No BoniLine today, as Fredi gave him the day off in favor of Wes Helms. Still, a tight but very well-deserved victory for the Marlins over a good Jays team. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.
Sean West followed his masterpiece with a clunker.
Here’s another solid reason why wins don’t tell you anything. It was pretty visible to everyone there that Sean West could be beat out there, but the Jays were simply unable to get to him. In 5 2/3 innings, West walked four while striking out none and gave up two two-run homers in the process. His pitches, as one would expect in an outing like this, were not sharp. Watching him throughout, his velocity was way down, with his fastball sitting 87-89 MPH, only occasionally touching 90 MPH and going no higher. Color commentator Tommy Hutton mentioned that the Rogers Center radar gun looked a little slow, as evidenced by the uncharacteristic speeds for West and Leo Nunez. Still, West’s fastball looked slow today, and he wasn’t placing it anywhere effectively. The two home runs he allowed were big mistake pitches over the plate, and much of the time he spent either digging pitches into the dirt or missing in the strike zone. The Marlins should be considered lucky to get away with a win backed by a performance like this one.
The Marlins outfielders are locked in at the plate.
Last night Chris Coghlan put up a 4-for-5 line. Though he followed up last night with only one double today, the other two Marlins outfielders picked up the slack. Jeremy Hermida went 2-for-4 and Cody Ross went 3-for-4, and each of them smacked a two-run homer to produce the majority of the Fish’s runs. Closing in on the midway mark for June, Hermida has posted an impressive .342/.432/.526 line for the month, good for a .410 wOBA. The most encouraging sign perhaps is the increased power; for the month Hermida has posted a .184 ISO, and in his last six games, he’s knocked a double and three home runs. Not to be outdone, Cody Ross has put up a .275/.326/.475 line for the month and has powered the Marlins recently with two home runs and two doubles in the series, one of the doubles today coming off the top of the wall and looking conspicuously like a home run on video replay.
Combine the recent hot streaks with Coghlan’s solid month and increasing power numbers and Ross Gload’s quietly good season at the plate, and the Marlins suddenly have a bounty of useful offensive players who can play the outfield. I think Fredi should consider a lineup where Coghlan is moved to third base and Gload gets extra playing time in right field, even though his defense there is lacking. This would get the best bats in the lineup, even if it is only for one or two games a week versus right handers. It definitely seems like something to consider.
The bullpen looked spectacular.
A few games ago the pen struggled and Leo Nunez in particular surrendered the game winning run to St. Louis. Today the runs were allowed by West, but the pen came out and shut the door after an unearned made it a 6-5 game. Leo Nunez pitched an excellent 1 1/3 innings, striking out two in some very high leverage situations. Dan Meyer came in before him and knocked out Adam Lind in one of the tightest spots in the game, with runners on first and second with one out in the seventh inning and the Jays already with a run home. Finally, Matt Lindstrom gave up a leadoff hit but had no problems finishing off the top of the Jays order, thanks in some part to Marco Scutaro giving himself up for the sacrifice bunt. Lindstrom collected two easy outs in the highest leverage situations in the game, closing the door with a Vernon Wells strikeout.
The bullpen has had its ups and downs so far this year, trending down right now perhaps due to overwork, a situation that happened last year as well after the first half. Lindstrom has been wild all season long, and it has been torture to watch. But today Nunez and Lindstrom looked great and sealed a tough game for the Marlins. Hopefully this is a harbinger of things to come.