Posted May 13, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Chicago White Sox
New York Mets
The Miami Marlins finally are playing the type of baseball they envisioned after entering this season with high expectations.
If their recent dominance of the Pittsburgh Pirates is a factor, they shouldn't have much trouble staying hot.
With eight straight wins over Pittsburgh, Miami seeks an 11th victory in its last 13 games overall when it hosts the opener of a two-game set Monday night.
The Marlins (18-16) started slowly, fighting through outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen's five-game suspension and the struggles of high-priced closer Heath Bell.
They lost eight of nine April 20-30, but have since won 10 of 12 after Sunday's 8-4 come-from-behind victory over the New York Mets.
Bell came in with the score tied at 2 in the top of the ninth inning and gave up two runs to up his ERA to a whopping 10.03, but he ended up getting the win. Miami scored six times in the bottom of the ninth, concluding with Giancarlo Stanton's walkoff grand slam.
Stanton went 7 for 13 in the series and is batting .351 while hitting safely in 14 of his last 15 games.
Miami's offense has helped a starting rotation that possesses a 3.16 ERA that ranks among the best in the majors.
"We're where we're at because of our pitching,'' said catcher John Buck, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh Sunday. "It's kind of nice to have the bats speak up a bit.''
Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.01 ERA) will take the mound after he allowed two unearned runs over seven innings in Miami's 3-2 loss to Houston on Tuesday that ended the team's seven-game winning streak.
The right-hander, who has gone seven innings in each of his last four starts, is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh. His most recent look at them was one of his best outings in the majors, a one-hitter in which he struck out 11 while winning 3-0 on Sept. 10.
The Marlins' offense has provided plenty of support during the team's winning streak over the Pirates, outscoring them 48-12.
Pittsburgh (16-18) is hitting .175 against Miami in that span, and its offense hasn't been much better against the rest of the league.
The Pirates' 97 runs rank last in baseball, and the lack of offense has done little to help a pitching staff with a stellar 3.15 ERA.
A.J. Burnett allowed two runs in eight innings before Josh Harrison delivered an RBI single in the 12th to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 win over Houston on Sunday.
Left-hander Erik Bedard was scheduled to face the Marlins on Monday, but he's yet to fully recover from back spasms that forced him to leave after the first inning of Wednesday's 4-2 win over Washington.
Brad Lincoln (2-0, 0.63) earned the victory in that contest after allowing one unearned run and one hit in three innings, and he'll make his first start of the season in Bedard's place.
The right-hander, who is 3-7 with a 5.54 ERA in 17 career starts, has pitched only a scoreless inning of relief against the Marlins.
Florida shortstop Jose Reyes is hitting .340 over his last 13 contests, and he's been even better versus Pittsburgh. Reyes is batting .411 with 15 multihit games in his last 22 against the Pirates.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Control is usually Ricky Nolasco's strong suit, so he was surprised to walk three batters in the first inning. Then he hit two in a row in the fifth, including the pitcher with the bases loaded.
Poor command resulted in Nolasco's shortest outing and first loss of the season Saturday, when the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 9-3.
''I apologize to my teammates...
MIAMI -- Marlins Park has been notorious for keeping hard-hit balls inside the fence. But Giancarlo Stanton left no doubts about where his smash would end up. Stanton hit a walk-off grand slam to left-center field to give the Miami Marlins an 8-4 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday. "That was one of those no-doubters right off the bat," Stanton said of...
Ricky Nolasco struggled as the Miami Marlins fell to the New York Mets 9-3 on Saturday. A day after an exciting last at-bat victory, the Marlins were unable to solve R.A. Dickey while the pitching staff was unable to stop David Wright and the Mets. With the loss, Miami fell two behind New York and is now 17-16 on the season.
Nolasco allowed six runs in only four and two...
From the CPL
Two-year Coastal Plain League alum Kevin Mattison (photo courtesy of MLBpressbox.com) made his major league debut with the Miami Marlins on Saturday, May 12.
Mattison, a 6-1, 195-pound outfielder from UNC Asheville, entered as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth during the Marlins 9-3 loss to the New York Mets. He grounded out to first base.
MIAMI (AP) -- Trailing by a run in the eighth inning, the Miami Marlins figured they were poised for another comeback victory, especially when they put runners at the corners with one out.
"The way we're going right now, I would put all my money on we're going to get a hit right there," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Instead, the Pittsburgh Pirates snuffed the rally...
The Marlins are on fire right now. The Pirates are winning games, but it's not always apparent how they're doing it. The Marlins are starting Anibal Sanchez tonight, who's averaging more than a strikeout per inning and has been generally as dominant as the Marlins hoped he'd be when they acquired him in the Josh Beckett trade oh so many years ago. The Pirates are...
Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-out grand slam to cap a ninth-inning rally by the Miami Marlins, who beat an angry Frank Francisco and the New York Mets 8-4 Sunday.
The walk-off victory was the second in the three-game series for the Marlins, who have won 10 of their past 12 games.
The Marlins trailed 4-2 when Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth with his second triple of the game against...
In the first of a two game series, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Monday’s game over the Miami Marlins by a final score of 3-2. The loss prevented the Marlins from reaching three games over .500, something they have yet to do this season. This result also means Miami will be unable to win a fourth consecutive series as the best they can hope for now is a series split.
Well that was a doozy of a blown save, wasn't it? Even Armando Benitez slow clapped that one for that one.The parallels have all been pointed out: Francisco, Benitez. Benitez, Francisco. The build, the stare, the strut, the fastball, the blown saves ... all eerily the same between Francisco and Benitez. And you might think that the Mother's Day Meltdown would cement their...
The New York Mets (19-14) look to win their series against the Miami Marlins (17-16) today at 1:10 PM at Marlins Park in Miami.
#Mets Sunday lineup at Miami: Torres-CF, Nieuwenhuis-LF, Wright-3B, Duda-RF, Murphy-2B, Davis-1B, Cedeno-SS, Johnson-C, Niese-LHP
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 13, 2012
Sunday #Marlins lineup vs. #Mets: Reyes 6, Infante 4, Ramirez 5, Kearns...
When Heath Bell looked like garbage on Sunday, Frank Francisco returned serve with three of his own runs. It was like watching a tennis match between Jon Lovitz and that guy from Felicity. Rather than getting the hook by his manager, Frank-Frank was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The ump should’ve told him, “With your stuff, I wouldn’t have the balls to throw...