Results tagged ‘ Matt Cain ’

Nolasco has that winning edge

Ricky Nolasco once again is getting better as the season progresses.

The Marlins right-hander improved to 14-8 with a win over the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

nolasco1.JPGOver his last 11 starts, he is 9-2 with a 3.45 ERA. And since June 23, when his hot streak started, his nine wins are the most in the National League, ahead of Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson, who each have seven.

Winning is a trait Nolasco has shown throughout his professional career. Groomed in the Cubs’ system, Nolasco has a career Minor League record of 37-18.

The 27-year-old is steadily moving up the Marlins ladder for victories. With 54 wins, the right-hander ranks second only to Dontrelle Willis’ 68.

Since breaking in with the Marlins in 2006, Nolasco has the 11th most wins among National League pitchers. Derek Lowe has an NL most of 68 in that span.

Nolasco has a career 54-38 record, which compares favorably to the pitcher just ahead of him. Cole Hamels is 55-43 since 2006 and he has the 10th most wins since 2006. Consider, Matt Cain has a 51-59 record in those seasons, and Cain is tied for the 13th most victories.

In his second season of arbitration, Nolasco would be eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.

He might not reach that point because the Marlins have expressed interest in signing Nolasco to a multi-year contract. Currently, the lines of communication are open between the club and the pitcher, but they are very preliminary.

Retaining Nolasco has been a priority for a while. In fact, after the Marlins signed Josh Johnson to a four-year deal in January, the team expressed to Nolasco that they were open to a long-term contract.

— Joe Frisaro

Debut in review

Heckled and a hit all in one night.

Logan Morrison achieved a couple of firsts in the Marlins 6-4 loss on Tuesday night to the Giants.

The 22-year-old, who is one of the highest ranked players in the game, made his Major League debut. 

With one out in the fourth inning, Morrison delivered his first MLB hit, slapping a single to center field off Matt Cain. As is tradition, the ball was tossed into the Marlins dugout as a souvenir. 

Morrison plans on giving the ball to his father.

“I’ll give it to my dad, he’s helped me a lot through the years,” Morrison said.

Morrison is making a quick adjustment to the big leagues, taking over in left field on a full-time basis now that Chris Coghlan is on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

A natural first baseman, Morrison has been on a crash course learning to play the outfield because Gaby Sanchez has secured first base.

As part of his transition to the outfield, Morrison worked in previous weeks with Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. He also worked with team special assistant Jeff Conine, and Tarrik Brock, now the Marlins outfield coach.

Morrison said he didn’t think about keeping the bat he used for his first hit. On his third plate appearance, his bat broke, and he gave it to a kid in the stands.

The Marlins now have three rookies in their every day lineup — Morrison, Sanchez and Mike Stanton.

On his first day in the big leagues, Morrison still had a blue New Orleans Zephyrs bag. 

The fact that it took him two at-bats to get his first hit was a bit of a relief.

“To get that out of the way was nice,” Morrison said. “Maybe I can trade [my Zephyrs bag] in for a Marlins’ bag. That will be sweet.”

In left field, Morrison has already endured some heckling from fans, which is common for outfielders in visiting ballpark.

Morrison said the fans at AT@T Park had a chant for him.

“They’d yell — What’s wrong with Morrison? He’s a bum,” Morrison said.

Some fans greeted him with: “Go back to Triple-A.”

— Joe Frisaro




Johnson has Girardi's praise

About 90 minutes before facing the Yankees, Josh Johnson was receiving praises from his former manager.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi called Johnson “one of the best pitchers in the National League.”

Johnson, the Marlins 25-year-old ace, was a rookie in 2006 when Girardi was Florida’s manager.

Even at the age of 22, Johnson showed flashes of becoming a standout.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the National League,” Girardi said. “I loved him from the day I saw him. I thought he had a chance to be real special. It’s not something that you’d say about a guy who really throws two pitches. I know he has the changeup now.”

Early in his career, Johnson was basically a fastball, slider pitcher. Now he had a two-seam fastball — his sinker — to go along with his four-seam fastball, which this year is reaching 98 mph on occasion.

“His location was great all the time,” Girardi said. “His mechanics were good. He had the great slider.”

Johnson entered Saturday night with 98 innings pitched. That was fourth most in the National League. However, he needed just three innings to reach Arizona’s Dan Haren (101) for the top spot.

The Marlins are 11-3 when Johnson starts, and the right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.76 ERA.

Johnson is making a strong case to be selected to the National League All-Star team, a decision that will be made by NL manager Charlie Manuel. Pitchers are not voted into the All-Star Game by the fans.

Asked if Johnson was All-Star worthy, Girardi said: “Absolutely. I don’t see the National League all the time. The numbers [wins and losses], you don’t look at that. You look at the innings and ERA. In those, he’s one of the best.”

Johnson is fifth in the NL in ERA, behind Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (2.17), Haren (2.23), San Francisco’s Matt Cain (2.39) and Tim Lincecum of the Giants (2.72).

— Joe Frisaro