EDITOR'S NOTE: Please welcome Sam Evans, the newest member of the Fish Stripes writing crew! Sam will also be a part of the prospect coverage on the team, and he should debut this week. Thanks everyone! -MJ
Hero of the Game (Largest WPA): Anibal Sanchez ( .193)
Goat of the Game (Lowest WPA): Chris Coghlan (-.063)
Play of the Game: Omar Infante homered to left field in the fifth inning, increasing the Marlins lead to 3-0. ( .084 WPA)
The Marlins won their second game of the year by beating the Phillies 6-2 in the Monday matinee game. The Marlins were lead by a stellar pitching performance by Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante's two home runs.
If we've learned anything from these first couple games, it is that Manager Ozzie Guillen loves to let his hitters show their speed on the basepaths. Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with back-to-back singles. Then, with Hanley Ramirez batting, they perfectly executed a double steal. The next pitch, Hanley grounded into what would've been a double play had Guillen not let Reyes and Bonifacio steal the pitch before. Instead, Ramirez drove in the first run of the game for the Marlins.
Emilio Bonifacio has gotten off to a blazing start this season. He had three hits today, raising his batting average to .421 on the year. Also, he stole his fourth base in just as many games. If Bonifacio can continue wreak havoc on the basepaths this year, opposing teams are in for a lot of trouble. In the fourth inning, Hanley Ramirez led off with a double off of Cole Hamels. What impressed me about this at-bat was the way that Ramirez battled his way to a 3-2 count, then on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he connected with a Hamels changeup.
With Ramirez on second, Gaby Sanchez laced a 1-2 fastball down the right-field line to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead. Sanchez finished 2 for 4 with 2 RBI today. To lead off the sixth, Omar Infante hit a Hamels fastball a mile high into the left-field bleachers. Later that inning, Jose Reyes doubled, but was thrown out trying to steal third. For almost every time we applaud Guillen and the Marlins for stealing bases, they seem to make one crucial mistake on the basepaths. Stealing third here probably wasn't the best idea, and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz had no problem throwing out Reyes.
To start the sixth innning, Emilio Bonifacio laid a perfect bunt down the first-base line. Phillies first basemen John Mayberry charged the ball, and when Hamels fielded the ball, he threw to first unaware that Mayberry wasn't covering the bag. Despite a valiant effort by second basemen Freddy Galvis to save Hamel's throw, the ball bounded into the outfield and Bonifacio took off. Bonifacio raced all the way to third, and the scorer credited Bonifacio with a single, and Hamels with a throwing error. With a runner on third and nobody out, almost any baseball player can drive in the runner. This time it was Gaby Sanchez who ripped an RBI double down the left-field line.
In the seventh, after another Omar Infante solo home run, Anibal Sanchez finally ran into some trouble. Up until the seventh, Sanchez had been dominating the Phillies batters. His control of his fastball and slider in particular, was outstanding for the majority of the game. Nontheless, with runners on second and third, Freddy Galvis doubled to deep left-center field, shortening the Marlins lead to 5-2. After Sanchez's mistake, Guillen brought in the lefty specialist Randy Choate.
Choate quickly retired the next two batters and preseved the Marlins lead. In just 1.2 innings this season, Choate has yet to give up a hit. Edward Mujica pitched a shutout eighth inning, resulting in his second hold of the season. In the top half of the ninth, Austin Kearns added an insurance run for the Marlins with his homer off of Jonathan Papelbon. Steve Cishek did a fine job of closing out the ballgame, striking out two batters in his one inning of work.
This was a good win for the Marlins. They not only spoiled the Phillies home opener, but they also saw encouraging things from Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins are now 2-3, and their next game is Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. It's probably not going to be a high-scoring game because of the aces pitching for both teams. Josh Johnson will take the mound for the Marlins, and Roy Halladay will pitch for the Phillies.