Editor's note: Due to a late submission, this post due yesterday will be published today. Enjoy!
On this date in Marlins history, August 27, 2004, Ismael Valdez earns his 99th career win against the Colorado Rockies. The Florida Marlins at 63-62 started a three-game series against the lowly Rockies. The Marlins went on to win five of six games in the season series in 2004. At the time the Marlins were Wild Card contenders and had just lost three of four to the San Francisco Giants who also were in the running. The Marlins featured Ismael Valdez against Colorado Rockies Pitcher Joe Kennedy.
The 2004 season followed the magical World Series Champion season of 2003 so as expected the expectations were very high to make a deep run once again. Colorado and Florida were scoreless through the first inning as both starters were in a groove early. Finally, the Marlins got on the board in the bottom of the second inning behind a double by Jeff Conine, a sacrifice bunt by Juan Encarnacion to finish with a run scoring single by Luis Castillo. The Marlins snapped a string of 14 scoreless innings in the second. Their last previous run came in the sixth inning of Wednesday's loss against the Giants. Throughout the rest of the game both pitchers were in a pitcher's duel as both starters combined to give up one run over 13 2/3 innings. Kennedy's line included seven innings pitched while scattering seven hits, five strikeouts and two walks over 96 pitches. The problem for the Rockies is that they couldn't muster any offense on the night by only registering four hits and two walks. The one highlight for the Rockies was fan favorite Todd Helton obtaining his 35th double on the season.
The real story was the pitching performance of Valdez, whose career 4.41 FIP shows us that he might have been lucky that start. Valdez pitched in the big leagues for 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Angels, Rangers and Marlins. Over those 12 seasons, Valdez did finally reach the 100-win plateau, achieving a record of 104-105. Valdez pitched 6 and 2/3 innings in this game against the Rockies before leaving due to injury. At the time, Valdez was on pace to complete the game, as he was at only 73 pitches (51 strikes) through 6 and 2/3 innings. Matt Perisho, Guillermo Mota and Armando Benitez combined to pitch 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs. Perisho and Mota each earned a hold while Benitez converted his 47th save. After sweeping the Rockies that weekend the Marlins finished the year at 83-79, 13 games behind the NL East Champions Braves.