05 May 2011
After three high scoring games, Thursday's day game between the Marlins and the Cardinals was just the opposite. Jake Westbrook had a perfect game going through the first 4.2 innings and Josh Johsnon continued to pitch like the best pitcher in baseball. Cardinals started off the game with 3 consecutive hits off of JJ to get the 1-0 lead, and that lead stood until 2 outs in th 5th inning. With 2 outs Greg Dobbs became the first base runner for the Marlins on the first of 4 consecutive hits ending with a JJ single to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Things unraveled in the 8th for the Marlins when Matt Holliday had a RBI single to tie the game at 3, then Lance Berkman hit a 3-run home run off of Mike Dunn to give the Cardinals a 6-3 lead. The Marlins have nothing to hang their heads about after this loss. The Marlins were able to get 2 of 4 in St. Louis and 4 of 7 on the road trip against two very good teams.
The Marlins escape form St. Louis with some of their worst pitching performances of the year. Chris Volstad gave up 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings on Monday, Anibal Sanchez gave up 4 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks in 4.1 innings, and Javier Vazquez gave up 6 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks in 5.2 innings. Even Josh Johnson had his worst outing of the season giving up 5 earned runs (only had 4 total in the season coming into Thursday) on 8 hits and 4 walks, ballooning his ERA from 0.88 to 1.69. While the Marlins can shrug off Johnson's first loss of 2011, they need to get better production for Vazquez and Volstad (combine for on 2 quality starts in 11 starts). The real interesting thing that emerged though was how Anibal Sanchez continues to really struggle on the road in 2011. In 3 starts on the home and on the road Sanchez has an ERA of 2.29 at home and 6.60 on the road, a WHIP of 0.97 at home and 2.33 on the road, and a batting average against of .176 at home and .373 on the road. Its to the point that if the Marlins get a chance to skip a spot in the order, they need to look to see if they can do it so Anibal can get an extra start at home as opposed to going on the road. Luckily the Marlins bullpen got back to form in this series pitching 11.2 innings only giving up 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, while striking out 3. While those bullpen numbers are not lights out, their is no doubt to anyone who watched the games that the bullpen did their job to keep the Marlins in each game, with the exception of Berkman's 3-run home run off of Dunn on Thursday.
Desipite their struggles on the mound, the Marlins were still able to compete in every game because they had an offensive explosion against the Cardinals scoring and average of 6.33 runs a game in the first 3 games of the series. While plenty of Marlins, other that Hanley, hit well this series none hit better than Gaby Sanchez who went 8-14 with 3 runs, 6 RBI, and a home run in those first 3 games. Though it was Mike Stanton who got the biggest hit of the series with a 2-run home run in the 9th inning on Wednesdy's game to break up a 6-6 tie. The home run was Stanton's 5th of the season, making him the team leader in that category. Marlins in general have had a real power surge since going on this road trip hitting 9 home runs in the 7 games, and the Marlins are 16-0 in games in which they homer in.
We also much continue our watch of Hanley Ramirez's at bats. In this series Hanley hit as well as he has all year, not that well. In this series Hanley only went 3 for 15 with 4 strike outs, but he also had 5 runs, 1 RBI and walked 4 times. Despite all of Hanley's problems he still has 15 runs and 11 RBI, which is very good for some one hitting at the Mendoza line (.200). While Edwin Rodriguez has dismissed any idea to move Hanley out of the 3 spot, seeing the production out of Omar Infate (5-8 with 3 RBI) in 2 games since being moved out of the 2 spot, he may want to reconcider his dismissals.
The Marlins now get to come home for a 6 game home stand starting Friday against the Nationals
- Friday at 7:10-- Ryan Zimmerman vs. Ricky Nolasco
- Saturday at 7:10-- Tom Grozelanny vs. Chris Volstad
- Sunday at 1:10-- Livan Hernandez vs. Anibal Sanchez
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