Let’s start with the Good. Jose Fernandez’s All-Star appearance. The Marlins’ lone representative at the mid-season classic pitched a perfect sixth inning, and wowing a number of people in the process. Fernandez dispatched former AL MVPDustin Pedroia, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and MLB homerun leader Chris Davis in order, striking out Pedroia looking, getting Cabrera to pop-up, and sending down Davis with a nasty curveball in the dirt the big-bopper flailed at.
“He’s really impressive,” said San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who caught the inning for Fernandez. “You figured there would be a lot of nerves and excitement. But he showed great poise and obviously the stuff speaks for itself.”
“He was dirty, man,” Chris Davis said. “He threw me that curveball to start off the at-bat. It looked like a heater coming in, and then it just disappeared. Then he finished me off with it.”
Now to the Bad. It’s been more than a full week since the Marlins, the worst offense in the league, have plated a run. The current 37-inning scoreless streak is the longest such streak since Houston Astros went 42 scoreless innings in 1985. 1985! Against the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend, the team managed only 15 hits in the three-game series. Six of those hits came from rookie shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. On Sunday, pitcher Henderson Alvarez had one of the four hits for the team (Hechavarria had two).
“Right now, it’s a little tough to watch,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said after Sunday’s game. His words are an understatement.
The Ugly came on Saturday. The Fish sported throwback unis to honor the Negro Leagues. The threads came from the 1956 incarnation of the Miami Marlins, with a No. 29 patch on the sleeve to honor the great Satchel Paige, and had a distinctly Florida Gator/New York Met feel to them. The 1956 Miami Marlins were a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Brewers wore the uniforms of the 1923 Milwaukee Bears, a team part of the Negro National League at the time.
This was a good week for the Marlins. (And a good week for rookie Marcell Ozuna’s tummy.) The Fish managed their first winning road trip since May of 2012, taking four of seven games in Arizona and San Francisco, two teams locked in a heated race in the NL West.
One of the players who wasn’t necessarily having a good week was Justin Ruggiano. While Ruggi leads the team with 11 home runs and 28 RBI, his last month or so had been a struggle. When Chris Coghlan suddenly caught fire, prior to his injury, Ruggiano found himself the odd man out. When Coghlan went down, Giancarlo Stanton’s return kept Ruggi on the pine. Manager Mike Redmond elected to use Ruggiano as part of a platoon with the light-hitting Juan Pierre. So after going 0-for-5 in one of his few turns in the lineup, Ruggiano did not expect to play the next day.
But he did. And boy did he respond. Ruggiano hit a lead-off homer against Giants ace Matt Cain, and connected on a second homer in the ninth inning.
One of the outfielders that squeezed Ruggiano off the field is rookie Marcell Ozuna. On his first Major League road trip out West, Ozuna hit up a popular fast-food joint, In-N-Out Burger and ate somewhere between three to five “double-doubles”. The following from the Miami Herald:
“I told him after the game, because I think he had about four or five In-N-Out Burgers, I said maybe that was the reason why you couldn’t catch that ball,” manager Mike Redmond said of Hunter Pence’s RBI double to shallow center in the fifth, which Ozuna completely whiffed on. “But I said you got a big hit, so I forgot about it already.”…
Ozuna contended afterward that he didn’t eat four or five hamburgers from the popular West Coast chain, as his manager and teammates claimed. But he did acknowledge he had three, along with three chocolate chip cookies and a glass of apple juice. No fries. No shake.
“Just three,” Ozuna said of his burger consumption. “My teammates say five. Today I eat three. Tomorrow I eat four, and the next day five, and (then) we leave for Miami.”