08 April 2012
Coming off the first two game of the season in which the team failed to produce offensively, only one run and seven hits, and Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle were also less than stealer performance Friday's day off could not have come at a better time. In that day off the team seemed to have been able to finally exhale and relax from all of the opening day charades they had to go through on Wednesday and Thursday. So on Saturday the team came out and looked like the team that many expected to see coming into the 2012 season.
After being so offensively inept in their first two games the Marlins on Saturday came out and pounded the ball all around the Great American Ballpark. The Marlins scored eight runs on 12 hits, seven of which are extra base hits, and Omar Infante was a single away from becoming the first Marlins player to hit from the cycle. The Marlins also had Ricky Nolasco pitch a great game going for eight innings with five strike outs and only giving up three runs.
On Sunday the Marlins looked as though they were continuing their good play from the day before. In his first start for the Marlins Carlos Zambrano gave up two hits and two walks to the first four batters, which resulted in a 3-0 Reds lead after the 1st inning, but after that Zambrano was able to settle down and pitch extremely well. Before giving up a home run to Jay Bruce in the 6th, Zambrano retired 17 of 18 batters with the loan exception being a single by Brandon Philips in the 2nd. In the end Zambrano gave up four runs, four hits, six strike outs, and while he walked over 20 men in spring training he gave up only two walks today. Offensively the team continued their hot play with 11 hits scoring five runs. In the two games, Giancarlo Stanton and Omar Infante have played outstanding while Emilio Bonifacio is picking up where he left off last year. Bonifacio since the off day is 4 for 9 with three runs, an RBI, and three stolen bases.
Going into the ninth inning on Sunday it looked as though the Marlins were on the verge of getting back to .500 before going to Philadelphia. The Fish had a 5-4 lead with their new closer Heath Bell with his first chance to get a save for the Marlins, after getting a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning the day before. Unfortunately things did not go according to plan as Jay Bruce hit his second solo home run of the game, third of the series, to lead off the ninth. Then later in the inning, with Drew Stubbs on third, a man on first, and one out, Scott Rolen hit a hard ground ball down the third base line and Hanley bobbled the ball allowing Stubbs to score and the Reds to win 6-5.
While the Marlins are off to a disappointing 1-3 start heading into Philadelphia, the team has shown enough that should be encouraging to most fans. Keep in mind the two teams the Marlins have played thus far would be in contention for the NL Central title and a wild card spot in the final month of the season. Despite the first two games the Marlins offense is looking like they are as potent as most people believed they could be, and despite not all being at the top of their games the Marlins pitching staff looks as though they can be one of the tops in baseball. The one aspect of the Marlins team that thus far has not living up to what most people would have hoped for is the bullpen. The Marlins bullpen has given up six runs and has a blown save in only four games.
The Marlins start a three game series tomorrow against the Phillies in Philadelphia, and just like in Cincinnati they will be having to deal with the Opening Day and Opening Night celebrations.
- Monday: Anibal Sanchez v Cole Hamels - 1:05pm
- Wednesday: Josh Johnson (0-1) v Roy Halladay (1-0) - 7:05pm
- Thursday: Mark Buehrle (0-1) vs. Joe Blanton (0-1) - 7:05pm
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