Last night the Marlins wiggled out of a potential one-run loss into a 4-1 win. How’d they do it? Well, it started with great managing.
Fredi Gonzalez showed us why the Marlins’ brass hired him as he went head to head with Tony LaRussa, one of the game’s best at managing a ballclub. The win came in extra innings as the defining play was Felipe Lopez’s inability to properly field a ground ball that all but doomed the Cardinals. It was LaRussa who placed Lopez in RF, a position he hadn’t played.
Actually, the idea was to put Lopez in LF, but the move backfired.
Fredi made the right moves. He finally went to the right guys in the bullpen, instead of the same old guys. Doug Waechter closed it down with 9 pitches in the 8th inning. Seven of Waechter’s pitches, by the way were strikes. Then Joe Nelson, who has quietly become the Marlins best reliever, closed down the Cardinals and kept the 1-1 tie in place with only 5 pitches – 4 of which were strikes.
The 10th was managed by Arthur Rhodes who threw only 10 pitches, 9 of which were strikes, and held the Cardinals bats from rallying with a runner on 2B. Rhodes would receive the win.
Finally, Matt Lindstrom came in to close out the 11th inning and receive his first ever career save. He did it with 8 pitches, 5 of which were strikes.
The Marlins relievers combined to throw a total of 32 pitches over 4 innings, 25 of which were strikes. This is the kind of efficiency the Marlins have struggled to get out of their bullpen for the past month. This is also why they haven’t won back to back games since July 30th – 31st.