Hero of the Game: Jose Reyes (.200 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Carlos Zambrano (-.412 WPA)
The Marlins lost their third straight game on Friday, dropping the first game of their series against San Diego. Carlos Zambrano continued to struggle, and the bottom half of the lineup excluding the pitcher's spot did not reach the base the entire game.
The Marlins and Padres game started out like many games in Marlins Park. Through three and a half innings, neither team had put any runs on the board. In the bottom of the fourth, Donovan Solano, who finished 1 for 4 lowering his batting average to a measly .322, got things going with a single off of Padres' pitcher Kip Wells. Then, Jose Reyes jumped on a first-pitch changeup on the inside half of the plate and tripled down the right field line. Solano scored from first, and all of a sudden, the Marlins had a 1-0 lead with a runner on the third.
The next hitter, Carlos Lee, got an 0-2 changeup and singled up the middle scoring Reyes from third despite a valiant effort by Logan Forsythe. Have I mentioned how nice it is to have a veteran run producer in the Marlins' lineup? His numbers since coming over to the Marlins have been awful, but he's still driving in runs, which is what Miami brought him here to do. Even if he does get traded in the next couple days, I'll always remember El Ceballo's stint with Miami. He finished today 2 for 4.
In the top of the sixth, the Padres blew the game open. After a Logan Forsythe double, an error, and a walk, Carlos Zambrano walked Carlos Quentin with the bases loaded. For some reason, Ozzie Guillen kept Zambrano in the game. Yasmani Grandal got a first pitch fastball from Zambrano and lined it into center field. On the play, Justin Ruggiano proved why he is not a center fielder. After initially coming in towards the ball, Ruggiano froze up and slowly moved back, and attempted to make a jumping catch, instead of sprinting backwards. Justin Ruggiano is not a center fielder, and this play proved it. The ball went all the way 420 feet out to the wall, and Grandal dove into third with a triple.
For five innings, Carlos Zambrano looked like the pitcher he was for the first half of the season. He had thrown five scoreless and only given up one hit, a double to Everth Cabrera in the third. However, in the sixth inning, Zambrano looked more like the Zambrano that Chicago grew to hate, and the kind of pitcher we have seen in the second half of the season so far. He finished with 5 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4K. Normally, I would say that a pitcher with the exact same outing as Zambrano just had just had one rough inning, and it they shouldn't be expected to put up the same kind of start in the future. However, what we have grown to learn about Zambrano is that he has lots of starts like this where he has one bad inning, and that this is fairly typical of him. I don't think I've ever witnessed a pitcher so talented, but so frustrating at the same time.
Finally in the middle of a long sixth inning, Guillen brought in a new pitcher, Chad Gaudin, who gave up one run on a Yonder Alonso single, but them managed to keep San Diego from crossing home plate. The Padres struck again in the seventh, when Grandal and Alonso continued to get hits. This time, they were off of Dan Jennings, who only recorded one out and gave up three hits and a walk. Alonso finished 2 for 5, and Grandal finished 2 for 4 with a walk. They are both highly-touted former prospects, and this game definitely offered Padres' fans a glimpse of their future with these two sluggers.
Kip Wells finished with 6 IP, 5H, 2 ER, 2BB, and 4 K's. As they say over at Gaslamp Ball, Padres' fans are learning to "Kip the Faith". By the way, coming into the game did any of you Marlins' fans know that Kip Wells was still playing? I remember him well back from his Pirates days, but with him and Ben Sheets starting for their respective teams tonight it felt like a weird flashback.
If we can find any silver lining from an otherwise disappointing game, it's that Jose Reyes was awesome, and Heath Bell pitched a scoreless frame. Other than his triple in the fourth, Reyes drew two walks. With Hanley and Omar Infante gone, Reyes is going to have more pressure on him to produce, and so far he has handled the extra attention quite well. Heath Bell pitched the top half of the ninth, and got three flyball outs.