Badenhop who gave up the broken-bat bloop single to Justin Upton that scored Willie Bloomquist in walk-off fashion. Hensley was injured in this game, grimacing in pain and grabbing his shoulder after striking out Sean Burroughs.
According to FloridaMarlins.com, Hensley has been placed on the 15 day DL with a shoulder sprain. The Marlins have recalled infielder Ozzie Martinez from AAA New Orleans to take the roster spot, though most believe this points to an upcoming DL stint for star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
Just like in the Dodgers series, there was a blowout loss, a late inning heart-breaker and only one win. After starting the road trip 3-0, the Fish faltered to 5-4 on the roady, failing to gain any ground on the division leading Phillies. The Marlins remain two games back of its NL East rivals as they head back to the friendly confines of Pro-Robbie-Land-Dolphin-Life Stadium to take on the Brewers.
When the Marlins swept the Giants early last week, the weather was sunny and everything was “all good” in the Fish tank. Now, after dropping four of their last six games, the clouds are rolling in on the South Florida horizon bringing with it gloom and doom. The Marlins fan now stares into his half-full beer. With woe on his face and dejection in his eyes he says, “We might not make the playoffs!”
When it rains, it pours.
News and Notes:
Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton fell a double shy of the cycle on Wednesday night, an achievement that would have been a first for the franchise. Hey, at least the Mets still don’t have a no-hitter…Jim Tressel resigned his position as head football coach at Ohio State amid the controversy surrounding “Tattoo-Gate.” I wonder if they make sweater vests in prison-issue orange…Speaking of prison, one tattoo parlor owner that purchased Ohio State players’ memorabilia was arrested this week. Edward Rife was charged with money laundering and drug trafficking. When asked if he had any priors, Rife responded, “Of course, I’ve got four Pryors, three Ginns, two Gambles and a Laurinaitis. Whaddya need?”
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