(Insert Atlanta Hitter Here) Struck Out Swinging

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who said September out of contention baseball couldn't be fun? Ricky Nolasco struck out 16 batters last night, which is a new Marlins record, eclipsing Livan Hernandez and Eric Gregg's epic performance in the 1997 NLCS (also against the Atlanta Braves). He struck out nine batters in a row at one point, which was one short of Tom Seaver's major league record. To show the magnitude of just how much sixteen strikeouts is, I've listed them all, as they appeared in the play-by-play.

1st: N McLouth struck out swinging.
1st: M Prado struck out looking.
2nd: B McCann struck out looking.
3rd: A LaRoche struck out swinging.
3rd: M Diaz struck out swinging.
3rd: J Vazquez struck out looking.
4th: N McLouth struck out swinging.
4th: M Prado struck out swinging.
4th: C Jones struck out swinging.
5th: B McCann struck out swinging.
5th: G Anderson struck out swinging.
5th: Y Escobar struck out swinging.
6th: G Norton struck out swinging.
6th: N McLouth struck out swinging.
7th: M Diaz struck out swinging.
8th: B Conrad struck out swinging.

The Marlins won the game 5-41. That coupled with Tuesday night's win just about kills Atlanta's playoff chances. The win also gives the team 85 for the year which means this has statistically been the third best season in franchise history (or best non-playoff/World Series year).

1 Not before another Leo Nunez fail and a stunning bailout by Brendan Donnely (not really) and Matt Diaz of the Braves. Truly strange.


Out Of Contention

The Fish defeated the Braves 5-4 last night, but with Colorado's win over Milwaukee, the Marlins are officially out of the playoffs. So let's just go with Neil Young for the last time this year.


MLB Playoff Bracket Contest

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Idea

It's a playoff bracket. I think you understand the concept. All Marlins/South Florida sports bloggers are invited to participate, as are commenters. I will mock up a rough bracket as soon as the final playoff spots are secured.

The Rules

  • Each competitor will send their picks to davidhill126[at]gmail[dot]com before the start of the first divisional round matchup.
  • In addition to selecting the winner of each round, competitors must predict how many games it will take the winner to clinch the series.
  • Competitors must also predict MVPs for the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series.
  • Points will be awarded as follows: For correctly selecting the winner of a divisional round matchup, competitors will be awarded 1 point. Competitors will be awarded 1 extra point if they select the winner of a divisional round matchup and predict the correct number of games necessary to clinch the series. For correctly selecting the winner of an LCS, competitors will be awarded 2 points. Competitors will be awarded 1 extra point if they select the winner of an LCS matchup and predict the correct number of games necessary to clinch the series. For correctly selecting the winner of the World Series, competitors will be awarded 5 points. Competitors will be awarded 2 extra points if they select the winner of the World Series and predict the correct number of games necessary to clinch the series. Finally, competitors will be awarded 1 extra point for each correct series MVP selection.
  • The maximum total points possible is 24.
  • Whoever scores the most points wins the contest.

The winner of the contest will receive a 12-pack of the beer of his/her choice courtesy of Ted and Dave. If the winner prefers Belgian tripels, we may go with another denomination. If the winner prefers something other than beer, then we can work it out later.


Send them to me at davidhill126[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a note in the comments. The first divisional matchup begins on Wednesday, October 7. That gives you a little over a week to figure it all out. Good luck!


Week in Review

Monday, September 28, 2009

Anibal Sanchez throws a shutout against the Phillies.

Overview: The Marlins took two of three from the Phillies before dropping two of three to the Mets. They are officially out of contention in the NL East, and would need to win their final 6 games to have a shot at the Wild Card.
Positives: With the season seemingly over, why toy with this category? I'm on a time crunch, so I'll be brief.
Negatives: Apparently Leo Nunez will still be with the Marlins in 2010. Don't toy with me, Marlins front office. Josh Johnson is either sick or hung over (I'm guessing the former).
Highlight of the Week: Two words: Brad Lidge.
Line of the Week: Anibal Sanchez was lights out against the Phillies on Tuesday. His line:

8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K

Looking Ahead: The Marlins finish off their season with series in Atlanta and Philadelphia. If things go well, they could eliminate the Braves from playoff contention this week.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee


With The Playoffs Seemingly Out Of Reach, We Need Someone to Laugh At

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thanks, Brad.

Meanwhile, I thought it was really sweet of Fredi Gonzalez to pay tribute to his former mentor, Bobby Cox, by getting ejected on the night Cox announced he will retire at the end of the 2010 season. I can think of no better homage.

Tweet courtesy of el Tomas Verde


This Week in Schadenfreude

Great come from behind win for the Marlins last night and I couldn't resist nominating Brad Lidge for this week's Schadenfreude segment. Lidge recording his astonishing eleventh blown save of the season. Below is his line from last night, which ended with him walking of the mound after allowing a game tying RBI single to Jorge Cantu and a game winning RBI single by Brett Carroll.

L, BS, 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER

Even better is the amazing stat line that Lidge has compiled this season.

0-8, 7.48 ERA, 31 Saves, 11 Blown Saves

There has been much debate this morning about the Phillies situation and what they should do, should they find themselves in the ninth inning in the playoffs with a one-run lead. Basically, I don't think they can do much now. They did try some other options with limited success. They've reached the point where the will either live with Lidge or die by him. We'll see what happens. I've probably given him the reverse kiss of death and he will have a great postseason en route to another ring.


Week in Review

Monday, September 21, 2009

These embraces between our middle infielders may be an endagered species, with Dan Uggla acknowledging he might be traded this offseason

Overview: The fish took two of three in St. Louis before splitting a four-game set with the Reds. They finished the week 4-3.
Positives: The starting pitching has shown up again with four quality starts, including a surprising but encouraging outing from Sean West. The team also came through with some late heroics on back to back nights in Cincinnati to win in come from behind fashion. To emphasize how poorly we've done in Cincinnati in recent years, those were Fredi Gonzalez' first wins in Great American Ballpark.
Negatives: 4-3 weeks just won't cut it anymore. If the team wants to get a postseason berth they will need to reel off a significant winning streak. The offense by in large has been quiet, scoring just over three runs per game this week.
Highlight of the Week: I'm going to give a double shot of love to Brett Carroll who gave us two web gems. First was a leaping grab on Thursday. And who doesn't love a runner being gunned down at third from right field?
Line of the Week: Leo Nunez had a very unconventional save against the Cardinals on Wednesday night. He hit the first two batters he faced (forcing in a run) and then got a huge double play to end the game.

S, 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP

Looking Ahead: The Fish have three each at home with the Phillies and then the Mets.


Nice Phillies Fans: They Exist

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Via TMZ:

Come on, you were expecting him to be pissed at his daughter, weren't you?


2010 Schedule Released

MLB released 2010 schedules for every team the other day. Read more here. The Fish open 2010 at Citi Field against the Mets and close the season with three home games against the Pirates. That will come in handy if they are in a pennant race that goes down to the wire. They will also do a home-and-home with the Rays.

That's all I have to say about the 2010 schedule.


This Week in Schadenfreude

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week in Schadenfreude has nothing to do with baseball, but I couldn't resist.

Ted and I have long been die-hard fans of the University of Miami's football team, ever since we started attending games in Orange Bowl with our parents in 1991. Like all Canes fans, we harbor a special distaste for Ohio State University (if you don't know why, don't ask). So you can imagine my joy when I read Chris Brown's takedown of Jim Tressel today at Dr. Saturday. Read it, and try not to break into uncontrollable giddy laughter.

Image via The 7th Floor.


Week in Review

Not to get all Uni Watch, but the preferred nomenclature is Los Marlines.

Overview: The Fish swept a 3-game set at Citi Field, then dropped 2 of 3 to the Nationals.
Positives: The Marlins may be preparing to make Josh Johnson an offer he can't refuse (h/t JD). The Marlins will not raise ticket prices next year, Fish Stripes informs us. That's all the optimism I can muster, this week was the most disappointing 4-2 week I have seen in awhile.
Negatives: Did the Marlins just lose a home series against the Nats? I'm now calling it, they will not make the playoffs. Reason #1: Apart from Josh Johnson, the starting pitching has been woefully inconsistent. Case in point: in six starts this week, Marlins starters failed to pitch five full innings four times. Even when averaging 4.9 runs per game, it's hard to win when your starters don't get quality starts. Also, again with the red hats!?!?
Highlight of the Week: Gaby Sanchez hit his first career home run on Saturday night. Congrats to him. Might we see Gaby crack the starting lineup in 2010 if Nick Johnson exits via free agency? I hope so.
Line of the Week: If it weren't for Albert Pujols (and if the Marlins were in better position vis-a-vis the Phillies), Hanley Ramirez would be a lock for NL MVP. His line in six games this week:

27 22 5 9 0 0 2 7 4 .409 .481 .682 1.163

Looking Ahead: The Marlins begin a 3-game series in St. Louis tonight before followed by a 4-game set in Cincinnati.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee via si.com


Statistical Anomaly Alert!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Baseball Reference Stat of the Day blog (an essential read) informs us that Hanley Ramirez is 19 hits short of becoming only the second player in MLB history to post multiple 200-hit, 20-home-run, 20-stolen-base seasons. He accomplished this feat in 2007, and is now sitting with 181 hits, 22 home runs, and 24 stolen bases. With 22 games remaining in the season, the 200-hit mark is certainly doable.

Who was the other player to achieve multiple 200-20-20 seasons? None other than Vada Pinson, who coincidentally was the Marlins' first base coach in 1993. Vada did it thrice, in 1959, 1963, and 1965. The two are in good company, as Vladimir Guerrero, Hank Aaron, Paul Molitor, Willie Mays, Lou Brock, Bobby Bonds, and Kirby Puckett all posted a single 200-20-20 season. See the full list here (major h/t to BR).

Image via vintagecardtraders.org


This Week in Schadenfreude

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In the seventh inning of tonights Marlins-Mets game, the Marlins had a runner on second with two outs and the pitcher's spot coming up to bat. Fredi Gonzalez sent up Ross Gload to pinch hit, and then the Mets did something inexplicable: they intentionally walked Gload to get to Chris Coglan, he of the .309 batting average and 47 hits in August. At that moment, Ted and I had the following exchange on gChat (edited for spelling and grammar, of course):

Dave: Why would the Mets intentionally walk Ross Gload to get to Coghlan, the hottest non-Hanley hitter in the lineup?
Ted: It was the last dumb thing on the Mets' checklist of things to accomplish this year.
Dave: Well put.
Ted: Like a scavenger hunt.
Dave: They walk Gload to get to Coghlan, who singles, then they have to face Johnson and Hanley, who both single. Why are they so scared of Gload?
Ted: Well he has been extraordinarily good as a pinch hitter, but I'd rather to pitch to a .300 pinch hitter than a .300 everyday guy.
The Marlins scored three runs that inning, all because the Mets refused to pitch to Ross Gload, who is hitting .264 this year. As Bill Simmons would say, these are your 2009 Mets! And the Marlins went on to win 13-4, sweeping the Mets in their final trip to Citi Field this year. Not as nice as beating the Mets on the final day of the season to knock them out of the playoffs (twice!), but it will do for now.

Image via Meet the Mess store


Photo of the Day

Our good buddy Lowell got hit by a Patrick Misch pitch in second inning of yesterday's game against the Mets and gave a provocatively suggestive pose for the photographers. This photo made the Wall Street Journal's Pictures of the Day column. Click on the photo to see a larger version, then try not to picture it next time you get busy.

You're welcome.

AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams via WSJ



With the hope of making a potentially Marlins-free playoff season interesting to us Fish fans, Ted and I are holding a South Florida/Marlins blogger MLB playoff bracket competition this October. It will function a lot like a March Madness bracket, with a few tweaks thrown in to make things interesting. We will be contacting the bloggers in our Rolodex soon, but readers will be welcome to join in on the action. As with the Trade Pool contest, the winner will receive a 12-pack of sudsy beverages of their choice. Unlike the Trade Pool contest, this time there will be an actual winner.

We will open the competition and provide a full run-down of the rules during the last week of September, so you can wait until then to fill out your brackets.


Week in Review

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cameron Maybin robs Christian Guzman.

Overview: The Marlins split a four-game set with Atlanta and took two of three from Washington, leaving them 6.5 games behind the Phillies and 5 games out of the Wild Card.
Positives: Wes Helms provided some late-inning heroics on Wednesday. I'm happy to see Cameron Maybin back with the big club. Chris Coghlan was named NL Rookie of the Month for August. Hanley Ramirez hit his 100th career home run yesterday, becoming the fourth-fastest shortstop to reach the mark (behind A-Rod, Nomar Garciaparra, and Ernie Banks).
Negatives: Sunday's blown save was so disastrous that it inspired Ted to coin the term Greggorian. If the Marlins were to miss the playoffs by one game, then Sunday's loss would be all the more heartbreaking. Fights between teammates can't be good, and I don't care what Brendan Donnelly has to say about it.
Highlight of the Week: Cameron Maybin lays out for a sweet catch off of Christian Guzman on Saturday night. Wes Helm's walkoff home run was negated by Ryan Zimmerman's, so Maybin wins this week.
Line of the Week: Chris Coghlan deserves some Rookie of the Year consideration. He has become a real force at the top of the order, going 15-for-33 this week with 8 runs scored. He is currently in the middle of a 14-game hit streak. His promotion to the big club, while unexpected at the time, has been about as big a success as anyone could have hoped for.
Looking Ahead: The Fish play three against the Mets in New York followed by a weekend series at home against the Nats.

AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez via ESPN.com


Introducing the Marlins Die-Hards Glossary

Ted and I have begun compiling a glossary of terms useful for understanding Marlins fandom. We have posted a link to the glossary in the sidebar. Here is another link.

There are only five terms in the glossary at the moment, but we are open to adding more, and welcome reader suggestions (unlike those elitists at the O.E.D.). Some guidelines for suggestions:

  1. Be creative. Try not to be too obvious.
  2. We already have definitions for three different types of saves, so spare us any additional suggestions unless they're really good.
  3. Don't be too clever, we're looking for terms that stand the test of time. Only colossal events like a Jorge Julio blown save or wasted Emilio Bonifacio at bats are worthy of preserving for prosperity. We don't need to immortalize middling players like Orestes Destrade; only the really great and incredibly terrible.
Have at it, folks.


You're Doing It Wrong

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The object of the Alfonseca-save is to allow many baserunners and only one fewer run than the current lead. Even for an Alfonseca-blown-save, you are supposed to manage an epic long inning with things like walks and singles. Instead you gave us a Greggorian (yes, new term). This is a blown save so quick that you don't even comprehend what happened. Today's Leo Nunez outing is abuot as textbook as they come. He entered the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead. Then...

3 batters faced
5 pitches thrown
0 outs recorded
2 home runs allowed
3 runs allowed

Fail. Calling it a fail might actually be underselling it. This was a swift kick to the stomach. Sigh.


The Near Future

Hanley is getting reinforcements.

The Marlins may or may not make the playoffs this year, but regardless, the prospect of having Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, and Hanley Ramirez at the top of the lineup for the next four or so years has me salivating. Coghlan has put it together, hitting .309 with a .382 OBP after racking up 47 hits in August. If Maybin can produce the way he has in the minors (he hit .319 with a .399 OBP at Triple-A New Orleans this year), then he and Coghlan will make a formidable 1-2 punch in front of Ramirez at the 3-hole. The trio could be as successful as Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Miguel Cabrera were at the top of the lineup in 2006. Here were their numbers for that year:
Dan Uggla 683 611 105 172 27 90 48 .282 .339 .480 .818 112
Hanley Ramirez 700 633 119 185 17 59 56 .292 .353 .480 .833 116
Miguel Cabrera 676 576 112 195 26 114 86 .339 .430 .568 .998 159
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/6/2009.

Then there's Maybin's defense. I am quite happy to have these three guys locked in for the next few years.

Unrelated: Congratulations to Brett Hayes on his first career tater tot. Incidentally, he hit his home run off of Victor Garate, who was making his big league debut. Surely Tim Kurkjian took notice of this. This afternoon, the Fish go for their fourth sweep of the Nats this year, with Anibal Sanchez taking the hill against J.D. Martin.

AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez via ESPN.com


Children of the Marlins Diaspora 10

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Livan Hernandez, RHP

Played for Marlins: 1996-1999
Other Teams: San Francisco (1999-2002), Montreal/DC (2003-2006), Arizona (2006-2007), Minnesota (2008), Colorado (2008), NY Mets (2009), DC (2009-present)
Marlins fans know him because: He was the MVP of the 1997 NLCS and World Series, striking out 15 Atlanta Braves in an epic Game 5 of the NLCS that year. Livan was a fan favorite, as he defected from Cuba, where he was a promising pitcher on the national team, in 1995. When accepting the World Series MVP trophy at Joe Robbie Stadium, Hernandez, whose English was still weak, beamed, saying only "I love you Miami."
Everyone else knows him because: In addition to his postseason heroics for the Marlins. Livan had good stints with the Giants and Expos, becoming and innings-eater for both teams and making the NL All-Star team in 2004 and 2005 as an Expo/National. He also won the Silver Slugger award for pitchers in 2004. Livan started two games in the 2002 World Series for San Francisco, but lost both, only going a combined 5 and 2/3 innings while giving up 9 earned runs.
Best Marlins moment: Livan was the face of the Marlins 1997 team. It is difficult to overstate how much he meant to that team, winning 9 games down the stretch and dominating the Braves when the series was tied 2-2 (subbing for an ill Kevin Brown, to boot). Though I must admit, Moises Alou should have won the World Series MVP...


Just a note...

Friday, September 4, 2009

If anyone were to acquire a Chuck Carr Starting Lineup Figure and give it to me for the holidays/birthday/etc., I would love that person forever.

Just sayin...

H/t, image via Sharapova's Thigh.


Tech Miscellany

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The dumb nerds visionaries at Baseball Reference have answered the prayers of many lazy baseball bloggers and made their data tables embeddable. Now it is ridiculously easy for me to point out that Emilio Bonifacio is terrible at getting on base.

Emilio Bonifacio                                                     
2009 FLA 115 494 449 113 33 93 .252 .303 .310 .613 63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/3/2009.

Thanks to everyone at Baseball Reference for making my life easier.

Image via chantastic's flickrstream.


Two Omens

Two things happened in the past 48 hours:

Exhibit A: Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla went all Jeff Kent/Barry Bonds on each other Tuesday, with Uggla questioning Ramirez's commitment to the team and implying that Hanley pulled out of Tuesday's game to preserve his league-leading batting average. The incident was later played down as "family business."

Exhibit B: Wes Helms hits a walkoff home run Wednesday night after Leo Nunez gives up a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth inning. Afterwards, Craig Minervini receives word via a text message from the man himself that Nick Johnson is rejoining the team and is "good to go."
I have a feeling that at the end of the month, I will look back to these two incidents and (myopically) consider one to be an omen of how the month of September played out. Which will it be?

Image via Page2.


Meet the September Callups

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome back, now can we please keep Emilio Bonifacio out of the outfield?

Last night, the Marlins recalled Cameron Maybin from Triple-A New Orleans and DFA'd Luis Ayala (so much for that experiment). By making the move before September 1, the Marlins can add Maybin to the postseason roster if they make the playoffs (which is technically still possible). Today begins the first round of September callups, who are listed below. I'll update this post with names and commentary as more callups are announced.

The First Wave
Burke Badenhop, P
Rick VandenHurk, P
Brett Hayes, C

We already know plenty about Badenhop and Henricus, as they have both spent some time with the big club this year. Since the Marlins missed out on the Brad Penny derby, VandenHurk will likely get a start on Wednesday against Atlanta. With Volstad being sent down to the minors and the rest of the staff struggling, one would hope these two could contribute some quality starts and/or effective long relief if needed, but that may be asking too much (there's a reason they weren't on the 25-man roster...). Hayes seems merely a seat-filler at this point, he may get a start here and there to give Paulino and Baker a rest, but both seem well-rested due to their platoon situation.

More Callups
Andy Gonzalez, SS
Andrew Miller, LHP
Chris Volstad, RHP
Gaby Sanchez, 1B

Gonzalez becomes the de facto backup shortstop, since the only other option is Emilio Bonifacio. The Marlins recalled Miller from Triple-A. He will probably be used in long relief situations, though he could get a spot start in an emergency. Volstad will probably be used the same way. As for Sanchez, it's probably the bench for him.


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