Three Cheers for the Bullpen!

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The Miami Marlins gave up five hits last night.  They went scoreless for nine innings, and Jose Reyes threw a ball in the dirt that allowed the Rays to reach first on an error.  After Anibal Sanchez got pulled after 6 1/3 innings, five more pitchers took the mound for the Marlins.  Marlins hitters stranded sixteen runners last night.

While the basic facts from the preceding paragraph are true, they are presented in a somewhat misleading way.  The Marlins played fifteen innings of hard-fought small ball last night. Scott Cousins, fresh off the bus, finally delivered an RBI with a line drive to right field that brought Justin Ruggiano across from first.

The biggest stories of the night are the relief pitching and the late-inning performance of the outfield.  Let’s start with pitching:

Miami

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Anibal Sanchez

6.1

4

3

3

3

6

1

3.47

Steve Cishek

0.2

1

0

0

0

1

0

1.91

Edward Mujica

3

2

0

0

0

1

0

3.86

Randy Choate

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

2.29

Ryan Webb

3

2

0

0

1

1

0

3.81

Heath Bell

1

0

0

0

0

3

0

5.68

Totals

15

9

3

3

4

12

1

4.02

 

Four walks across fifteen innings.  Twelve strikeouts, six of which were posted in the first third of the game. Standouts were Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb, and Heath Bell.

Late in the game, as the extra innings ground on, there were several nail-biting shots taken to the outfield by the Rays.  In each case, the Marlins were playing a no-doubles defense.  Scott Cousins , Justin Ruggiano, and Giancarlo Stanton each made clutch catches, sprinting in from deep in their positions to nail catches that would have broken the game open for the Rays.

While a fifteen-inning win with an outstanding performance by the bullpen will most certainly boost the morale in the clubhouse, the trend of poor performance by the offense remains. The top third of our lineup stranded ten runners last night. Strikeouts by Hanley Ramirez in the eleventh and thirteenth innings with runners in scoring position certainly elevated the drama as the game wore on.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Josh Johnson faces Alex Cobb. Johnson has been getting closer and closer to the dominant form that has escaped him for the last two seasons, and Alex Cobb has struggled for the last four games.  Coming off last night’s hard-fought win, the Marlins will be energized. However, if J.J. has a rough start, Ozzie Guillen needs to make a tough decision, as his bullpen was stretched thin with six extra innings.  He may opt to bring Mark Buehrle in for a long relief appearance, which will affect his scheduled start next Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Prediction:  I think today is the day that Ehsan’s 6-1 prediction will land on the field.  At some point, the Marlins will start hitting to their potential.

 

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Tags: Alex Cobb Anibal Sanchez Edward Mujica Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez Heath Bell Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Justin Ruggiano Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Ozzie Guillen Randy Choate Ryan Webb Scott Cousins Steve Cishek Tampa Bay Rays

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