Sometimes, when you’re stuck in the middle of the wrong kind of streak, you start thinking about what you can do to shake the curse. Think of the lengths that caddy Romeo Posar (Cheech Marin)went to to shake up Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) in Tin Cup; moving his loose change to the other pocket, etc. Ultimately, what Cup had to do was relax and clear his mind.
Maybe opening the roof last night was the trick. Maybe Josh Johnson channeled Nuke LaLoosh and was wearing his girlfriend’s garter belt under his uni. Most likely, however, is that he was able to relax and trust his arm and his mechanics.
Either way, he had an outstanding performance last night, limiting the visiting Red Sox to one run in seven innings. Giving up one earned run and one walk, he fanned seven, moving his ERA to 4.27 for the season. His fastball was on the high side of his average, tapping 95, and with good movement.
Fortunately, he had run support early in the game. A leadoff triple from Jose Reyes and a sac. fly from Donovan Solano started a three-run first inning when Reyes scored. Giancarlo Stanton looped a Texas-Leaguer to center field, followed by Logan Morrison belting a line drive to right field. Heads-up baserunning from Giancarlo Stanton tallied the second run on an Adrian Gonzalez bobble. Morrison crossed the plate on a right-field single by Gaby Sanchez.
John Buck opened the second inning with a single, and was sacrificed over to third by Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes. A base hit by Donovan Solano drove in the fourth and final run for the Marlins.
After the early-inning shelling, Josh Beckett demonstrated his precise, consistent pitching to hold the Fish to the four runs from the first two innings, ending his outing with three earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts after seven innings.
The Marlins sent in Steve Cishek for a scoreless eighth. He retired the first two batters before giving up a base hit to Scott Podsednik, and ended the inning on a soft grounder from Dustin Pedroia. Heath Bell came in for the ninth-inning save, his thirteenth of the season. Despite a leadoff walk to Adrian Gonzalez, Bell struck out the next three batters: David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Kevin Youkilis. Game over.
This afternoon, left-hander Clay Buchholz squares off against righty Mark Buehrle. Buchholz brings a 6-2 record with a 5.77 ERA to Buehrle’s 5-6, 3.49 record. With the six-loss streak put to bed and behind them, the Marlins should be fired up and ready to put the bats to work.
Prediction: 6-2 Marlins, with no Red Sox runs after the third inning. Also, the home run feature will light up for either Hanley Ramirez or Giancarlo Stanton (although it would be nice to see Gaby notch a “welcome home” dinger).
Topics: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, Cheech Marin, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Donovan Solano, Dustin Pedroia, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, John Buck, Jose Reyes, Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, Kevin Costner, Kevin Youkilis, Logan Morrison, Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins, Nuke LaLoosh, Romeo Posar, Roy McAvoy, Scott Podsednik, Steve Cishek, Tin Cup