May 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (38) celebrates with catcher John Buck (14) after throwing a shutout against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Marlins won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Carlos Zambrano shuts down Houston Astros, Miami Marlins win game 4-0


Baseball is a game of streaks. The Miami Marlins have been a perfect demonstration of this the past two weeks. The Marlins had lost eight of  nine ballgames before heading west. On the current Marlins road trip, they have been a perfect 7-0. The team now sits a game above .500 and are four games behind the Washington Nationals in the loss column.

The Marlins extended their win streak to seven in a row on Monday night against the Houston Astros. Of all the wins during the win streak, this might have been the Marlins most impressive victory. Even though this win was a well balanced win, the night belonged to Carlos Zambrano.

 

 


Source: FanGraphs

 

I guess Carlos Zambrano was sick of putting the game in a closers hands. He did everything he could do himself on Monday night to ensure his first victory of the season, and his first as a Miami Marlin. Zambrano allowed only three hits and struck out nine in his complete game shutout, the Marlins second complete game in three games.

Zambrano was able to induce a total of four double plays on the evening. That included some spectacular defense from his infield. Jose Reyes, Omar Infante, and Gaby Sanchez all made some impressive plays to help turn those four double plays.

Infante and Sanchez went a combined 0-for-7, but their defense made up for their troubles at the plate.

All four of the Marlins runs came via the long ball. Hanley Ramirez continued his resurgence with a two-hit game, with one being a home run to help ice the game in the ninth inning. John Buck went deep for the Marlins as well.

The play and the homer of the game belong to Giancarlo Stanton though:

 

Stanton’s two-run homer in the third added a .215 WPA for the Marlins and that happened to be the game winning hit for the Marlins. Stanton now has five home runs in seven games on the road trip, bringing his season total to six on the year. It is no coincidence that the Marlins started winning ball games when Stanton got hot.

Back to the player of the game. Big Z got the Marlins bullpen even more rest. Mark Buehrle pitched a complete game on Saturday and Ricky Nolasco pitched seven strong innings for the Marlins on Sunday. This comes after the Marlins bullpen had been taxed due to a poor performance by Josh Johnson and a couple of extra inning ball games.

The complete game shutout was the first for Zambrano since 2009. Zambrano’s desire to kill Heath Bell has been lowered, at least for the time being.

 

The two teams will be at it again tomorrow night on FSN Florida at 8:05 p.m. The pitching match-up will be favored heavily towards the Marlins, as Anibal Sanchez takes the mound against Aneury Rodriguez.

Prediction: The Marlins offense will have a breakout game behind another dominating pitching performance. Anibal Sanchez will deliver the second consecutive complete game shutout for the Marlins. The Marlins offense, led by Hanley Ramirez will put a season high eleven runs on the board.

 

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Tags: Aneury Rodriguez Anibal Sanchez Carlos Zambrano Gaby Sanchez Giancarlo Stanton Heath Bell Houston Astros John Buck Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Omar Infante Ricky Nolasco Washington Nationals

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