The Miami Marlins have not lost a series since the end of April, when they dropped three of four to the Arizona Diamondbacks. That series loss dropped the Marlins record to 8-14 for the season. At that time, the Marlins were sitting at the bottom of the National League East. Analysts and fans started to second guess whether the money the Marlins spent in the off-season was well spent.
Fast forward a month and the Marlins are now tied atop the NL East with the Washington Nationals and with a record of 31-23, are eight games over .500 for the first time since June 1st of last season. The Marlins completed another series win with the help of Carlos Zambrano‘s pitching, as well as hitting.
Apparently, Zambrano was suffering from the flu. He complained about a headache and a sore throat, but after Sunday afternoon’s game was complete, the Phillies were the ones complaining about being sick, sick of seeing Zambrano.
Zambrano started the scoring for the Marlins in third inning, as Zambrano lifted a 418 foot shot to left-center field to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. Zambrano also only allowed just two hits over his first seven innings, both to former Marlin, and still Heat fan, Juan Pierre.
Zambrano’s line for the afternoon was 7 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits, one earned run, as he struck out seven, and walked just two. It was one of Big Z’s best days overall, as a Marlin, and one of his best days recently. I think it is fair to say that the Marlins are winning the Volstad-Zambrano swap right now.
Aside from Zambrano’s home run, the Marlins were able to put up three other runs in the ballgame. Hanley Ramirez homered for the third time in the past two games in the fourth inning to extend the Marlins lead to 2-0. Ramirez now has 11 homers this season, after just hitting 10 all of last season in an injury ridden season. The off-season notions to trade Ramirez have been quickly dropped.
The Marlins would score again in the seventh inning. After Zambrano’s sac bunt attempt scored him a single to load the bases, Jose Reyes doubled to score two more Marlins runs to extend the lead to 4-0. A wild pitch with Ramirez at-bat scored Zambrano and extended the Marlins lead to 5-0.
Ozzie Guillen allowed Zambrano to go out and pitch the eight inning. Zambrano was not able to finish the inning off, as he was lifted with two outs after a Juan Pierre single ended the Marlins shutout bid. Steve Cishek got Hunter Pence to strikeout to end the inning and the threat. In the ninth, after retiring the first hitter, Cishek allowed the next two Phillies to reach via singles, with these runners on base, a save opportunity arose and Ozzie brought in his closer.
Heath Bell once again got the job done for the Marlins, picking up his 12th save of the season. Bell has been a lot better as of late for the Marlins, the Marlins have done better overall since he has turned around his season.
Next up for the Marlins will be a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves. This will be a series where I feel the Marlins should be able to have a big series, as the pitching match-ups work in their favor. I will have a game preview for game 1 up on Tuesday, as well as a chat with one of the writers over on Tomahawk Chop.