Beat writers and television analysts love few things more than when a once young, rebellious player finally assumes the role of steady-handed veteran. On Saturday night, Hanley Ramirez apparently did just that when he stepped into the role left empty since the departure of cliched gritty veteran Wes Helms by calling a players only meeting to address the team’s woeful June. The Marlins had gone 1-9 in their last ten games, falling to last place in the division and 9 games behind the Nationals. Even if the blossoming veteran narrative is a product of the media’s fascination with finding the story line in a sea of random occurrences, something finally clicked. Their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays looked and felt pretty good.
Starter Mark Buehrle pitched seven strong innings, giving up no runs and striking out seven. Each of the teams starting position players found their way on base. Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton missed out on hits, but were able to draw a walk and a HBP respectively. John Buck hit a three run home run in the 2nd. Calming, veteran bench presence Greg Dobbs added a two run home run in the sixth.
The team also stood out defensively. Stanton threw out Brett Lawrie at the plate from right field. Reyes held onto a fly ball after a trip up with Scott Cousins in shallow center that, along with temporarily aggravating Reyes’ $106 million shin, must have also aggravated the cardiovascular system of Jeffrey Loria. Indicative of the luck that the team had been missing out on, Logan Morrison threw out Rajai Davis at second after he tried to advance on a far too shallow fly ball to end the top of the 2nd.
Hopefully Sunday’s win is a sign of things to come. Either way, Sunday’s game was a brief respite from the misery that has been Miami Marlins baseball. The team will next face the St. Louis Cardinals, followed by the now fourth place Philadelphia Phillies.