NL East Recap 9-17

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 18-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Alfonso Soriano, Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Bobby Cox, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Ruiz, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, Geovany Soto, Jason Heyward, Jason Marquis, Jayson Werth, Jonathon Niese, Melky Cabrera, New York Mets, Omar Infante, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Zimmerman, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals

Phillies vs. Nationals

The first place Phillies exploded for six first inning runs, and Roy Oswalt tossed six solid innings as the Phils defeated the Nationals 9-1 in Philly.

After a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single put Washington ahead in the top of the first, the Phillies went to work against Nationals starter Jason Marquis.  Marquis (2-9) retired the first batter of the inning, but then allowed the next eight batters to reach base before being knocked out of the game.  Jayson Werth tied the game with an RBI infield single, and Raul Ibanez followed with a two run single.  Oswalt contributed to the offensive outburst with an RBI single of his own as the Phils jumped out to a 6-1 lead. 

Oswalt (13-13) allowed just one run and six hits over his six innings, striking out seven along the way.   Werth and Carlos Ruiz homered off of the Nationals bullpen to cap the scoring for the Phils.  Zimmerman finished with a 4 for 4 night at the plate in a losing cause for the Nats.

Braves vs. Mets

The Braves overcame an early three run deficit and the ejection of their manager, defeating the Mets by a score of 6-4 at Citi Field to keep pace with the Phillies in the NL East.

In the bottom of the second inning, Bobby Cox was ejected for the 158th time (a major league record) for arguing balls and strikes.  The Mets went on to score three runs in the inning against Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson, thanks to RBI singles from Lucas Duda, pitcher Jonathon Niese, and Jose Reyes.  The Braves bounced back in the fourth inning, captilizing on a David Wright throwing error to score six unearned runs off of Niese (9-9).   Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single to start the scoring, and Omar Infante delivered a two run double to tie the game.  Jason Heyward then delivered the big blow, launching a three run homer to right field to give the Braves a 6-3 lead.

Duda hit his first major league home run off of Hanson in the bottom of the fourth inning, but that would be the last run of the night for either team.  Hanson (10-11) went six innings to earn the victory, and Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 34th save.

Marlins vs. Cubs

The Marlins and Cubs each received solid pitching on Friday night in Florida.  Chicago was the only team to score in the pitchers’ duel, defeating the Marlins by a score of 2-0.

Ryan Dempster (14-10) pitched seven shutout innings against his former team, allowing just four hits while striking out five.  Florida starter Alex Sanabia (4-3) pitched well, but couldn’t keep the Cubs off of the scoreboard.  Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI double in the second inning, and Geovany Soto doubled home a run in the sixth inning to deliver the only two runs of the evening.  

The Marlins had a chance in the ninth as Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked the first two batters of the inning.  However, Marmol rebounded to retire the next three batters and earn save number 32.

What’s on Tap 9-17-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 17-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Braves, Cubs, Jason Marquis, Jon Niese, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Tommy Hanson

Friday’s games:

Nationals vs. Phillies

The Nationals and Phillies begin their series tonight in Philadelphia. Jason Marquis (2-8, 6.60 ERA) takes the hill for Washington. Roy Oswalt (6-1, 1.98 ERA) starts for the Phillies. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Braves vs. Mets

The Braves and Mets begin a three-game series tonight in New York. Tommy Hanson (9-11, 3.54 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta. Jon Niese (9-8, 3.85 ERA) starts for New York. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

Marlins vs. Cubs

The Marlins send Alex Sanabia (4-2, 3.95 ERA) to the mound as they begin their esries with the Cubs tonight in Florida. Ryan Dempster (13-10, 3.62 ERA) starts for Chicago. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

NL East Recap 9-5

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 06-09-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Alex Sanabia, Aramis Ramirez, Atlanta Braves, Burke Badenhop, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Morton, Chicago Cubs, Emilio Bonifacio, Eric O'Flaherty, Florida Marlins, Hanley Ramirez, Ike davis, Jason Marquis, John Axford, Jonathon Niese, Kyle Kendrick, Logan Morrison, Mike Minor, Milwaukee Brewers, Nate McLouth, New York Mets, pedro alvarez, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Ruben Tejada, Ryan Braun, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Cousins, Washington Nationals

Marlins vs. Braves

The Marlins blew a 6-0 lead to the first place Braves, but scored a run in the bottom of the 10th to earn a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon in Florida. 

The Marlins jumped on Atlanta starter Mike Minor for six runs in the first three innings.  Hanley Ramirez ignited Florida’s offense with a run-scoring single in the first inning, and then hit a two-run homer in the third to put the Marlins up 6-0.  Marlins starter Alex Sanabia held the Braves scoreless until Nate McLouth singled home a run in the fifth, and Atlanta rallied for five more runs in the sixth to even the score.  Florida outfielder Cameron Maybin kept the Braves from taking the lead when he robbed McLouth of what would have been a go-ahead grand slam.  Instead, McLouth’s long drive turned into an unusual two-run sacrifice fly which tied the game at 6.

The score remained tied at 6 until the bottom of the 10th.   After lining a foul ball off of on-deck batter Logan Morrison, Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio tripled off of Atlanta reliever Eric O’Flaherty (3-2) to open the inning.  With Morrison unable to take his turn at bat, pinch hitter Scott Cousins delivered his first major league hit to score Bonifacio with the winning run.  Burke Badenhop (2-5) earned the victory in relief for the Marlins.


Phillies vs. Brewers

The Phillies remained a game back of the Braves as they fell by a score of 6-2 to former Phillie Randy Wolf and the Brewers in Philadelphia.

Prince Fielder blasted a three-run homer off of Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (9-8) in the first inning to give Milwaukee an early lead.  The Phillies pulled to within a run in the second inning when Carlos Ruiz doubled home two runs off of Wolf, but the Brewers answered back with single runs in the third and fourth innings.   The Brew Crew pounded out 13 hits, including three each by Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun.

Wolf (11-10) allowed just two runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, and John Axford pitched two scoreless innings to earn save number 20.


Mets vs. Cubs

The sliding Mets avoided a sweep as their offense exploded for 18 runs and 21 hits in an 18-5 victory over the Cubs in Chicago.

The Cubs built a 4-2 lead off of New York starter Jonathon Niese, helped by a two run homer from Aramis Ramirez.  However, the Mets knocked out Chicago starter Ryan Dempster (12-10) in the fifth with a five run inning.  Ruben Tejada singled home two runs to break a 4-4 tie, and added his first major league home run in the seventh as the Mets took the lead for good.   The Mets broke open the game by scoring five runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.  Tejada drove in five runs on the afternoon, and Ike Davis added four hits, including a home run.  Niese (9-7) wasn’t on top of his game, allowing five runs over six plus innings, but earned the victory thanks to New York’s offensive outburst.


Nationals vs. Pirates

The Nationals used a five run inning and solid starting pitching on their way to a 8-1 victory against the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

After scoring a run in the first on an RBI ground out from Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals took control of the game in the fourth inning off of Charlie Morton (1-11) and the Pirates.  Adam Dunn homered, and Zimmerman singled home two more in the five run frame.  Meanwhile, Washington starter Jason Marquis (2-7) allowed just one run over six innings, courtesy of a Pedro Alvarez solo homer.  Zimmerman added another run scoring single in the sixth, finishing the game with four RBI to lead the Nationals to the victory.

What’s on Tap 9-5-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 05-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Braves, Brewers, Charlie Morton, Cubs, Jason Marquis, Jon Niese, Kyle Kendrick, Marlins, Mets, Mike Minor, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Randy Wolf, Ryan Dempster

Sunday’s games:

Braves vs. Marlins

The Braves and Marlins each try to take the rubber game in the series finale in Florida. Mike Minor (3-0, 3.91 ERA) starts for Atlanta. Alex Sanabia (3-2, 3.98 ERA) starts for Florida. First pitch is 12:10 p.m.

Nationals vs. Pirates

Jason Marquis (1-7, 8.13 ERA) takes the mound for Washington as they look to win the rubber game against the Pirates. Charlie Morton (1-10, 10.03 ERA) gets the start for Pittsburgh. Game time is 1:35 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

Phillies vs. Brewers

The Phillies go for the sweep of the Brewers today in Philadelphia. Kyle Kendrick (9-7, 4.72 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies. Randy Wolf (10-10, 4.76 ERA) starts for Milwaukee. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.

Mets vs. Cubs

The Mets send Jon Niese (8-7, 3.70 ERA) to the mound as they look to salvage the final game of their three-game series with the Cubs. Ryan Dempster (12-9, 3.71 ERA) starts for Chicago. Game time is 2:20 p.m. in Chicago.

NL East Recap 8-20

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 21-08-2010

Tagged Under : anibel sanchez, Atlanta Braves, Brad Lidge, Carlos Marmol, Chase Utley, Chicago Cubs, Chris Carter, Cody Ross, Dan Uggla, Derrek Lee, Florida Marlins, Hector Luna, J.A. Happ, Jason Marquis, Jeff Karstens, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Raul Ibanez, Rick Ankiel, Roy Halladay, Ryan Dempster, Washington Nationals

Braves vs. Cubs

Derrek Lee went hitless in his Braves debut against his former team, but Atlanta mounted another late-inning rally and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Chicago.


Braves Cubs BaseballCubs’ starter Ryan Dempster allowed just two runs and four hits over eight innings.  Chicago handed the ball to closer Carlos Marmol in the ninth to try to protect a 3-2 lead.  Marmol (2-3) walked the bases loaded, and then allowed a bases-clearing triple to Braves outfielder Rick Ankiel to give the Braves a 5-3 lead.  Billy Wagner allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, but retired the next three batters to earn save number 30.  Atlanta reliever Peter Moylan (5-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning to earn the victory.



Nationals vs. Phillies

The Phillies scored an early run, and ace Roy Halladay made sure it held up as the Phils defeated the Nationals 1-0 in Philadelphia.


Nationals Phillies BaseballThe game’s lone run came in the third inning when Raul Ibanez doubled home Chase Utley off of Nats’ starter Jason Marquis (0-6).   Halladay (16-8) allowed eight hits and three walks over seven innings, but didn’t allow a run to score.  The Nationals finished the game with 10 hits, but stranded 12 baserunners in the shutout.  Phils’ closer Brad Lidge came on in the ninth and earned his 17th save.



Mets vs Pirates

The Mets offense finally woke up in Pittsburgh, and Mike Pelfrey pitched eight solid innings in New York’s 7-2 victory over the Pirates.


Mets Pirates BaseballThe Mets scored three runs in the top of the first off of Pirates’ starter Jeff Karstens (2-10), and added two more runs in the third and fourth innings.   Jose Reyes and David Wright paced the offense with three hits apiece, and Chris Carter added a home run and two RBI for the Mets.  Pelfrey (12-7) allowed just two runs (one earned) and five hits in his eight innings, striking out five.



Marlins vs. Astros

Anibel Sanchez was dominant, and Florida’s offense exploded late in the Marlins’ 9-0 victory over the Houston Astros in Miami.


Astros Marlins BaseballHouston starter J.A. Happ (3-2) allowed a run in the first inning, and then held the Marlins scoreless until the sixth inning when Dan Uggla hit a two-run single.  Sanchez helped his own cause with a run-scoring single in the seventh, and the Marlins added three more runs in the inning to build a 7-0 lead.  Cody Ross and Hector Luna hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning for Florida to cap the scoring.   Sanchez (10-8) allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings, and the Florida bullpen pitched two perfect innings to close out the victory.

What’s on Tap 8-20-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 20-08-2010

Tagged Under : Anibal Sanchez, Astros, Braves, Cubs, J.A. Happ, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Marquis, Jeff Karstens, Marlins, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Roy Halladay, Ryan Dempster

Friday’s games:

Braves vs. Cubs

The Braves begin their series with the Cubs tonight in Chicago. Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 3.92 ERA) starts for Atlanta. Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.62 ERA) starts for Chicago. Game time is 2:20 p.m.

Mets vs. Pirates

The Mets send Mike Pelfrey (11-7, 3.95 ERA) to the mound as they begin their series with the Pirates. Jeff Karstens (2-9, 4.57 ERA) starts for the Pirates. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

Nationals vs. Phillies

The Nationals and Phillies face off in Philadelphia. Jason Marquis (0-5, 14.33 ERA) starts for Washington. Roy Halladay (15-8, 2.24 ERA) starts for Philadelphia. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Marlins vs. Astros

The Marlins begin a weekend series against the Astros in Florida. Anibal Sanchez (9-8, 3.31 ERA) takes the mound for Florida. J.A. Happ (2-1, 4.66 ERA) gets the start for Houston. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

What’s on Tap 7-15-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 15-07-2010

Tagged Under : Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Dave Bush, Giants, Jair Jurrjens, Jamie Moyer, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, R.A. Dickey, Ryan Dempster, Tim Lincecum

Braves vs. Brewers

Jair Jurrjens (1-3, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound as he and the Braves open up the second half of the season with a series against the Brewers. Dave Bush (4-6, 4.14 ERA) gets the start for Milwaukee. Game time is 7:10 p.m. in Atlanta.

Phillies vs. Cubs

Jamie Moyer (9-8, 4.51 ERA) and the Phillies begin their series with the Cubs tonight in Chicago. Ryan Dempster (7-7, 3.61 ERA) starts for the Cubs. First pitch is 8:05 p.m.

Mets vs. Giants

The Mets begin the second half of the season with an 11-game west coast road trip beginning in San Francisco tonight. R.A. Dickey (6-2, 2.77 ERA) starts for the Mets. Tim Lincecum (9-4, 3.16 ERA) takes the mound for the Giants. Game time is 10:15 p.m.

The Marlins and Nationals have the night off, but begin their series against each other tomorrow night in Florida.

The Florida Marlins “Model”

Filed Under (NL East Chatter) by dangeluzzi on 09-10-2009

Tagged Under : A.J. Burnett, Antonio Alfonseca, Armando Benitez, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Carl Pavano, Carlos Delgado, Chicago Cubs, Cliff Floyd, Derek Lee, Detroit Tigers, Don Levinski, Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins, Graeme Lloyd, Ivan Rodriguez, Jose Cueto, Josh Beckett, Juan Encarnacion, Juan Pierre, Julian Tavarez, Justin Wayne, Kansas City Royals, Luis Castillo, Matt Clement, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell, Mike Mordecai, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Preston Wilson, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Jorgensen, Ryan Snare, Todd Jones, Wilton Guerrero

pavanoSince 1997 only one National League East team has managed to win multiple World Series titles. That team is the Florida Marlins. Despite existing in a league that features the high spending New York Mets, the consistent Atlanta Braves, and the offensive juggernaut known as the Philadelphia Phillies, Florida has managed to remain competitive and successful.
The Florida Marlins are a remarkable story not because they win but because of how they win. The Florida Marlins operate with the knowledge of two incontrovertible facts. First, the team will not spend a tremendous amount of money in the free agent market or on payroll, period. Second, low attendance at home games does not present a financial problem due to league revenue sharing and a low payroll. Thus, it is possible to still make money as a business despite the fact that no one really wants to buy your product.
However, simply having a low payroll does not necessarily equal success. The key to the Marlins success is that the Marlins maintain the team’s low payroll by combining young players still playing out their rookie contracts and questionable veterans who are willing to play for short, minimum contracts. The inherent quality in both of these types of players is that they have the need to prove themselves. Young players know that the Marlins have no desire to pay top dollar for a valuable player, but the organization is more than willing to either flip that player for prospects or let the player leave during free agency and recoup draft picks. Thus, it is in the player’s personal interest to perform at his highest possible level to ensure continued, gainful employment as a professional baseball player. The same can be said about veteran players. Guys brought in on one or two year deals for about the league minimum know that if they want to continue playing and/or get paid more money, they have to take the opportunity given by the Marlins to show that they can produce.
For example, players such as Miguel Cabrera (traded to the Detroit Tigers, signed to 8yr/$153.5 million), Dontrelle Willis (traded to Detroit Tigers, signed for 3yr/$29 million), Josh Beckett (traded to Boston Red Sox, signed for 3yr/$30 million), Mike Lowell (traded to Boston Red Sox 3yr/$37.5 million), Cliff Floyd (traded to Expos for package of prospects including Carl Pavano), Luis Castillo (traded to Minnesota Twins, signed by New York Mets for 4yr/$25 million), Preston Wilson (traded to Colorado Rockies for Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton), and Derek Lee  derrek-lee1(traded to Chicago Cubs, signed 5 yr/$65 million) all represent the Marlins’ plan to allow young players to develop and then trade them when they are at or near peak value. These players have then received more valuable contracts than the Marlins would have ever been willing to offer. In addition, players such as Ivan Rodriguez, Armando Benitez, and Todd Jones are examples of veterans who used their time as Marlins to procure more lucrative long-term deals.
Admittedly, the ability to continue to find successful and talented young players is vital for this type of organizational approach. However, to simply say that the Marlins have a talented scouting department dismisses the fact that when the Marlins trade talented players, they usually receive numerous prospects in return; thereby increasing the chance that at least one of those prospects will turn out to be talented. Prior to the 2002 season, the Marlins traded Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Chicago Cubs for Julian Tavarez, Dontrelle Willis, Jose Cueto, and Ryan Jorgensen. Only Dontrelle Willis developed into an upper echelon player, albeit for a limited amount of time. Further, that same season, Cliff Floyd was traded back to the Expos for Carl Pavano, Justin Wayne, Mike Mordecai, Graeme Lloyd, Don Levinski, and Wilton Guerrero. Ryan Dempster was also traded for Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Snare. The point of this is to demonstrate that the Marlins turned 4 players into 12 players, but only two or three of those players turned out to be valuable. By trading valuable young talent at the right time, the Marlins were able to increase the quality and quantity of the talent they received in return, thus minimizing the irodriguez1impact of failed prospects.
This is one of the reasons that differentiate the Marlins from the Royals, Pirates, and Orioles. These organizations wring their hands when it comes to trading players away for fear of angering their fanbase. Thus, players are held onto longer and the team loses leverage when dealing with other teams. Another major reason these organizations have not found the success that the Marlins have is that they attempt to sign high priced free agents to give hope to their beleaguered fan bases. Without analyzing the moves of each organization, suffice to say that by paying someone drastically more than the rest of your team does not fuel the players desire to prove themselves, but rather creates questions like, “If they have the money to pay Player X, why am I not getting mine?” Not to mention that by allocating valuable resources of a small market team into such a limited asset the organization is prevented from investing throughout the team. Lastly, the Marlins traditionally do not trade for established talent by giving up prospects but vice versa. This way, the farm system of the Marlins is constantly infused with young players.
Now, this is not to say that the Marlins have not signed a high priced free agent, ex. Carlos Delgado, or that they will trade away every promising player. It is simply a unique organizational approach that may or may not change with the building of a new stadium and higher expectations. Thus, it should come as no surprise when the Marlins find success despite a meager payroll. Its not that the Marlins win, but how they win that makes them an organization that should be emulated by small market teams in both the National and American leagues.

NL East Daily Recap from 8-28-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 29-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Atlanta Braves, Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes, Busch Stadium, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Chris Coghlan, Chris Volstad, Cody Ross, Elijah Dukes, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Freddi Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Jamie Moyer, Jason Bergman, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Josh Johnson, Josh Willingham, Key West, Khalil Greene, New Orleans, New York Mets, Pat Misch, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Ted Lilly, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms, Wrigley Field

Moyer with a rare appearance

Moyer with a rare appearance

The big bat of Ryan Howard provided the firepower for Philadelphia in their soggy 4-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in Philadelphia on Friday, extending the Phillies lead in the N.L. East to eight games. The Braves were hoping to sneak up on the Phillies, sending ace rookie Tommy Hanson to the mound, but Hanson could not keep the Phillies bats off the board, giving up a home run to Howard in the second before being relieved (he was pulled from the game because of a rain delay) by a bevy of Braves relievers who kept the game close, but could not keep it close enough: Howard homered again in the fourth. The Phillies, meanwhile, started Pedro Martinez – but like Hanson he was also pulled from the game as a result of the deluge. This is becoming a habit with Martinez, whose last start was also shortened by showers. In both cases, Martinez was relieved by Jamie Moyer, relegated to a bullpen role as a result of Martinez’s signing and promotion.

The soggy field did not dampen the spirits of Phillie fans, however, who stayed throughout the contest – knowing that the Braves-Phillies tilt would help put the final touches on a successful Phillies season. The frosting on the Phillies cake was a 9th inning appearance by a sometimes-shaky Brad Lidge, who set down the Braves for his 26th save. Full coverage of the Braves can be found at The Braves Baseball Blog. And check out Phillies Phandom for more on the Phillies.

Blanks crosses hes big!

Blanks crosses hes big!

The Florida Marlins pitching staff, which has been up and down all year was down on Friday night, as Chris Volstad suffered through one of his worst starts in the majors – and the Marlins went on to drop a key game against the San Diego Padres 9-5. Volstad, who had pitched brilliantly in some of his starts earlier in the year, lasted only 1.2 innings against the Pads, despite help from some lively Marlins’ bats: Chris Coghlan was 3-5, Wes Helms was 2-5, Hanley Ramirez was 2-4 and Cody Ross was 2-4. But as any conch collector in Key West can tell you, without pitching you just can’t win. So it was with the Marlins tonight – as the team fell into a tie with the Braves for second place in the N.L East, a full eight games back of the surging Phillies. It now seems unlikely that either of them, both of whom were retooled and ready for the summer campaign in the spring, can catch Philadelphia.

While the Marlins have not raised the white flag on the season – they still have Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco throwing hard and well (and are well-stocked with a formidable wall of power hitters) – they have decided that Chris Volstad needs more work. In the wake of their loss to the lowly Friars, the team sent Volstad (9-11) packing to the minors. The decision shows just how far the fastballer has fallen. “People are going to struggle, but when you see frustration and lack of confidence, that’s when we have to make a decision as coaches and an organization on what’s best for the kid, and we’ve done that,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re going to option Volstad down to New Orleans to give him a little breather and come back.” You can read all about the game, and the decision on Volstad, on FishGuts. 

Soriano with the big fly

Soriano with the big fly

Mets lefty Pat Misch baffled the Cubs for seven solid innings on Friday, but it wasn’t enough, as the New York bullpen melted down – and ended up giving the game away to the Chicago North Siders 5-2. The loss was particularly frustrating because the Mets had seemed to master Cubs’ starter Ted Lilly, touching the always tough veteran for two hard earned runs – one in the second and one in the eighth. The Cubs, skidding after losing two of three to the lowly Nats, were ripe for the picking, but the Mets bullpen could not take advantage: the usually dependable Brian Stokes gave up a three run shot to Alfonso Soriano (who victimized his team with two outfield gaffes) that effectively sealed the contest.

Misch, who grew up in Illinois watching the Cubs, said that he was nervous playing in Chicago. “I couldn’t eat a thing,” he said after the game, “and I usually eat a lot before I pitch.” The Mets, who have only won nine of their last 21, are desperate to finish the season on an up-beat note, but things have not been going well for them lately – Friday was only the most recent example of their recent troubles. When the starting pitching is going well (as it was on Friday in Wrigley) their bullpen lets them down, and when their bullpen is going well, it seems their starting pitching lets them down. Worse yet, on Friday the team got word that shortstop Jose Reyes, who has not played in three months, may well have to undergo surgery on his right hamstring tendon. The Mets will attempt to bounce back from Friday loss on Saturday, when Bobby Parnell faces off against Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. The Real Dirty Mets Blog covers everything you’d ever want to know about this game . . . and the Mets.

Pujols with the walk-off winner!

Pujols with the walk-off winner!

Who would pitch to Albert Pujols in a 2-2 tie before a screaming throng at Busch Stadium in St. Louis? Why the Washington Nationals, that’s who. Washington Nationals reliever Jason Bergman served up a fastball in Pujols wheelhouse in the ninth inning of a beautifully pitched duel between Nats’ pitcher John Lannan and newly acquired Redbirds’ ace John Smoltz – and the Cardinals beat the Nats 3-2 in St. Louis. Lannan pitched eight innings of four hit ball before giving up a home run to Khalil Greene that tied the game and was subsequently relieved by Jason Bergman, who came on to pitch the ninth. Washington’s long-suffering fans didn’t have to wait long to determine the results: Pujols put a fastball into the upper deck in left field at Busch to pull out the victory.

St. Louis fans gave a warm welcome to Smoltz, who was sharp in his second start for the Redbirds. The former Atlanta star pitched four innings of four hit ball, but left with little damage – two doubles by Elijah Dukes. Washington’s big boppers: Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham flailed away in vain against Smoltz all night in vain. For all things good and bad about the Nats, be sure to check out CenterfieldGate which also has a lot more on this game.

NL East Series Preview 8-28-09 through 8-30-09

Filed Under (Series Preview) by mrose on 28-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Wainwright, Atlanta Braves, Bobby Parnell, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Chris Volstad, Cliff Lee, Craig Stammen, Derek Lowe, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Mock, J.A. Happ, Jair Jurrjens, JJ Putz, Joe Blanton, Johan Santana, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Kevin Correia, matt holliday, Matt Latos, Mitchell Boggs, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Pat Misch, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Dempster, San Diego Padres, Sean West, St Louis Caridinals, Ted Lilly, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tommy Hanson, Washington Natioanls

Phillies Logo VS Phillies Logo
The Philadelphia Phillies(73-52, 1st in NL East) had a bit of a surprise and a possible worry when in Pittsburgh this week.  They had opportunities to win all three games, and three times late comebacks caused at the least, extra innings if not a loss.  Monday and Tuesday the leads were blown by the bullpen, luckily Ryan Howard saved them on Wednesday, but on Thursday they allowed the starter J.A. Happ to try to finish and he couldn’t do it either.  They hope to get the wheels rollin again at home against division rival Atlanta.   Phillies Phandom will have all the information on this series you need.

The Atlanta Braves(67-60, tied for 2nd in NL East 7GB) also had a tough week, one that they thought should be an easy one.  They managed to take the finale of a three game set against the pesky Padres with a blowout victory Thursday afternoon.  The Braves started the week alone in second, but now find themselves back in a tie for second with the Marlins.  Neither team looks to have the horses to get a playoff birth right now, but a good weekend could change that. Check out The Braves Baseball Blog for more.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 7:05PM EST – Hanson,ATL(9-2,3.12 ERA) vs. Martinez,PHI(2-0,5.14 ERA)
Saturday @ 7:05PM EST – Lowe,ATL(12-8,4.48 ERA) vs. Lee,PHI(12-9,2.63 ERA)
Sunday @ 8:05PM EST – Jurrjens,ATL(10-8,2.91 ERA) vs. Blanton,PHI(8-6,3.88 ERA)
Marlins Logo VS Braves Logo
The Florida Marlins(67-60, tied for 2nd in NL East 7GB) welcomed in the AAA Mets this week to South Florida and they couldn’t even up the attendance with Mets fans!  The Fish did manage to take the first two games of the series before the pitching failed them in the finale on Thursday.  The series win moved them back into a second place tie, and they look to gain ground in an unlikely playoff race now.  FishGuts will have more on the Marlins and this defining series.

The San Diego Padres(54-75, 6th in NL West 22.5GB) are into the role of playing spoiler now.  They went into Atlanta as mentioned previously and took two of three from the playoff hopeful Padres, dashing many of their hopes.  They can put a real damper in the hearts of the Marlins fans this weekend in South Florida.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 7:10PM EST – Correia,SD(8-10,4.46 ERA) vs. Volstad,FLA(9-10,4.73 ERA)
Saturday @ 6:10PM EST – TBA,SD(—,-.– ERA) vs. Nolasco,FLA(9-8,5.31 ERA)
Sunday @ 1:10PM EST – Latos,SD(4-3,4.06 ERA) vs. West,FLA(5-5,4.44 ERA)
Mets Logo VS Cubs Logo
The New York Mets(58-70, 4th in NL East 16.5GB) got more injury news this week, as Johan Santana, JJ Putz and Oliver Perez are all now done for the season.  Oddly enough, David Wright looks to be coming back in a few days, but they just want to get through the season with no more injuries, or at least none that will linger to next year.  This weekend they go to Chicago where the Cubs don’t have the injury excuse for their play, they just aren’t playing to the level they should be.  It should be interesting, do the underachivers win, or the injury depleted team?  The Real Dirty Mets Blog has more.

The Chicago Cubs (63-62, 2nd in NL Central 9GB) are just a lost team since the all-star break and one could make the argument, all season.  They are now 9 full games out of first and just lost a series to the Washington Nationals, so things are just not going well for them.  This should be an interesting series to watch..for all the wrong reasons.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 2:20PM EST – Misch,NYM(0-1,4.09 ERA) vs. Lilly,CHI(9-8,3.40 ERA)
Saturday @ 4:10PM EST – Parnell,NYM(3-6,5.08 ERA) vs. Dempster,CHI(7-7,4.07 ERA)
Sunday @ 2:20PM EST – Figueroa,NYM(1-3,5.40 ERA) vs. Zambrano,CHI(7-5,3.80 ERA)
Nats Logo VS Cardinals Logo
The Washington Nationals(46-82, 5th in NL East 28.5GB) are enjoying playing spoiler, or this week, maybe more appropriately, embarasser.  The Cubs don’t have that many injuries as stated above, but they are still floundering and lost two of three to the Nationals this week.  The Nats can put a dent into the Cardinals this weekend, but they likely will not effect their playoff standing much with the nine game lead.   Check out CenterfieldGate for more.

The St. Louis Cardinals(74-55, 1st in NL Central) are running away with the division right now.  The combination of having Matt Holliday in their now vaunted lineupe and good pitching, including the newcomer John Smoltz has put them out to a nine game lead over the Cubs.  They should be able to cruise into the playoffs now, but look for them to still try to stay sharp.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 8:15PM EST – Lannan,WAS(8-9,4.03 ERA) vs. Smoltz,STL(3-5,7.40 ERA)
Saturday @ 7:15PM EST – Stammen,WAS(4-6,5.08 ERA) vs. Boggs,STL(1-2,4.58 ERA)
Sunday @ 2:15PM EST – Mock,WAS(3-5,5.23 ERA) vs. Wainwright,STL(15-7,2.50 ERA)