10 June 2011
The Marlins came into this series against the Braves hoping to turn around a streak of five straight losses, four of which were by only a single run. The Marlins had also fallen into a virtual tie with the Braves for second place in the NL East. However, instead of turning their losing streak around it grew to eight games as the Braves swept the Marlins in three games, each game being a one run loss for the Marlins. The Marlins have actually now lost 11 of their last 13 games with eight of those games being one run loss by the Marlins.
While in the other games that the Marlins had loss the problem had been the Marlins leaving men on base and not hitting with runners in scoring postitions. The Marlins actually were improved against the Braves hitting 2-18 w/RISP and leaving 24 men on base, yes that was an improvement compared to their series against the Brewers. The best Marlin hitter in this series against the Braves was John Buck who went 4-11, and Mike Stanton lead the team in RBIs with three, they only scored four runs in three game. But the Marlins were able to show that they were able to come threw once in this series as they were down 2-0 to the Braves in the ninth on Wednesday night, but Mike Stanton was able to tie up the game with two outs and being down to his final strike. Unfortunately just like so many other games these past two weeks, it ended with heart break and the Braves the game by a run in the tenth.
The Marlins inability to score runs in this series over shadows some great pitching performances by the Marlins starters. Coming into the series Marlins starters had only pitched nine of the previous 18 innings and were in real need of some relief for their bullpen. It looked like that it would be hard to get as 21-year old Brad Hand was about to make his first career big league start in the first game of the series, but he ended pitching six innings only giving up a walk and a home run to Alex Gonzalez. However that home run would be the only run scored in the game as the Braves would win 1-0. The next night Ricky Nolasco scattered eight hits over 7.1 innings but he only gave up two runs, but a Freedie Freeman single in the 10th scored Chipper Jones and the Braves won 3-2. During the final game of the series Chris Volstad faces off against on of the NL's best pitchers of the past month, Jair Jurrjens, and Volstad was very good for the second straight game. Volstad ended up giving up three runs and six hits in 6.2 innings, but he had a no hitter going through five as once again the Marlins lost 3-2.
For the Marlins to turn this around the obvious fixes would be for the Marlins to do better in situational hitting (geting hits with runners on base and in scoring position) and also to get healthy (Hanley did take fielding practice on Thursday and will play a rehab game in Jupiter on Friday), but the thing that most people do not mention is that the majority of the Marlins home runs have come as solo shots. It is amazing that for a team like the Marlins who seem to continually have men on base inning after inning, the majority of the home runs that they have hit have been 1 run home runs. Their really is not much you can do to explain this other than to say either the players are pressing to much with runners on base, which is a real possibility, or that it is just dumb luck.
Marlins are hoping that a change in the hitting coach could start to turn things around for them. The Marlins fired John Mallee after Wednesday's loss. The Marlins hired former ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Eduardo Perez to be their new hitting coach. He will hope to turn around a Marlins team that is full of young talented hitters, but ranks ninth in runs scored and also batting average.
Marlins will stay at home as the Arizona Diamondback, who took 2 of 3 in Arozona last week versus the Marlins, come to town.
- Friday 7:10pm at Sun Life Stadium -- Anibal Sanchez vs. Joe Saunders
- Saturday 7:10pm at Sun Life Stadium -- Javier Vazquez vs. Ian Kennedy
- Suunday 1:10pm at Sun Life Stadium -- Brad Hand vs. Tim Hudson
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