After the Miami Marlins dramatic walk-off victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday evening, the team was hoping to elongate that success and try to build a winning streak to climb back towards the .500 mark. With their ace Josh Johnson on the mound, that seemed to be a very plausible scenario.
In what has to be one of the oddest performances of the season, Josh Johnson enjoyed a peripherally strong start. Unfortunately for him and his team, the Diamondbacks just kept hitting bloopers to where the defense was not. The only hard hit ball that I can recall hit off of Johnson was a double by Lyle Overbay in the fourth inning.
Josh Johnson, unlike in his earlier starts where he struggled this season, was able to generate swings and misses on his pitches. This was evident with his 8-strikeout performance. Johnson also limited his walks in this game to just two batters. Johnson was able to cause a lot of damage with a pitch that he had been missing with earlier this season, his slider.
Johnson threw 35 sliders, seven of those went for swinging strikes and only seven other pitches were even made contact with. Interestingly enough, five out of those seven whiffs came against left-handers. The slider is usually more effective against righties.
Johnson only allowed one extra base hit in his performance. Nine of his ten hits he allowed went for singles, none of which were hit particularly hard.
Johnson still has not been able to match the velocity he has in the past, and that could be something for cause of concern for Marlins fans, today’s start, on the other hand, not so much. The Diamondbacks were able to string together a bunch of soft hit bloopers to produce their runs. While the stat line was not pretty, Marlins fans should chalk this game up as more bad luck then a bad performance.
Mike Dunn entered the game after Johnson and was very ineffective. Dunn went 2/3′s of an inning, allowing three earned runs on two hits. Dunn also walked two hitters. The Marlins got Johnson out of the game before the game was out of hand, but unfortunately, Dunn made an ugly inning even uglier. At this point, the only thing the Marlins could do is try to break up Wade Miley‘s no hitter.
And they successfully did so to start the seventh inning, when John Buck led the inning off with a double. He was stranded at second and the Marlins were unable to produce a run.
The good news that Marlins fans can take from this game is that half of my prediction came through on Sunday afternoon. Here is a look at my prediction from the game recap from Saturday evening’s game:
Prediction: The Marlins offense finally comes to life and Josh Johnson has a strong start. Giancarlo Stanton will go deep for the first time and the Marlins will win 6-1.
The Marlins offense obviously did not perform well, but Giancarlo Stanton was able to hit his first home run of the season. That is sort of a victory. Hopefully this means that he can turn things around at the plate and help the Marlins to start and score some runs. Here is a video of the home run:
The series will conclude Monday afternoon, before the Marlins travel to San Francisco to take on the Giants. The pitching match up in the game will be Mark Buehrle and Patrick Corbin. Buehlre will be making his first career start against the Diamondbacks and Corbin will be making his Major League debut. In his first four starts for Double-A Mobile, Corbin had a 1.67 ERA. He gets to pitch to an inept lineup to get his feet wet in the big leagues.
Prediction: The Marlins will salvage the series and win the game by the final score of 3-1. Buehrle will continue his strong start to the 2012 season and give the Marlins 8 strong innings. Heath Bell will close out the game and get the Marlins back in the win column.
If the Marlins lose this game, I will start to pick against them to hopefully reverse our luck.