September 2012

Ozzie fires back at notion team isn’t playing hard

MIAMI — Ozzie Guillen is the first to accept the blame for the Marlins’ last-place record. He’s never shied away from the criticism, or ducked questions regarding his future.

But Guillen emphatically will defend the effort his team is giving, and the fiery manager takes issue with any insinuation that his players have stopped trying.

After Friday night’s 4-0 win over the Reds, Guillen took aim on Twitter at ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Guillen’s response had some misspellings and foul language, but the point was clear.

The manager called out Olney by name, and said the veteran reporter made “stupid comments about the Miami team.” The Tweet noted the Marlins may not be winning, but they “play hard.”

“If u say I am bad manager is ok,” Guillen added, taking issue at the idea the team has given up.

Via Twitter, Olney responded: “Context on the Ozzie Guillen comments: In two articles, I referenced the opinion of rival evaluators on the Marlins’ recent play.”

Before Saturday’s game against the Reds, Guillen went into more detail on the matter.

First, the manager noted his job could be in jeopardy, which is natural when a team is in last place.

“Of course your name is going to be mentioned to be fired,” Guillen said. “When you play bad, your name is going to be mentioned to be fired. But when you make a comment that your team don’t play hard enough, you’re not watching us. You’re not. Because first of all, there are only two players in our lineup right now that have sure, for sure, for sure jobs for next year. Guaranteed. Only two.”

Only Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton are locks to be in the Opening Day lineup in 2013.

“The other guys have to bust their tails to convince us that they can play here next year,” the manager said. “Second, our pitching staff has a bunch of kids.” Guillen noted starting pitchers Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are not shying away from taking the ball in the final weeks.

“Buehrle and JJ and Nolasco are for sure to come back for next year, as big league players,” Guillen said. “The rest of the kids are fighting for jobs.

“I don’t get it when they say the team isn’t playing hard enough. We’re not playing good, but we play hard.”

If the team quit on the manager, Guillen said, then Reyes wouldn’t be showing up at 1:30 p.m. for 7:10 p.m. starts. And Carlos Lee, who left Friday’s game with a neck sprain, wouldn’t ask to play on Saturday.

“The worst thing about a manager is when they say they don’t play hard enough for you,” Guillen said. “Or they don’t respect the manager in the clubhouse. When you make comments like, and it’s not true, that’s what gets me.”

Although Guillen has a four-year contract, he has not been directly informed that he will return in 2013.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will evaluate the entire organization at the end of the season. That includes the front office, where there is speculation that president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest may not be back.

The entire front office, as well as Guillen, his staff and the players will be evaluated after the year.

“How many times this week or last week did they say my name is on the hot seat?” Guillen said. “I don’t say anything about it. Yes, it is. Why not? Do I think I did a good job with this ballclub? No. Should I be fired? Well, if you look at the big picture, of course.

“This team is supposed to win. But when you make comments about the ballclub like that, saying, ‘my sources,’ or somebody tells me. That’s not professional. Then you’re not watching us play. If you’re watching us play the last couple of months, or last month, we played harder than anybody else in this game.”

Joe Frisaro

Velazquez called up, Boni to 60-day DL

MIAMI — A thin Marlins bench has added some infield depth.

Gil Velazquez, 32, had his contract selected on Friday, and the veteran infielder will be making his second stint with Miami.

To make room on their 40-man roster, Miami transferred Emilio Bonifacio to the 60-day disabled list. Bonifacio had been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 22 with a right knee sprain.

In 110 games with Triple-A New Orleans, Velazquez batted .312 with 15 doubles, a triple, four homers and 42 RBIs.

The Marlins initially called up Velazquez on Aug. 16, and he played in two games at Colorado, going 1-for-8 before being designated for assignment on Aug. 19.

Miami is in need of infield depth because Donnie Murphy sustained a concussion on Wednesday at Philadelphia.

Joe Frisaro

 

Stanton in striking distance of HR marks

MIAMI — You never know when Giancarlo Stanton will go on one of his home run streaks. When he does, the Marlins slugger is capable of compiling a bunch in a hurry.

Stanton just belted four in the six-game road trip, which ended on Wednesday at Philadelphia. Stanton now has 21 homers on the road, which is two shy of Gary Sheffield’s club mark set in 1996.

Can Stanton get to 23 road home runs? Time is running out. Miami has six road games to go — Sept. 21-23 at New York, and Sept. 25-27 at Atlanta.

The Marlins have 18 total games remaining, with a three-game set against the Reds set to begin on Friday night at Marlins Park.

Stanton enters the weekend series against the Reds with 34 homers, which also matches the second most in club history for a season. Miguel Cabrera had 34 in 2007. And in 2011, Stanton reached 34 in 150 games. He’s at that mark now in 114 games.

Stanton needs eight homers in the final 18 games to match Sheffield’s club record of 42, set in ’96.

Most HRs by a Marlin on the road

Gary Sheffield 23 (1996)

Miguel Cabrera 22 (2005)

Giancarlo Stanton 21 (2012)

Derrek Lee 20 (2003)

Miguel Cabrera 19 (2004)

Derrek Lee 19 (2000)

Dan Uggla 19 (2010)

Preston Wilson 19 (2000)

Joe Frisaro

LeBlanc gets series opener start

The Marlins took two of three at Washington over the weekend.

Now they move on to face the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for Miami, and Kyle Kendrick will start for Philadelphia.

The Phillies are six games back for the second Wild Card spot, so the Marlins will look to play the role of spoiler.

MARLINS

1) Petersen, LF

2) Ruggiano, CF

3) Reyes, SS

4) Stanton, RF

5) Lee, 1B

6) Dobbs, 3B

7) Solano, 2B

8) Brantly, C

9) LeBlanc, P

Joe Frisaro

Nolasco continues hot streak

Ricky Nolasco continues to be on a roll.

The Marlins right-hander on Sunday blanked the Nationals in an 8-0 Marlins win.

It was Nolasco’s second complete-game shutout in two weeks against Washington. And it also was Nolasco’s fourth career shutout.

Since 2005, Dontrelle Willis has six shutouts, the most by a Marlin in the last seven years. Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez follow with four each.

In his last three starts, Nolasco is 3-0 (0.36), as he’s allowed one earned run in 25 innings. He’s not been overpowering, as he’s struck out 16 in the stretch, but he’s pounding the strike zone, walking just one.

Nolasco has also won his last four starts, improving his season record to 12-12 while lowering his ERA to 4.40, after it reached 5.07 on Aug. 21 at Arizona.

Actually, Nolasco’s dominant run came on Aug. 21. He allowed five runs in the first inning, but then settled and threw four consecutive scoreless innings. So he gave up the five runs in five innings. The Marlins rallied to a 6-5 victory that day, with Nolasco getting credit for the win.

Since the first inning on Aug. 21, Nolasco’s ERA is 0.31 — one earned run in 29 innings.

Marlins shutouts since 2005

Josh Beckett 4/10/05 vs. Washington

A.J. Burnett 6/26/05 vs. Tampa Bay

Burnett 8/9/05 vs. Arizona

Ricky Nolasco 8/19/08 vs. San Francisco

Nolasco 6/29/11 vs. Oakland

Nolasco 8/28/12 vs. Washington

Nolasco 9/9/12 vs. Washington

Anibal Sanchez 9/6/06 vs. Arizona (no-hitter)

Sanchez 7/29/10 vs. San Francisco

Sanchez 5/26/11 vs. San Francisco

Sanchez 9/10/11 vs. Pittsburgh

Javier Vazquez 9/16/11 vs. Washington

Chris Volstad 7/8/09 vs. San Francisco

Volstad 9/20/10 vs. St. Louis

Dontrelle Willis 4/8/05 vs. Washington

Willis 4/13/05 vs. Philadelphia

Willis 6/23/05 vs. Atlanta

Willis 7/3/05 vs. New York Mets

Willis 8/17/05 vs. San Diego

Willis 9/10/06 vs. Philadelphia

Carlos Zambrano 5/7/12 vs. Houston

Joe Frisaro

Gridiron Get Down at Clevelander

MIAMI — Major League Baseball’s newest ballpark now is a home for the NFL.

Every Sunday during the football season, the Clevelander at Marlins Park will be open, televising games on more than 20 hi-def screens.

Autographed Reggie Bush football to be raffled.

The Clevelander kicked off its first “Gridiron Get Down!” on Sunday by opening its doors from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., showing the Miami Dolphins’ opener against Houston.

Parking is free in the Third Base Garage.

Courtesy of Red Bull, a an autographed Reggie Bush football is being raffled.

While the Clevelander is having a NFL theme on Sunday, baseball still is king at Marlins Park. The Marlins game on Sunday against the Nationals also is being shown.

The Marlins have two more Sunday home games, on Sept. 16 against the Reds, and on Sept. 30 against the Phillies. On those days, the Clevelander will show baseball and football games.

Capacity at the pool-side area Clevelander is 290, plus there is room for another 100 outside.

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins seek series win at Washington

After holding on for a 9-7 win on Friday night, the Marlins have a quick turnaround, as they face the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at Nationals Park.

Mark Buehrle will face Ross Detwiler in a meeting of left-handers.

Buehrle has a string of 11 straight seasons with as least 200 innings pitched. To reach that, he has to average seven innings over his last four starts.

MARLINS

1) Hernandez, CF

2) Solano, 2B

3) Reyes, SS

4) Stanton, RF

5) Lee, 1B

6) Ruggiano, LF

7) Buck, C

8) Murphy, 3B

9) Buehrle, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Oviedo undergoes Tommy John surgery

MIAMI — Juan Carlos Oviedo, who sustained a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in July, underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday morning.

The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews, and recovery time is typically at least 12 months.

Oviedo, formerly Leo Nunez, felt discomfort a few days before his eight-week suspension was scheduled to end. The right-hander was reinstated from the restricted list on July 23, and placed on the 15-day disabled list that day.

On Tuesday, Oviedo was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

From 2009-11, Oviedo had 92 saves as the Marlins’ closer.

Joe Frisaro

Braun offers opinion on Marlins Park

MIAMI — Word already is out about how Marlins Park is a tough place to hit home runs.

The Brewers, who pace the National League with 170 homers, had a couple of long drives not clear the wall in Tuesday’s 8-4 win. Now, they did belt two homers on balls that were pulled.

But in the first inning, Ryan Braun crushed a drive to center field that went for a double.

It hasn’t taken long for Braun to point out how big the gaps and center field are in the new ballpark.

“It’s gotten it’s reputation as a pitchers’ ballpark for a reason,” said Bruan, the 2011 NL MVP. “It’s definitely not a place where you’re going to get any cheap homers, that’s for sure.”

The Marlins entered Wednesday with 120 homers, which rates 21st overall in the big leagues. The Brewers are fourth overall.

Miami’s splits are telling.

At home, the Marlins have hit 47 homers, which rates 26th in the Majors. But on the road, their 73 homers are now tied for the 11th most.

Braun was asked about Citi Field in New York. The Mets had the fences moved in this season.

“Yeah, it’s very similar to Citi Field,” Braun said of Marlins Park. “When you take batting practice you realize the same thing. It’s a big ballpark.”

The Marlins aren’t looking to move in the fences, at least not for 2013. But should they?

“I have no idea,” Braun said. “I think for fans, you want to see home runs. Fans want to see high-scoring games. … You never know how a ballpark is going to play until you actually start to see some games played. I don’t know if they expected to maybe have the roof open more, maybe the ball would’ve carried better. I don’t know. It’s such a small sample size to say whether or not it’s a good or bad hitters park, but definitely in taking batting practice this is one of the bigger parks.”

Joe Frisaro

 

 

Marlins call up reliever Ramos

MIAMI — The Marlins are continuing to get a glimpse as some of their pitching prospects.

On Tuesday, the team selected the contract of right-handed reliever A.J. Ramos from Double-A Jacksonville. Miami also transferred reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo to the 60-day disabled list.

Ramos, who turns 26 on Sept. 20, attended Texas Tech. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder was 3-3 with a 1.44 ERA in 55 games with the Suns. He had 21 saves, and struck out 89 while walking 21 in 68 2/3 innings.

Joe Frisaro

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