Marlins Today

July 22, 2009 12:32 AM

Game #94: Marlins @ Padres

PETCO Park - 10:05 PM - Rick VandenHurk vs Tim Stauffer


Rick VandenHurk returned to the bigs with a bang on Monday night, tossing six two run innings and leading the Marlins to a 3-2 victory over the Padres in the first game of a three game series in San Diego.

Hanley Ramirez: 1-3, R, RBI, BB, K - Huge homer in the 1st. PETCO is an extreme pitcher's park. Just don't tell him. It's tied with Coors and Great American for his second best road park in the league for homers. He's only played 11 games there.

Rick VandenHurk: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K - His main achilles heel has always been pitch count. It continued to be in the first inning but for once, it wasn't his fault. Flashing new and improved movement on his two-seamer, good velocity, and good control, he struck out two in the 1st but because he was squeezed very hard, he only got credit for one. The other resulted in a double and caused him to throw an extended amount of pitches. He bounced back very nicely in the 2nd though getting off the mound after just 11 pitches and his third inning lasted just 10 pitches. Another problem VandenHurk has had thus far in his major league career is getting through the lineup for the second time without running into trouble. That continued to be a problem in the 4th but once again, it wasn't his fault. The Padres put runners at the corners in the 4th with only one out but it was the result of a ball lost in the lights and a bad read off the bat by Emilio Bonifacio. Despite the bad luck, VandenHurk was once again able to stay composed and get the last two outs without giving up a run. Finally, because of the two problems already mentioned, getting through the 6th inning has proved to be a challenge for RVH thus far in his career at this level. That problem persisted as well tonight and this time, it was all on him. With one out, he gave up two runs on two swings to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. However, even when he gave up runs he didn't look as bad as he did the last time we saw him. the only bad pitch he threw was the one to Kouzmanoff. In the Gonzalez AB, he threw a good pitch but was simply overpowered by their best hitter. In other words, when he was bad, he wasn't that bad. After the two homers, VandenHurk got Will Venable to fly out for the last out of the 6th, marking the first time he's made it that far in an outing since 2007 and eventually collected the win. The only positive thing that VandenHurk didn't have that he did last time we saw him was his best pitch, the 12-6 curve but with the added movement and zip on the two-seamer that makes it look like a cutter and the same great change of speeds with his mix in slider, that's a sacrifice that I don't mind him making.

Chris Coghlan: 0-5, K - In June, his swinging strike percentage was at a lowly 9%. In July, that number has risen to 12% and his walk totals show it. In June, he had a 0.6 BB/K and a .368 OBP. This month, those numbers are down to 0.4 and .229.

John Baker: 1-4, RBI - Unlike yesterday, the Marlins actually did something with the bases loaded and no outs. It wasn't in any kind of grand fashion but Baker's ground out RBI, his seventh already in 35 ABs this month after he knocked in just one in 49 June ABs, did it's job as it tied the game. As did...

Emilio Bonifacio: 0-4, RBI, BB, 3 K - ... this guy's bases loaded walk as it put the Marlins up by a run and got it to Hanley with the bases loaded. It was just his fourth walk this month in which he's OBPing .304.  Meanwhile, down in the eight hole, Baker is OBPing .351. If he's doing that swinging more freely down deep in the lineup, imagine what he could do in terms of OBP if he were seeing the kind of quality pitches Bonifacio is seeing. Unfortunately, that's all we can do right now is imagine.

Andrew Miller - Probably the only guy that didn't like seeing VandenHurk pitch well. The Marlins entered the night with thirteen pitchers on the roster. The outcome of this game likely had Miller's future this year riding on it. He was sent to AAA after the game. This tells us the front office is still planning on making a run this season and will likely be buyers at the deadline. It also means that Burke Badenhop will likely re-enter the rotation. The Marlins haven't officially announced who will be called up to take Miller's spot on the roster but a source tells us that it will be third baseman Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez has hit well in AAA and isn't being called up to sit on the bench. However, the million dollar question is how will he be used in harmony with Bonifacio? Will they split time? Is the honeymoon with Bonifacio over and is he headed to his rightful spot as a utility man? Right now, your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned.

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