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Marlins Today


July 31, 2009 12:10 AM

Game #101: Marlins vs Braves

Land Shark Stadium - 7:10 PM - Josh Johnson vs Kenshin Kawakami

BOX


Josh Johnson wasn't at his best on the mound on Wednesday night but he made up for it at the plate and still would up leading the Fish to a win. Johnson covered up the three runs he gave up by hitting a three run homer, his second of the year. Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla added homers of their own as the Marlins took the series from the Braves with a 6-3 victory. It was their third straight series win.

Josh Johnson: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, BB, K - After giving up a single in the 1st, Johnson put Garret Anderson, the leadoff man, on in the 2nd. In their last four games, the Marlins have allowed 17 leadoff men to reach with four of those coming tonight. It was a bit of a new experience for Johnson as he's pitched 141 innings this year and only allowed 37 leadoff men to reach. With one out and Anderson on third, Johnson caught a huge break as a hard hit line drive was snared by Emilio Bonifacio and caught another one as the pitcher's spot came up with two men on and he got out of the inning by striking him out. In their last nine games, the Marlins have only committed one error. He used that help to his advantage by setting down his next six in order then thanked his offense by aiding them back in the form of a three run homer in the 4th. This year with RISP, Johnson is hitting .273/.333/.545/.879. He gave one of those runs back in the 5th on a homer to Casey Kotchman and allowed two of the next three men to reach, giving the braves a first and third with one out chance but rolled the double play to get out of it with just one run on his line. That's where the defense stopped helping and started hurting. he rolled what should have been another one in the 6th but Bonifacio's throw to first was about three feet short of Jorge Cantu. It turned what would have been a solo homer by Garret Anderson into a two run homer. It was the first time he's allowed homers in back-to-back innings this year. He only struck out one and only threw 57% of his pitches for strikes when he entered throwing an average of 65% of his pitches for strikes per game and a 7.5 K/9, proving that he was hardly at his best. However, considering he drove in as much as he gave up, you can't really complain.

Hanley Ramirez: 2-4, R, 2 RBI - Drove in Bonifacio on a triple on a 3-0 count in the 3rd and gave Johnson back the only run he gave up in the bottom of the 6th with a solo homer. Ten straight games with a hit, seven RBIs in his last three, OBP at a seasonal high .414, a 1.022 OPS in July, and his career numbers favor the second half. It's time to start thinking batting title.

Dan Uggla: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB, K - Let a meatball go by him in his first AB but made up for it by nearly hitting the landing space shuttle with the same pitch in the 5th, marking the second first pitch homer of the inning and chasing Kawakami. The homer was Uggla's tenth hit in his last nine games, a span in which he has five XBHs. his .773 OPS is the highest it's been since July 11. Uggla may have found his power stroke again but he's trying to use it on everything he sees. Despite his struggles connecting earlier in the year, the one thing he could do was walk. It seems as though now the tables have turned. July is already his worst month in the strikeout department and with one more game played in it, is still tied with April for a monthly low in walks. Is he ever going to put it all together?

Leo Nunez: IP, H, K - He's given up runs in three of his last four nights but he hasn't blown a save since June 11. He was on his way to a 1-2-3 inning tonight before giving up a triple but stranded that run there by striking out Nate McLouth. Despite his recent high wire acts, Nunez has been much more dependable than Matt Lindstrom. Even though Lindstrom is due back from the DL soon, if Nunez keeps turning in saves, I don't know how you remove him from the closer's role unless of course, the Marlins acquire Heath Bell.

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