Hero of the Game: Justin Ruggiano (+.123 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Ricky Nolasco (-.469 WPA)
Play of the Game: Mike Aviles homered off Ricky Nolasco in the second inning with two runners on base. (-.259 WPA)
The Marlins lost their second straight game at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox offense proved to be too much for Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins pitching staff. The Marlins were embarrassed by a Red Sox lineup that hit for the home run cycle, meaning they hit a solo homer, two-run homer, and so on. It was a rough game for Nolasco and the Marlins, who were the victim of a group of hitters who were clicking on all cylinders.
After appearing to be in control of the game, retiring the first five batters he faced, Ricky Nolasco had his worst start of the season. He finished allowing nine hits, nine runs, all earned, in 3.1 innings of work. Nolasco has been his usual self this season, meaning he's been inconsistent, but his 2012 starts have been considerably more painful to watch. My main concern with Nolasco is his strikeouts. In 2009, Nolasco's second full season as a major-league starter, he posted a 9.49 K/9. This year, Nolasco has a 5.49 K/9. Nolasco only struck out one batter tonight, and the Red Sox proved why he is not a pitcher that should focus on pitching to contact. In order to remain effective at the major-league level, Nolasco is going to need to strike out more hitters.
The Marlins offense actually wasn't that bad tonight. Facing Felix Doubront and two Boston relievers, the Marlins managed to tally twelve hits, six of them being extra-base hits. Logan Morrison and John Buck both homered, but unfortunately, both of them were solo homers. Justin Ruggiano was the most productive Marlins hitter on Wednesday. He went 2 for 4 with his sixth double, in just sixteen games. Donovan Solano added another double off the Green Monster, but Hanley Ramirez, Scott Cousins, and Logan Morrison all couldn't score him from second.
This was not a fun game to watch. Seeing the Marlins pitchers get crushed pitch after pitch for nine innings is not very enjoyable. However, the Marlins did have some bright spots, and they gave the Boston pitching staff a hard time. Games like this happen in baseball, and the best teams are the ones that are able to put the game behind them, and look forward to the next. Hopefully, Ozzie Guillen will have his troops ready for another game at Fenway, tomorrow at 7:10 PM ET.