Marlins Today

August 2, 2009 9:51 PM

Game #104: Marlins vs Cubs

Land Shark Stadium - 7:10 PM - Burke Badenhop vs Carlos Zambrano


Nick Johnson's Florida Marlins' debut went over about as well as it could have as he reached base in four of his six ABs. However, Burke Badenhop's return to the rotation could not have gone much worse. He gave up six runs in just 1.2 innings. Behind a fantastic performance by Brian Sanches in his debut in long relief, the Marlins battled back to tie the game but more bullpen mismangement by Fredi Gonzalez wound up sinking the Fish in extra innings which left me longing for the debut of a new Marlins' manager.

Burke Badenhop: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R (5 ER), 4 BB, K - After tossing five scoreless against the brewers on June 2, he got a golden opportunity to get ahead in his career and solidify himself as a fixture in the Marlins' rotation. he failed. Miserably. During an average start, Badenhop is usually serviceable for his first three innings then falls apart after that. Tonight, he didn't even make it to the 3rd. Its safe to say he's out of chances. The experiment is over. After the game, he was placed on the DL with a strained neck. Tim Wood was promoted to take his place on the roster. He's not a starter. The Marlins have a day off on Monday so they can go with a four man rotation for a little while. The team will have one more chance to assess their only possibly major league ready callup, Sean West. Over that span as he will get one more start in AA but considering he has a 5.36 ERA since his demotion, he is likely not the long term answer this season. Chuck James, a still fairly young lefty, is on free agency. He had an 11-4, 3.78 season in '06 and a decent '07 for the Braves. His minor league stats were also fantastic. 31-18, 2.24 ERA in 84 starts. James is a flyball guy who has historically been known to give up a lot of homers which would make him and Land Shark Stadium the perfect fit. James did have shoulder surgery back in December of last year and has not thrown in quite some time so he would probably need two or three rehab starts but I'm sure West could do a serviceable job filling in for those two major league starts until James would be ready. Another possible option could be Sergio Mitre. Mitre has gotten beaten up as a starter for the Yankees, a notoriously impatient team, especially with pitchers. However, the sample size is small and he's been throwing in one of the biggest hitters parks in the league. Two of his three starts have come at New Yankee. If he struggles in his next start, a Mitre reunion could possibly become a cheap two to three month answer.

Nick Johnson: 2-3, R, RBI, 2 BB - Worked a five pitch walk in his first and third ABs, put a 2-0 fastball in the gap for an RBI double in his third, and singled and scored the tying run in the bottom of the 9th. The only thing he did all night that was not likable was going to third on his double with the play in front of him only to be thrown out. With Hanley Ramirez out, it was Emilio Bonifacio coming up behind him at the time so it was a little more understandable but he shouldn't get used to doing that and I don't think he will. He knows what his job is. He had the likes of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn hitting behind him in Washington. He also got caught stealing after his second walk but that may have just been a case of a missed sign. Those things will work themselves out. I also wouldn't put it past Fredi to send him.

Jorge Cantu: 0-4, 2 BB - Playing third for the first time in three months, he made two errors, both on routine plays. This is why he should have started at third last night in an attempt to shake some of the rust off but getting Bonifacio's bat into the lineup must have been more important.

John Baker: 2-4, R, BB, 2 K - Different month, same stuff. His July success has followed him into August as he doubled in his first two ABs, scored a run, and walked. Baker is now hitting .274 and OPSing .783, the highest both have been since May 19.

Hanley Ramirez: 0-1, R - Hit in the leg in the 4th and pulled. The prognosis is a knee contusion. Guys such as Brian Giles last season have gone to the DL with this same injury but the good news for Hanley is that this is not thought to be nearly as serious. He will likely be given the day off on Sunday and return after the off day on Tuesday.

Emilio Bonifacio: 2-2, R, 2 RBI, BB - Came in for the injured Hanley and worked a leadoff walk that kickstarted a two run 5th in his first AB, singled in his second, ran the count to 3-0 for just the 14th time in 255 PAs this year and working a seven pitch AB before walking in his third, and worked another three ball count before tying it with a triple in the 9th, just his second XBH in his last 18 games. See? He's already starting to produce off the bench. 

Cody Ross: 1-6, RBI, 2 K - Got the Marlins to within a run, driving in Dan Uggla from third in the 5th. He hasn't hit well at all in the past three weeks but when he has, all of his hits have been huge ones.

Dan Uggla: 0-4, R, 2 BB, 3 K - Struck out with the tying run on third in the 8th. In his last 89 ABs, he's struck out 29 times or 32% of the time.

Brian Sanches: 3-1 IP, 2 H, 6 K - After nearly being sent down last night, this guy came in in a role in which he's never pitched in, long relief and worked 4.1 fantastic innings, striking out six, both career highs, only giving up two hits, and throwing 69% of his pitches for strikes. Sanches started in the minors but he's been a bullpen guy ever since. Odds are this performance isn't going to earn him a spot in the rotation, nor should it but it will definitely earn him some well deserved job security.

Renyel Pinto: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 3 K - Coming in, he had a .273/.444/.364/.808 in high leverage situations and hadn't pitched more than one inning in an outing since July 22 of last year. After he barely got out of the first inning he threw with two men in scoring position, Fredi threw him back out for another. He gave up two 9th inning runs. Cantu did make his second error in the inning but errors are a part of the game. Average single inning relief pitchers, who usually throw to 4 batters tops in a game, should be able to get an extra out if it's needed. The fact is that Pinto has never been good pitching in ~3 run games and probably never will be. It seems like Fredi just sees a pretty ERA and says "let's use this guy" no matter what inning it is or no matter what situation it is. 

Leo Nunez: IP, H, ER, BB - Not only did he do that with Pinto, he did it with this guy as well. Coming in, he had a .280/.400/.440/.840 line against in eight extra inning performances. Brendan Donnelly had a .192/.280/.274/.554 against line in 17 extra inning performances. Instead of going with a proven clutch extra innings reliever, Fredi went to an unproven one who had struggled in his limited time in extra innings. Nunez gave up the win.  

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