Several historical events took place today on a mostly sunny Sunday afternoon:
- Omar Vizquel is now the all-time leader in MLB history for games played as a shortstop.
- Dan Uggla has hit more home runs in a month than any other Marlin in Marlin history (12 – and counting!).
- MarlinsNation has finally had its first ever “tailgate” – although the tailgating part is being used liberally. We finally did meet up at a game, if only there were two members from the site. Still, it was a double header and kind of last minute but we made it a go.
For yours truly, it was kind of full circle since I was able to see the Marlins play in San Francisco and now I got to seem them play the Giants here at home. Very different teams though for both.
The Marlins swept the double header and in both games had to mount clutch performances in order to take the games. In the first game, there was the two home runs to start things off – Hermida and Cantu. Then later, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross blasted bombs to help push the Marlins to their 8-6 win. We sat along the first base side near the Marlins bullpen in section 141. Note to Loria – at the new ball park, try and do something about the aisles. It is hard to watch a game when people are constantly walking up and down them during the game.
Oh, and a balk for the Giants scored a Marlin run – another historic event.
Mark Hendrickson had a big time double that basically went nowhere (he was stranded) but must have played an important role in the mind of Fredi – as we shall soon see. He also was able to overcome his own mistakes and keep eating up innings which was crucial for the bullpen on a day like today. Kevin Gregg earned a save and Lindstrom continued to impress by coming in for the 8th and locking it down with upper 90’s heat.
Also, Jacque Jones made his debut and showed he is going to help this team defensively while he gets back in rhythm offensively.
Eulogio de la Cruz made his Marlins debut and Jacque Jones got his first start as a Marlin in CF. De la Cruz pitched three innings and demonstrated he has a nice fastball and a solid change, but a 3rd pitch didn’t seem immediately evident. What did look evident is how much he looks like Antonio Alfonseca though.
As for the second game, we have some highlights. It basically all came down to the bottom of the 9th (you can hear me and Nolesmarlins commenting throughout these highlights).
First came Wes Helms, who set the table.
Then next up came Hanley Ramirez who has been hitting better in the lead off spot. And then Cody Ross.
With neither hitter getting it done, the Marlins had the game winning run on 2B and 2 outs. Yet none of us really felt that this would end badly. So, up comes Cantu.
Then Amezaga pinch hits. This is crucial because Mark Hendrickson was used as a pinch hitter earlier in the game. We were all scratching our head about it but Fredi made a bold move opting to keep his bench players around for the later part of the game. Besides, Hendrickson is hitting .343 on the season. Yes, .343. Why not?
That brings us to Dan Uggla’s at bat. It would be the last of the game and for the day which was over 7 hours of baseball.
What is amazing is that we had enough batteries and memory to get this stuff. Like most digital camera users, I neglected to clean off all the old pictures which meant my memory was not as vast as it should have been. In fact, the Uggla clip is somewhat short because the memory card ran out – at just the perfect time, I suppose!
Then there was the batteries. We knew it was a sign that the Marlins would win: my girlfriend actually packed extra batteries just in case. Low and behold, the batteries did die out – just as the Giants were changing pitchers! When Bruce Bochy gimped out to make his pitching change, my batteries went dead. We quickly switched them out and were ready to roll. How clutch! Just like Uggla tonight!
Great win for this team who now faces a big test with 10 road games in 11 days against their NL East rivals. We will know more about them after this trip – then again, who says it will be any different than what we know about them now.
A special shout out to Nolesmarlins for coming out today. We had a blast and we look forward to more Marlins games in the future. We were reppin’ MarlinsNation, of course, with the rest of our Marlins fan brethren. We hope to see more join us for the next “tailgate” perhaps in June (6-8) against the Reds.