June is over and the Miami Marlins are playing good baseball again. The Miami Marlins are on a four-game winning streak and the calendar now reads July 1st. July started the same way June began for the Marlins, with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Let’s hope the results in the rest of the month are better then what they were in June.
The Marlins completed their first three game sweep since the end of May, when the Philadelphia Phillies behind a strong offensive output and offensive production from nearly every player. Ricky Nolasco was the starting pitcher for the Marlins against Joe Blanton for the Phillies.
The game did not get off to the best of starts for the Marlins, as Nolasco surrendered an early triple to the second Phillies hitter of the game, Juan Pierre. Pierre scored on a Hunter Pence ground ball fielders choice. On the play, Hanley Ramirez fielded the grounder and fired the ball home. The throw was a bit high and Pierre was able to slide in past Buck. It was a play that should have been made, but unfortunately for Nolasco, was not made. The Phillies had a 1-0 lead for Joe Blanton before he even took the mound.
Nolasco was able to settle down and pitch an efficient game the rest of the way. Nolasco lasted seven innings, striking out six hitters, while walking none, and allowing just two earned runs.
Nolasco had been struggling with velocity, as he had been under 90 for most of the season. Nolasco’s average fastball has been around 89.9 according to Fangraphs. Although it was a very small amount of velocity added, it did seem to make a huge impact for Nolasco.
But as Michael pointed out, Nolasco’s slider and curveball did most of the work for him. Nolasco threw 24 sliders and induced eight of his 11 swings and misses off of them. Nolasco also mixed in his curveball and got some decent results with them as well. With the fastball’s added velocity and the mixing of his pitches, Nolasco had a fine start.
If the Marlins can get these type of outing from Nolasco going forward, the Marlins chances of contending go way up. If the Marlins get the Nolasco that struggles, they are in a world of trouble.
Marlins Offense Comes Alive?
For the first time in what felt a long time, it felt like the Marlins entire offense had a good all around game. The fun started for the Marlins lineup in the bottom half of the second inning. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a bloop single over the head of the Phillies second baseman, Mike Fontenot. Justin Ruggiano came up next and lined a single to left field. With Juan Pierre manning left, LoMo made a wise decision to test Pierre’s “noodle” arm and try to get to third base. Unfortunately for LoMo, Pierre made a perfect throw and Placido Polanco made an impressive tag to get Morrison out at third.
It seemed like the Marlins would be once again, losing out on a big inning. Nothing new for the Marlins in the month of June. Fortunately, the next hitter, Omar Infante was able to double and drive in Ruggiano to tie the ballgame. John Buck followed Infante with a double of his own to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. The Marlins would not relinquish that lead.
In the third inning, Stanton hit an impressive opposite field home run to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead. The swing was impressive, but the ball did not seem to be well hit, but the ball just kept carrying and got out of the ballpark. It was only fitting that Stanton hit a home run in his first at-bat after learning the news of his all-star selection. Here is a look at the home run:
And once again, courtesy of Michael, here is a picture of where Stanton’s ball ended up:
Quite impressive power indeed. I cannot wait to see Stanton’s full power on display for the home run derby. It is really going to be a treat to watch as a baseball fan.
Although the Marlins did not add on any more runs until the 8th inning, the Marlins offense was able to gather seven hits all day, including a hit by every Marlins starter, minus Jose Reyes. Even though Reyes did not collect a hit, he did join in the action for the Marlins, scoring on a Hanley Ramirez home run in the 8th.
To lead off the 8th, the Phillies brought in Antonio Bastardo to face Reyes. Bastardo walked Reyes on four straight pitches to bring Ramirez to the plate. What was even more impressive about the home run was that after swinging at two horrible pitches, Ramirez was able to lay off a couple of good pitches and work the count full. Bastardo then hung a slider that Hanley took for a ride to the Clevelander.
There were 31,727 fans at Marlins Park on Sunday, and Ramirez tried to pump them up after his home run in the eight. Ramirez said “I love when I see the crowd going crazy.’’
With a comfortable three run lead, the Marlins summoned Heath Bell to close out the game. Unlike the last the time Nolasco started and Bell came in with a four-run lead, Bell was able to preserve the lead for the Marlins. Bell was able to collect three quick outs and the Marlins were on their way to victory. The brooms were out in full effect.
The Marlins will take on the Milwaukee Brewers next, for a four game series in Wisconsin. I will have a game preview, as well as the chat I had with Colin Bennett up before game time tomorrow.
Topics: Anthony Bastardo, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Hunter Pence, Joe Blanton, John Buck, Jose Reyes, Juan Pierre, Justin Ruggiano, Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins, Mike Fotenot, Omar Infante, Philadelphia Phillies, Placido Polanco, Ricky Nolaco