Florida Marlins History: Dontrelle Willis versus David Ross

MIAMI - OCTOBER 11: Dontrelle Willis #35 of the Florida Marlins kicks and delivers against the Chicago Cubs in game four of the National League Championship Series on October 11, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Cubs defeated the Marlins 8-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
MIAMI - OCTOBER 11: Dontrelle Willis #35 of the Florida Marlins kicks and delivers against the Chicago Cubs in game four of the National League Championship Series on October 11, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Cubs defeated the Marlins 8-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images) /
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In today’s Plate Appearance of the Day series, we focus on player of the day Dontrelle Willis.

Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins /

Today’s season: 2004

Seasonal Game: 28, May 6th, 2004 – Los Angeles Dodgers visit Florida Marlins

Plate appearance: Eight-of-85, Dontrelle Willis pitches to David Ross, approximately 7:20PM.

Florida Marlins
MIAMI – JULY 11: Pitcher Dontrelle Willis #35 of the Florida Marlins reaches back as he prepares to throw a pitch during the game against the New York Mets at Pro Player Stadium on July 11, 2004 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images) /

Where They Were

The Florida Marlins were fresh off winning their second World Series Championship, and still had a lot of pieces of that club. Coming into the game, they sat at 16-11, in first place in the NL East division, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers, tied for first place in the NL West Division with the San Diego Padres, boasted a 16-10 record. The two clubs would be playing the final game of a three-game set. They had split the first two.

Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins /

In Game

Willis (3-0, 2.73) took the hill against a potent Dodger lineup. 2003’s NL Rookie of the Year, Willis was still only 22-years-old and already an all-star. Cesar Izturis opened with a single, and Paul Lo Duca followed with another. Willis then struck out Milton Bradley before Shawn Green hit a three-run shot to take an early lead.

With the bases cleared and one out, Willis had a real opportunity to get out of it with just the damage already caused. Instead, he allowed Adrian Beltre to single, then struck out Juan Encarnacion. Jose Hernandez followed with a single, Willis’ fifth hit allowed in the inning. Beltre moved to third.

Florida Marlins
MIAMI – JULY 11: Pitcher Dontrelle Willis #35 of the Florida Marlins reaches back as he prepares to throw a pitch during the game against the New York Mets at Pro Player Stadium on July 11, 2004 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images) /

Our Plate Appearance

Dodgers catcher David Ross approached the plate with a chance to do some real damage with runners on the corners. Ross inherited a Dodgers Win Expectancy of 77.5%, with correspondingly less leverage available to make it a truly important plate appearance.

Florida Marlins
LOS ANGELES – AUGUST 21: Catcher David Ross #40 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the ball during the game against the Montreal Expos on August 21, 2003 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated Expos 2-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

Ross worked Willis to a 3-1 count, then smacked a grounder hard to the left side. Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell calmly collected the ball and fired to second bagger Damion Easley to force out Hernandez.

The Rest of the Game

More from Marlins History

Juan Pierre went two-for-five with a pair of RBI, and Easley was two-for-three with a pair of walks. Alex Gonzalez was two-for-four with two RBI and a run scored.

Willis lasted five innings, taking the loss and allowing a total of five earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. He struck out three, and got 58-of-98 pitches in the strike zone for a 32 GameScore. When all was said and done, the Dodgers took a 9-4 decision.

The Rest of the Season

Now at 16-12, the Marlins went 67-67 and missed out on the postseason by 13 games to the Braves. The Dodgers marched right to the NL West title, finishing two games ahead of the San Francisco Giants. Los Angeles dropped their NL Divisional Series matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, three-games-to-one.

I select the Plate Appearance of the Day by using random.org. I select a random year from 1993 through 2018, then a random game number, usually between one and 162. That is, unless the season was in a strike year or a season in which the Miami or Florida Marlins made the postseason. Then I select a number between one and the final game number. After that, I count up the plate appearances, and select a random one. The player of the day is whoever was either pitching or hitting for the Marlins in the selected plate appearance.

Next: Devon White, Florida Marlin

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