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Fish Bites: Pitching and Winning

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 19, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 19, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins just came off a series win against the Cleveland Indians, meaning the Fish have completed yet another series without losing a set to the opposing team. The Marlins have not lost a series since the Arizona Diamondbacks series, and now the team gets to head back home for nine games in a row starting tonight against their expansion brethren Colorado Rockies. Let's look at some Fish Bites from the weekend that was in Marlins news.

- The Marlins' pitching staff has obviously excelled thus far this season, and a good deal of it comes from the success of Anibal Sanchez. Jonathan Mitchell of Marlins Daily discusses what Sanchez has done to keep him at the top of his game.

- The Marlins have also benefited by a career resurgence by Carlos Zambrano. Of course, Zambrano has changed his pitching approach, which has certainly helped him thus far. But apparently he has also changed his demeanor, having returned to his faith that he says he abandoned before. I am always happy when anyone finds something positive that they can channel into their everyday life, and while I myself am not religious, I am certainly happy to see that Zambrano rediscovered his faith and has used it to help himself on the field.

- While the Fish have pitched excellently, the team's lineup has not been of the best quality thus far this season. As of right now, it has not been enough to sink the team, and they certainly have improved in May, but there is more work to be done. Ozzie Guillen discussed the specific move of optioning Gaby Sanchez to Triple-A.

"We have been talking about this for a little while," Guillen said. "I think Gaby got to the point where he needs to relax a little bit. He tried to help us so much, it put him in a very tough situation. I think he was trying too hard. He was rushing. He was trying to come out of the slump in one at-bat. I think it was better for him and for us. Hopefully he gets his stuff together and gets back here. I talked to him [Saturday] night and said, ‘We need you here. This ball club is built with you in the lineup every day.’ I’ll be waiting for him."

The article states that there is no official timetable for Sanchez's return, but Guillen did not rule out having him come back in ten days. It is clear from what he said here that this is a temporary move designed to get Sanchez more comfortable and keep him in a low-leverage environment to work on his swing. Here's hoping Sanchez does well when he comes back.

- Ozzie Guillen also said that, prior to the injuries and demotions that plagued the team over the weekend, that he was done with his lineup tinkering. It sounded like he was happy with the lineup he set up, particularly with Emilio Bonifacio at the seventh spot and Omar Infante at the second spot. Of course, if it were up to me, I'd rearrange Guillen's lineups based on The Book.

- You know that whenever Strip Club With Stanton gets serious, it is good blogging, and he was not very happy with Dan Le Batard and Stugotz of 790 The Ticket for their prodding of Heath Bell during a radio interview. Bell is going through some hard times off the field with his father struggling through lung cancer, and he was understandably defensive and standoffish when Le Batard needled him on his poor performance to start the season. SCWS was not a fan.

- You know those nightmarish sea creatures the Marlins race during the sixth inning of home games at Marlins Park? They are apparently a big success. This actually does not surprise me in the least bit, since those sorts of activities have always been a fun sideshow ever since Milwaukee Brewers started us off with the Sausage Race. I mean, if the President's Race in Washington can be a huge hit, why shouldn't the Marlins race cartoonish, almost evil-looking sea creatures during breaks in the action? By the way, if you're running the Great Sea Race pool at your office, Bob the Shark has been way ahead of the pack, winning seven of 16 races.

- Apparently, Weston's Cypress Bay High School will be the first school to host a graduation event at Marlins Park, and Vice President Joe Biden will give the commencement speech! As an alum of the first graduating class of Cypress Bay High School (go Lightning!), I am always happy to hear good news about the school. I am, however, a little jealous to hear that they get to go to Marlins Park, which is a beautiful setting, and they get to hear the Vice President speak. At our graduation, we went to the Office Depot Center (not bad, but not as spacious and cool) and I do not even remember if we got a commencement address from a big-name figure. I kind of feel robbed!

Around the League

- If you had not heard, longtime Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood retired over the weekend. How fitting that, in a career known best for strikeouts (along with injuries), Wood ended his career with a strikeout out of the bullpen. Jeff Sullivan of SB Nation reviews his career for what it was and what it might have been. Grant Brisbee remembers Wood's amazing 20-strikeout game.

- In what turned out to be a huge blow to the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, Lance Berkman may have suffered a torn ACL (H/T MLB Trade Rumors). It is possible that the injury could have him considering retirement. Best of luck to Berkman in recovery, and here is hoping the Cardinals can find a suitable replacement.

- Under the new collective bargaining agreement, free agent draft compensation is handled a little differently. Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors has a primer on it. Personally, I really like this system much better. It avoids the pitfall of unworthy players like relievers getting Type A status and being held up in free agency, as those players would never receive the franchise tag-like qualifying offers from their original teams. It also eliminates the end-of-season trade acquisition of players for the purposes of picks. Well done, MLB.

At Fish Stripes

- Last Wednesday, I discussed why you should not worry about the Marlins with regards to runners in scoring position performance. Sure enough, the Fish have begun to deliver in that department over the last week.

- Last Thursday, I mentioned why I thought Ozzie Guillen's lineup card work was a sign that he was costing the team runs by using inferior managerial moves.

- Also on Thursday, Sam Evans looked at three prospects from the Dominican Republic that he thought were interesting for the international amateur free agent season. Now that the Marlins presumably have money, they really need to look into investing in international youngsters as part of their developmental program.

- If you could not get enough of the prospect talk, Eric Weston had your usual Marlins farm report on Friday. A couple of our affiliates are doing well, but the biggest news is definitely the continued dominance of Christian Yelich.

- Also on Friday, I discussed the Marlins' decision to not move the outfield fences in. I like it, as the ballpark is supposedly playing as David Samson and company wanted it to play.

- Over the weekend, the Marlins made two important roster moves. Gaby Sanchez, as mentioned before, was optioned to Triple-A, while Emilio Bonifacio was sent to the 15-day disabled list.