April 2010

Marlins lineup vs. Mets

The Marlins will send Nate Robertson to the mound on Thursday in the series finale with the Mets at Citi Field. New York is going with lefty Jonathan Niese.

 

  

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

marlinschampring.jpg2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Nate Robertson, P

 

 

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1) Angel Pagan, CF

bigapple1.jpg2) Luis Castillo, 2B

3) David Wright, 3B

4) Jason Bay, LF

5) Jeff Francoeur, RF

6) Fernando Tatis, 1B

7) Rod Barajas, C

8) Ruben Tejada, SS

9) Jonathan Niese, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

Cracking the WHIP

From the first day of Spring Training, manager Fredi Gonzalez talked about the importance of the thrownig strikes.

Gonzalez added that an important statistic, in his mind, is the WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched).

What the Marlins saw on Wednesday night in their wild 7-6 win in 10 innings over the Mets is what can go wrong when pitchers aren’t throwing strikes.

After building a five-run lead on Dan Uggla’s homer in the top of the seventh, the Marlins pitchers lost track of the strike zone. The Mets rallied to force extra innings, and Florida was fortunate to prevail.

Ricky Nolasco uncharacteristically walked the first two batters to start the seventh. But the real damage came when the Florida starter exited with two outs in the seventh.

Renyel Pinto, Jose Veras and Leo Nunez worked 2 1/3 innings, but all three struggled to find the plate. They combined for six walks, a hit batter and a balk. The three totaled 82 pitches, but just 40 were strikes. Throwing 49 percent of their pitches for strikes created a reason for alarm.

“We can’t do that because we’re going to get our heads beat in,” Gonzalez said.

Pinto faced three batters and didn’t log an out. The lefty walked one, allowed one hit and hit a batter. Veras did get out of the seventh, but with some good fortune.

Veras’ first pitch was a high fastball to David Wright. The ball sailed off John Baker’s glove, and as it rolled away from the catcher, Fernando Tatis tried scoring from third. Baker retrieved the ball, and threw home to Veras, who applied the tag.

“I tried to throw a fastball away, and it was a little high,” Veras said. “The ball stayed close, and we got that guy out. That was a huge play with the bases loaded right there and David Wright hitting.”

Nunez worked 1 1/3 inning, and entered in a tough spot — the bases loaded — in the eighth inning. Because Nunez threw 40 pitches, with 19 strikes, he won’t be available for Thursday. Tim Wood, who had a 15-pitch (10 strikes) save, on Wednesday is a candidate to close in the series finale.

Veras noted that it was just one game, and most of the relievers hadn’t thrown in a game since last Saturday.

“We tried to get the job done. It happens in the ball game,” Veras said. “Maybe we tried to be too perfect. The best part is we won the game, and tomorrow is another day.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

J.J. making Saturday start

The Super Saturdays Concert Series starts up on Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium. The singer Nelly will be the headliner post game.

During the game, the Marlins will be sending out their ace, Josh Johnson.

JoshJohnsonawe.jpgThere had been some uncertainty as to when J.J. would next pitch. The 26-year-old suffered the loss in Monday’s 7-1 opener with the Mets.

Because of Tuesday’s off day, the Marlins were playing it safe before determining who would take the mound on Saturday against the Dodgers. Johnson threw 99 pitches in five plus innings on Monday at Citi Field.

He gave up four runs on five hits. He says he has worked on a minor mechanical change in his delivery, and he is feeling better.

Johnson has had a busy week in New York. On Tuesday morning, he was a guest on the “Today Show,” representing the People “All-Stars Among Us” program.

The Marlins now will start Johnson on Saturday, and go with Anibal Sanchez on Sunday in Miami. Sanchez is available to pitch out of the bullpen on Wednesday. If he isn’t used at New York, then he will throw off the mound before Thursday’s game.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins lineup for Wednesday

The Marlins are sending Ricky Nolasco to the mound on Wednesday in hopes of evening their three-game series with the Mets.

Florida lost 7-1 Monday on Opening Day at Citi Field.

 

 

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

rickynolasco3a3.jpg2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) John Baker, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

 

 

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1) Alex Cora, SS

mainej1.jpg2) Luis Castillo, 2B

3) David Wright, 3B

4) Mike Jacobs, 1B

5) Jason Bay, LF

6) Gary Matthews Jr., CF

7) Jeff Francoeur, RF

8) Rod Barajas, C

9) John Maine, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Day observations

Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday was packed with anticipation, hype, an impressive pregame show and a promising pitching matchup.

There was tremendous buildup, and the crowd of 41,000 was into the contest that matched aces Josh Johnson and Johan Santana.

For five innings, there was drama and a close game. Then, the Marlins turned sloppy in the sixth inning, committing three errors, and New York capitalized on the mistakes and claimed a 7-1 win.

Tuesday’s day off provided an opportunity to reflect and digest all that took place in the opener.

* One thing is clearly, Josh Johnson is not yet on track. The stomach virus he dealt with late in Spring Training set his preparation back. And it showed. Granted, the 26-year-old is not yet in top form. Still, something else stood out. Johnson was doing more nibbling with his pitches than attacking. That was evident by four walks and a hit batter in five plus innings.

From the first batter he faced, that was clear. Johnson had Alex Cora in a 1-2 count, and then hit the Mets leadoff batter with a slider. With a 95 mph fastball, Johnson is at his best when he is pounding the strike zone, and not being so fine on the corners.

* A key play that didn’t get much mention was Luis Castillo’s at-bat in the first inning. After Cora reached, Castillo hit a grounder to second. Dan Uggla fielded it cleanly, flipped to Hanley Ramirez for the force at second. The Marlins nearly turned the double play, but a hustling Castillo beat the throw to first. Instead of two outs, the Mets had a base runner. David Wright followed with a two-run homer. Castillo pushing it down the line gave the Mets an extra run.

* The brightest star for the Marlins on Monday was Hanley Ramirez. With the big crowd and attention on the game, the two-time All-Star stepped up, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Ramirez also made a terrific unassisted double play, robbing Cora of a run-scoring hit in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Cora ripped a hard liner. Ramirez dove to his left to make the nice grab. He showed the ball to the umpire, and then stepped on second to double up Jeff Francoeur.

* The wind conditions made just about every fly ball an adventure. The end result was center fielder Cameron Maybin had a tough day. Maybin has tremendous promise, and one rough afternoon is no reason to be overly critical. But getting better jumps and reads on fly balls will be something Maybin keeps working on. He had some issues with his reads in Spring Training. Citi Field has a lot of ground to cover, but Maybin will have even more territory to roam at Sun Life Stadium. Cody Ross, now playing right field, has shown he can play center field at a high level. If Maybin struggles in center, a possibility down the line could be switching Ross and Maybin.

* Wes Helms took part in his 11th Opening Day. Helms didn’t get into the game, but he was on deck in the ninth inning when Gaby Sanchez made the final out.

* The Marlins one run scored on Monday was the lowest run total for the team on Opening Day since losing 1-0 at Houston in 2006.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Pregame ceremonies

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Opening Day lineups set

It’s down to a matter of hours before the Marlins and Mets meet on Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday.

The game, which starts at 1:10 p.m. ET, will feature Josh Johnson starting for Florida against Johan Santana of the Mets.

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

JoshJohnsonawe.jpg2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Josh Johnson, P

 

 

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1) Alex Cora, SS

johansantana1.jpg2) Luis Castillo, 2B

3) David Wright, 3B

4) Mike Jacobs, 1B

5) Jason Bay, LF

6) Gary Matthews Jr., CF

7) Jeff Francoeur, RF

8) Rod Barajas, C

9) Johan Santana, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Ross to start Opening Day

Cody Ross may have been hampered by injuries for most of Spring Training. But the Marlins are going to start the veteran in right field on Opening Day.

Before Sunday’s workout at Citi Field, manager Fredi Gonzalez announced that Ross would be in the starting lineup on Monday afternoon when the season gets underway against the Mets.

Ross played in a simulated game on Sunday morning. Chris Volstad, who will be the fourth starter, threw in the sim game. Both players were flying into New York late in the afternoon on Sunday.

Volstad will start on Friday night in the Marlins home opener at Sun Life Stadium.

Ross has been slowed by a mild right calf strain. But he was cleared to play after feeling fine in three straight Minor League games.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Robertson starting Thursday

Looking to get Nate Robertson into the rotation earlier, the Marlins made the move on Sunday to start the left-hander on Thursday in Game 3 of the season. Robertson will face the Mets in New York, instead of throwing on Saturday as originally slated.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez made the announcement on Sunday. Anibal Sanchez, who was lined up to pitch on Thursday, now becomes the fifth starter. Sanchez will start either on Saturday or Sunday at home against the Dodgers.

Chances are it will be Sunday.

Josh Johnson, the Opening Day starter, probably will pitch on his normal fifth day. The Marlins have flexibility with Saturday’s start because they are off on Tuesday. The off day means Johnson could pitch in two of the team’s first five games.

Robertson is the lone lefty in the Marlins rotation, and he will split up the four right-handers.

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins roster set

With no more exhibition games to play, the Marlins on Saturday made their final moves to set their active and 40-man rosters.

Following an 8-7 loss to their low Class A Greensboro affiliate, the Marlins announced several transactions.

Outfielder Brett Carroll was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Carroll is on the DL, retroactive to March 26. Reliever Brian Sanches, who suffered a hamstring injury on Friday night, also will start the season on the 15-day disabled list.

The Marlins also selected the contracts of infielders Brian Barden and Mike Lamb. Reliever Jose Veras also had his contract selected.

These moves set the 25-man roster.

The 40-man roster also has been set, as right-hander Cristhian Martinez and outfielder Jai Miller were designated for assignment. The roster now is at 40.

The Marlins now head to New York to get ready for Opening Day on Monday against the Mets at Citi Field.

The team will work out at Citi Field at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

For now, outfielder Cody Ross is on the active roster. Ross, recovering from a mild right calf strain, is hopeful to be in the Opening Day lineup. As a precaution, outfielder Scott Cousins will also head to New York, just in case a last minute decision is made to place Ross on the disabled list.

The Marlins roster includes 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

The position players are: Ronny Paulino, John Baker, Gaby Sanchez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Hanley Ramirez, Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, Ross, Wes Helms, Emilio Bonifacio, Barden and Lamb.

The pitchers are: Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Nate Robertson, Leo Nunez, Veras, Wood, Burke Badenhop, Clay Hensley, Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer.

Designating Miller wasn’t completely unexpected. The Marlins Triple-A outfield will feature Bryan Petersen, Cousins and Jason Lane. And the organization has outfield depth at the Double-A level, with top prospect Mike Stanton in right field.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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