Hero of the Game: Anibal Sanchez (+.251 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Greg Dobbs (-.098 WPA)
Play of the Game: Anibal Sanchez got Nate Schierholtz to fly out to left field with runners on second and third in the seventh. (+.183 WPA)
This Thursday afternoon, the Marlins defeated the Giants, and improved to 11-14 on the season. Anibal Sanchez twirled seven strong innings allowing only one run, and Jose Reyes tallied two hits. Edward Mujica recorded the save ensuring the Marlins their second straight San Francisco sweep.
On the mound for the Giants was the veteran right-handed pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong allowed eight hits and four walks in seven innings, but only two runs (one earned). After a Brandon Crawford error to allow Jose Reyes to reach second base, Emilio Bonifacio executed a perfect sacrifice bunt advancing Reyes to third. Hanley Ramirez got a 2-2 curveball and grounded out to third, driving in Reyes. In the same inning, the Marlins loaded the bases but Greg Dobbs struck out.
Here is the pitch sequence from that Dobbs at-bat: First pitch: 90 MPH four seam fastball (Called strike). Second pitch: 88 MPH "slider"(Ball). Third pitch: 90 MPH four seam fastball (Called strike). Fourth pitch: 90 MPH four seam fastball (Swinging strike). If Greg Dobbs is going to have at-bat's like that, especially with the bases loaded, he doesn't deserve a spot on this team. I'm not trying to pick on poor Greg Dobbs, actually, he hasn't been that bad this season. However, the Marlins have struggled to score runs, and stupid at-bat's like this are the reason why.
In the bottom of the first, Angel Pagan dropped a bunt down the third base line. Hanley Ramirez came charging in, barehanded the play, and fired a laser to first base despite being completely off balance. So far this season, Ramirez has looked pretty great at third. Right after making the play, Ramirez burst into a huge smile. I'm not going to act like I know everything about Hanley's emotions, but in my opinion, he has looked much more relaxed and happy.
In the top of the second, the Marlins kept on hitting. Brett Hayes, Jose Reyes, and Emilio Bonifacio all singled to load the bases. Once again, Hanley came through in the clutch with an RBI fielder’s choice. The Giants almost turned the double play which would have ended the inning, but Ramirez beat out Joaquin Arias' throw by a step.
Neither team scored after that until Melky Cabrera grounded into an RBI double play in the bottom half of the sixth. Sanchez has looked phenomenal this season and today in particular. Even in the windy, rainy AT&T Park filled with obnoxious Giants' fans, Sanchez was very impressive. For this start, Sanchez wasn't even lucky, as evidenced by his 1.97 FIP, he was just good.
In the bottom of the sixth, Conor Gillaspie singled to dead center field. On the play, Gregor Blanco tried to advance from first to third. 1/4 of the way to third base, Blanco slipped and did a full face plant. Somehow, he got back up and jogged into third base. This just reminded me how crazy athletic these players are. Imagine how fast you'd have to run to reach second base, fall, and still have enough time to reach third base. Every once in awhile, it's nice to be reminded how many tremendous athletes are in this game.
The Marlins added another run in the eighth but it wasn't an impressive inning. In this series against San Francisco, who does have an outstanding rotation, the Marlins' offense has not impressed me. The Marlins haven't scored more than three runs in any of their last three games. If the Marlins want to stay in contention this year, they've got to drive in runners in scoring position. Today, the Marlins left twenty-four runners on base. That's unacceptable and Miami needs to find a way to have their hitters bring base runners home once they get on base.
San Francisco added another run in the eighth when Melky Cabrera grounded out to third. All of a sudden, the Marlins' lead was in jeopardy. In the bottom of the ninth, Ozzie Guillen chose to bring in Edward Mujica. Mujica didn't have to face any of the Giants' best hitters, so despite the one-run lead, it wasn't that difficult of a save opportunity. Mujica only allowed one hit, and looked in control the whole time.
This was a great trip to San Francisco for the Marlins. Anytime you sweep a very good team on the road, you should be very pleased. However, the Marlins offense did not make the improvements we were hoping to see. Miami will take a trip to Southern California, to face the Padres tomorrow. On the mound for the Marlins will be Josh Johnson and Anthony Bass will take the hill for San Diego. The Marlins hopefully will be able to take advantage of Bass's underwhelming velocity and score some runs for Josh Johnson. The game starts at 10 PM ET.