En Fuego: Marlins pitching.
En Frio: Marlins pitching against other pitchers. Marlins inability to generate base hits.
Winner: Frio, damnit, 3-2.
Anibal Sanchez, with his nice, easy delivery struck out 7 batters in six innings tonight, putting him ahead of Cole Hamels in most categories except jackassery. Tonight, Anibal was dropping in curve-balls for strikes at will.
With the Marlins bats still off to a slow start, patience at the plate has become critical. Small ball is still winning games, with Emilio Bonifacio stealing almost at will, and some beautiful sacrifice bunts moving the guys around. In the long run, I expect this strategy will pay off later in the season. In the meantime, the long ball is still the king. Omar Infante put one over the left field wall in the top of the fourth to get the ball rolling., and John Buck hit an absolute rocket of a line drive over the scoreboard in left. Other than that, base hits are still the exception rather than the rule.
The game progressed at a steady, undramatic pace through the sixth inning, when Infante blew both a glove and a throw that allowed the tying run across the plate for the Astros. It was definitely uncharacteristic for Infante, and set up a seventh inning that spelled the end of Sanchez’s outing.
The bottom of the eighth had me thanking my lucky stars that Stanton started his life as a football corner, as he stopped a blast off of Randy Choate from clearing the right field wall. We entered our notorious bullpen at a 2-2 tie, and tension was running high. The almost-long-enough ball was the end of Choate, and a routine grounder to Hanley Ramirez tallied the second out. A big fly ball from Brian Bogusevic off of Ryan Webb with a runner on first took the win from Sanchez.
Brett Myers stepped in to close for the Astros, and his precision was too much for Infante and Ramirez. Morrison rolled one up the middle, and Infante got to be the goat for both defense and offense, despite a nice tater into the cheap seats.
Bottom line: An dearth of base hits shut off any opportunity for our aggressive baserunning to force the hand of the Astros, and we rolled over for an avoidable loss.