Hero of the Game: Edward Mujica (.389 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Logan Morrison (-.079 WPA)
Play of the Game: Gregor Blanco doubled to right in the eighth (.189 WPA).
The Miami Marlins are back on the road. This time they fly west to play the Giants. The Marlins leading up to this game had lost eight out of nine. And after they lost three of four to the Diamondbacks, manager Guillen promised changes to the line up. At the start of this game, there were no noticeable changes. Just that Brett Hayes got the start at catcher. Nevertheless, the Marlins gave Ricky Nolasco enough run support (hey two runs is a lot for this ball club!), and Heath Bell shut the door in the ninth for his third save as the Marlins win.
Matt Cain takes a tough loss even though he only gave up two runs over eight innings. He was dealing all night as he threw 21 first pitch strikes to the 30 batters he faced. And he had a great ground ball-fly ball ratio of nine to eleven (nine ground ball outs). He did all of this after only throwing 102 pitches. However, Ricky Nolasco was just as good for the Fish. Regardless that he needed to be bailed out in the eight by Edward Mujica (who induced an inning-ending double play), Ricky was sensational. He threw 7 1/3 innings, also threw only 102 pitches, and only gave up a solo home run to Pablo Sandoval (sixth inning). In fact, Ricky had an impressive ground ball-fly ball balance of ten to ten. Let's not get this mistaken, early on, Nolasco has been the Marlins best pitcher. He now sports a perfect 3-0 record, to go along with a 2.76 ERA. Who would have guessed it?
Giancarlo Does It Again
The winning run came off the bat of Stanton in the fifth inning. He hit a home run for the second consecutive game. It was a laser shot just over the left field wall. At first, it looked foul. However, even though his overall hitting is not there yet (.247 BA), its good to see the power might be coming around. The Marlins are a team unfortunately that on the surface, appear to be lacking power. And even though Stanton and Hanley Ramirez can hit the long ball, you know you have a problem in your power department when Omar Infante and Donnie Murphy are your early season power hitters.
Heath Celebrates As Marlins Win
Imagine the margin of error Heath Bell had as he came on to pitch the ninth. His team was up by only one run, and manager Ozzie has been speaking for days about a "short leash" for some players. On top of that, the Marlins get to see ESPN and the other sports networks put up captions on how the team's three major free agent acquisitions just aren't getting it done early on (Bell, Reyes, and Buehrle). Well Bell responds with a well pitched ninth. 12 pitches gets you three outs in this order: Brandon Belt flies out, Nate Schierholtz does the same, and Ryan Theriot grounds out to second. Way to go Bell! And way to go Marlins. Hopefully Zambrano follows Nolasco tonight with a similar pitching performance.