The Miami Marlins continue to be one of the hottest teams in baseball, in the month of May. After the teams second straight victory over the visiting San Francisco Giants, the Marlins pushed their record to a league best 18-7 for the month. The Marlins have done a little bit of everything this month to get their ship turned around, after an abysmal April had critics wondering if the team’s aggressive off-season was going for naught.
Although the Marlins have played much better this month, the team has yet to get much production from catcher, left field, and first base. With Emilio Bonifacio being out for four-to-six months, the team is lacking production in center field as well, currently. Adding on that Heath Bell has been an absolute waste of money for the Marlins so far, fans should feel pretty good about the Marlins chances of playing this kind of ball going forward.
The table was set for Saturday afternoon’s tilt to be a pretty good pitchers duel. Mark Buehrle has been throwing the ball well for the Marlins and the Giants countered with one of their best young pitchers, Madison Bumgarner. Despite strong start from Bumgarner, the Marlins turned in a solid offensive performance, once again, carried by the immortal Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton helped the Marlins get on the board in the bottom half of the second, when he lined a doubled to left field. After Bumgarner retired Logan Morrison, Donovan Solano, making his first Major League start in left field, singled to drive in Stanton to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
That lead was however, short lived. Mark Buehrle went on to allow a double to Manny Burris to lead off the third inning. Burris would score on a run-scoring single by Gregor Blanco to tie the game up, a batter later.
The Marlins countered the Giants run-tying score with a big inning in the bottom half of the third. After Buherle struck out to start the inning, Jose Reyes and Omar Infante had back-to-back singles, and then successfully completed a double steal. With runners on second and third for Hanley Ramirez, Ramirez gave the Marlins a lead with a single that scored Reyes. Bumgarner then decided to pitch around Stanton, who ended up walking. Bumgarner then got Logan Morrison to ground into what should have been a double play, but Morrison ran hard down the line and beat out the throw to first.
As Morrison reached first safely, Infante scored, and then Ramirez came around to score when the ball was dropped at first base. This miscue and the hard running by Morrison gave the Marlins a 4-1 lead through two innings.
The Marlins were able to add on one more run in the sixth inning when Stanton and Morrison lined back-to-back doubles to extend the Marlins lead to 5-1. The Giants were able to cut the lead to three in the eight inning when Ryan Theriot tripled and scored on a Melky Cabrera ground out.
In the ninth, Heath Bell came in to close the game for the Fish, however, for the second straight evening, Bell struggled enough with a three-run cushion that Ozzie Guillen decided to yank him. Bell walked two men and allowed a base hit and left the game with the bases loaded and recorded only one out.
The problem for Bell, once again, was his control. I am not going to go too much into detail on this, as Michael Jong did an excellent job on his Fishstripes game recap.
After the game, while Ozzie did not back off of his support of Bell as the Marlins closer, he sure as hell seemed less convinced Bell was the man to get the job done.
“The last thing you want to do is take your closer out every day,” Guillen said. “We give him every opportunity to get out of this, and once again he can’t get it done. Right now, it’s not working. I’m going to sleep on it and see if we come up with some ideas. Obviously, fans have their reason to be upset,” Guillen said. “They see the same stuff we see. The difference is here we’re family. Here we’re going to protect each other like brothers. I will take the heat if something goes wrong. But, in the meantime, we’ve got to get it done. I don’t have anymore bullets to protect him.”
The Marlins and Giants will complete their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. The game will start a 1:10 EST PM and the match-up will be a favorable one for the Giants, as they will send out Matt Cain against the struggling Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco has had quite a bit of success in his career against the Giants, including a 7 inning outing earlier this season against the Giants.
Prediction: The Giants win the ballgame behind a strong outing from Cain, a complete game shutout. The Giants will only be able to muster up one run against the Marlins Nolasco, whom returns to his form from the beginning of the season. The Marlins and Giants split the four-game series as the Marlins prepare for the first place Washington Nationals to come to town.
Topics: Donovan Solano, Emilio Bonifacio, Giancarlo Stanton, Gregor Blanco, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, Logan Morrison, Madison Bumgarner, Mark Buehrle, Matt Cain, Melky Cabrera, Miami Marlins, Omar Infante, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Theriot, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals