The Marlins snapped a 5-game skid last night at home against the Braves. Giving up just one base hit in six innings of work, Josh Johnson retired 18 of 19 batters faced, issuing 9 K’s and no walks. Short singles by Jose Reyes and Donovan Solano set up a Carlos Lee single that drove in Reyes for the first of two runs posted by the Marlins; the second was a rare Emilio Bonifacio home run.
Mike Dunn, Edward Mujica, Randy Choate, and Steve Cishek came out of the bullpen to handle the last three innings. The ninth inning got a little tense when Jason Heyward grounded into a double play. The call at first was questionable, got questioned, and finished with the ejection of Fredi Gonzalez. There was no shortage of catcalls from the seats on Fredi’s ejection, confirming the long memory of Marlins fans. The Heyward grounder advanced Michael Bourn to third, setting up a Chipper Jones RBI single. With Chipper at first, the go-ahead run came up to the plate. Freddie Freeman blooped a soft liner to shallow center field, and Scott Cousins hustled in to make a sliding, game-winning catch.
With the Marlins setting themselves up as sellers as the trade deadline looms, it would be a huge boost to the quantity and quality of the new acquisitions if we were to make a good showing between now and the deadline. With four more games against Atlanta and three against SanDiego, we have a mixed bag of a schedule, but with performances like last night, optimism is at least an option.
As of this morning, the Marlins are rumored to be open to the idea of trading Hanley Ramirez. Apparently, the cut on his hand sustained during a brawl with a cooling fan has gotten infected due to an immature decision to stop taking antibiotics for a laceration earned with an(other) immature temper tantrum. The stunt appears to have had a lasting impact on the front office’s impression of Hanley, and it may be time for him to start packing light on game day. Other trade rumors circulate around Josh Johnson and Randy Choate. I’m on the fence with JJ. On the one hand, his value will be astronomical, especially after last night’s performance. However, he remains a solid anchor to the rotation, and the team can scarcely afford any loss of strength until the RISP and LOB stats start looking considerably better. As far as Choate is concerned, I can only imagine that Larry Beinfest’s phone is ringing off the hook about him. He’s a solid guy to step into a closing role for any number of teams.
For the remainder of the series with the Braves, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson face Mark Buehrle and Ricky Nolasco, respectively. The ERAs of both matchups are on par with each other, but the Marlins’ lack of offensive production appears to skew the W-L records in favor of the Braves. Once again, if the Marlins can drive baserunners home, there is every opportunity to sweep the Braves.
On a personal note, I’m glad to see Ichiro Suzuki land on his feet in New York. I’ve never been a Yankee fan, but he has been a class guy for his whole career, and I’m glad to see him finish up a first ballot career on a winning team.