Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Marlins home attendance increase

A story in USA Today on Wednesday outlined how Major League Baseball overall is experiencing a 6.5 percent drop in attendance, based on numbers obtained through

The Marlins, however, enjoyed a 9.7 percent increase, averaging 18,075 in 78 dates at Land Shark Stadium. Instead of 81 dates, that number was down three due to three doubleheaders, two caused by rainouts.

The Marlins wrapped up their home schedule on Sunday against the Mets, and the team drew more than 30,000 in its final four home dates.

“Our attendance is up,” Marlins president David Samson said in a recent interview.

If not for rain delays, the team feels the crowds would have been bigger. In all, the Marlins attracted more than 1.4 million fans.

“There is no question, I think it would have been closer to 1.8 [million],” Samson said if not for the weather. “We [were] in the race until the final week. The definition of in the race is when there is no ‘x’ next to our name.”

That Marlins were officially eliminated on Tuesday night.

Other teams to see a dramatic increase in attendance are the Royals (13.9 percent) and Rangers (10.8 percent).

Teams on the decline are the Nationals (22.8 percent), Blue Jays (21.8) and Padres (21.6).

Overall, however, the league projects more than 75.2 million fans, the fourth most in baseball history, according to USA Today.

“Given that we are in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it’s stunning,” commissioner Bud Selig told USA Today of still attracting more than 75 million people. “This year is a great testament to the huge popularity of our sport.”

— Joe Frisaro


Rain delay ticket policy

Heavy rain delayed the start of Saturday’s game by 2-hours, 34-minutes. The game was slated to begin at 6:10 p.m. ET, but instead got under way at 8:44 p.m.

Because the delay was more than 90 minutes, fans at the park on Saturday can use their ticket stubs to purchase a ticket, for $1, to any of the remaining Marlins home games this year.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins on TV Saturday

The Marlins game on Saturday against the Nationals is being televised on DIRECTV alternate channel 655 and DISH 447, while the Rays on Saturday are slated for the usual primary FS Florida channels (DIRECTV 654 and DISH 423). Sun Sports is televising the University of Florida football game against Charleston Southern.

The Marlins game also is designated as one of a few Marlins “bonus” games on Fox Sports Florida. All South Florida cable systems are slated to carry the game.

Comcast Cable in Miami-Dade and Broward is experiencing technical difficulties. They are working on it.

— Joe Frisaro


Kensing dealt to Nationals

Logan Kensing, who was designated for assignment on April 25, has been traded to the Nationals for Minor League pitcher Kyle Gunderson.

The 26-year-old Kensing made six relief appearances for Florida, and he was 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA. He was designated last Saturday, after he suffered the loss to the Phillies. He gave up two runs on four  hits in the 10th inning of that game.

Gunderson, a right-hander, has been assigned to Class A Jupiter.

— Joe Frisaro  


Historic weekend in Washington

History on several different levels is being made by the Marlins.

In sweeping the Nationals over the weekend, the Marlins improved their fastest start ever to 11-1. The way the Marlins also won the three games at Nationals Park.

According to Elias, never before has an MLB team ever won a three-game series the way the Marlins did. That’s by trailing in the ninth inning, and rallying to victory in all three games.

You have to go back to the Tigers from Sept. 17-19, 1998, to find a team that has won three straight in this fashion. But then, Detroit beat two different teams. The Tigers rallied to beat the Blue Jays on Sept. 17, and on Sept. 18-19, they came back against the Twins.

— Joe Frisaro

Bullpen sets record

History was made, but not extended for Florida’s bullpen on Sunday afternoon.

In the Marlins’ dramatic 7-4 victory over the Nationals, the bullpen extended its scoreless-innings streak to 24 straight innings, which establishes a franchise record.

Twice before the pen had logged 23 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

But as soon as the record was set, the streak snapped in the following frame. Leo Nunez in the bottom of the eighth inning allowed one run. At the time, it put the Nationals ahead 4-3.

— Joe Frisaro

Breaking down Nolasco

When his pitch count went up, the Marlins decided on Friday to take the 26-year-old out after four innings.

A telling at-bat was a 10-pitch encounter with Washington pitcher John Lannan, who eventually grounded out to shortstop. Yet, that sequence left Nolasco at 87 pitches, which was enough in the eyes of manager Fredi Gonzalez.

On Saturday, pitching coach Mark Wiley said physically Nolasco is fine. There is no dead-arm period, which is common for pitchers at some point.

“I don’t think it’s a dead-arm period, because he’s throwing 92, 91, 93, and that’s nice for him,” Wiley said. “I’m pleased that he’s at that point. Right now, in finishing his pitches with his fastball, he’s not as good as he’s been. His location is not right.

“He can battle out of it. But his pitch count got a little bit high.”

Also in that fourth inning where Lannan tacked on 10 pitches, Josh Willingham had an eight-pitch showdown with Nolasco.

Since Nolasco faced the Nationals on Opening Day, he has seen them twice in 10 games.

“I think with Ricky, he faced the same team twice,” Wiley said. “He was trying to do too much maybe with his breaking ball. He’s fine. I think it’s just a little bit of an approach. But he’s carrying out counts a little too deep. Not that he’s not getting ahead in the count, but he’s not getting that put-away pitch like he’s used to.”

The encouraging thing about Nolasco, who will next pitch on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, is his struggles are easily correctable. For example, sometimes he would throw three straight breaking balls, with two of them crisp but maybe the third one not being.

“I think that’s just a matter of a touch-up here and there, and he will be fine,” Wiley said.

— Joe Frisaro 


Bonifacio learned from Butler

A few years ago when Emilio Bonifacio was advancing in Arizona’s Minor League system, he learned a lot about the game from a pretty good former big leaguer.

Brett Butler, a speedster and an excellent bunter in his 17-year MLB career, was Bonifacio’s manager at high Class A and Double A.

“He was my manager for two years, in high A and Double-A,” said Bonifacio, a native of the Dominican Republic. “He talked to me about how to bunt. I like him.”

Butler these days is managing Arizona’s Triple-A Reno.

With 17 years of big league seasons and 2,375 career hits under his belt, Butler offered plenty of advice to the speedy Bonifacio.

Bunting is a part of Bonifacio’s game that continues to develop. Florida is looking for the speedster to find ways to get on base, and make things happen.

After a scorching start, Bonifacio has quieted the last two games in Atlanta. He has gone hitless with seven strikeouts in his last 10 at-bats.

On Friday night at Washington, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez gave Bonifacio a day off. Cameron Maybin replaced Boni in the leadoff spot.

Gonzalez said the 0-for-10 stretch wasn’t the breather.

“That’s not the column, I’m worried about,” Gonzalez said. “The strikeouts. It’s the Ws that I’m worried about.”

With Washington starting lefties John Lannan on Friday and Scott Olsen on Saturday, Gonzalez was leaning toward giving Bonifacio one of the two days off.

It happened to be Friday.

Maybin also has struggled at the plate. The two youngsters are still learning.

Bonifacio says he started chasing pitches up in the zone, citing that for a reason for his slight slump.

“I have to see better pitches,” Bonifacio.

Early in the season, Bonifacio said he was effective hitting pitches down in the zone. An adjustment some pitchers are making are to elevate in the zone.

“There is a lot of scouting out there,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve said it from the very beginning, [Boni] and Maybin, we’re going to be patient with them. They’re going to go ups and downs.

“Yeah, there are going to be some adjustments. It’s hard on veteran guys.”

— Joe Frisaro

Ollie vs. J.J.

I know. I know. Opening Day is Monday, but I couldn’t help jump ahead to Tuesday’s pitching matchup. Josh Johnson vs. Scott Olsen. That should draw attention. Many are predicting a small crowd. They may be right, but with kids out for Spring Break down here, it would be a fun game to see.

Olsen and Johnson were drafted by the Marlins in 2002. And Olsen, now with the Nationals, was a popular Marlin from 2006-08.

In Spring Training they faced each other, and Johnson hit a double off Olsen on a fastball. J.J. can expect more sliders on Tuesday.

“He got that hit off me, with this big grin on his face,” Olsen said on Sunday. “I had a smile. I tried not to smile. I gave him a pitch where he wanted it, but he still had to hit it.”

Asked if J.J. could expect some sliders on Tuesday, Olsen said: “Probably.”

Olsen said of Johnson, “I just hope he’s not thowing 98. I can’t hit that.”

Good friends still, Olsen says it’s definitely “different being on this side. But you’ve got to go where they tell you to play. There is a reason I’m over here. Somebody wanted me.”

Olsen said he knew when the 2008 season was over that he probably was being traded.

“I would have been surprised if I was staying,” he said.

Olsen is good friends with Ricky Nolasco, and the two spent the offseason playing catch regularly at Founders Park in Aventura, a community park between their apartment buildings. Olsen plans to keep his place in Aventura.

“I have no intentions of selling it, it’s way too nice,” Olsen said.  “I’ll be around.”

As for Nolasco pitching on Opening Day, Olsen said: “I’m very happy for him. That’s something I know he really worked hard towards doing. He really takes pride in that.

— Joe Frisaro

Open workout

On Sunday, April 5, the day before the Marlins open against the Nationals at Dolphin Stadium, their workout will be open to the public.

This is a first for the franchise.

Typically, the day before workout is closed to the public. This year, fans will be able to watch the workout, which begins at 4 p.m. ET. The gates will open at 2:30 p.m.

There will be entertainment available at the park, as the Mermaids and Manatees will also be on hand.

The day also will be a chance for fans to check out season ticket options.

— Joe Frisaro