The Marlins continued their success during the recent brief, 2-game series against the Texas Rangers by splitting the games. Surely Miami is disappointed that they didn’t take both games against the cellar-dwelling Rangers, but the split marks the 4th consecutive series that they have not lost.
Doesn’t it seem like Hanley Ramirez has been gone for a long, long time? Actually, it’s been just a little more than 25 months. But every time you watch current Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the field, it reminds you that Ramirez’s defense was frequently a concern, despite his defenders.
Center fielder Marcell Ozuna, who was hitting .170 with only six RBI in his first 26 games after the All-Star Break, closed out the final six games of the Marlins' homestand 9-for-23 and with home runs in back-to-back games against the Rangers. "He's a streaky guy and this would be a heck of a time for him to get on a big streak," Redmond said of Ozuna, who is now hitting .261 with 18 homers and 65 RBI on the season. "It looks like maybe he's starting."
The Marlins went into their off-day Thursday leading the majors in walk-off wins (11), one-run wins (32) and wins in their last at-bat (21). So does being great at winning tight games pay off? History shows us the majority of the teams that have won at least 32 one-run games in a season since 1993 have gone on to do some good things.
Sunday's win was significant in that it got the Marlins back to .500. Perhaps of greater import, it means every additional victory over the season's final seven weeks represents an improvement over last season. Matching their 2013 win total with 38 games remaining was not lost on manager Mike Redmond, his staff and players that endured those 100 losses of a year ago.
The Marlins' blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays in November 2012, which featured the payroll purging of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, yielded starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria among seven players. While Alvarez and Hechavarria have factored into the Marlins' surprising season (63-63) so far, another former Toronto player scooped from the scrap heap two months after their acquisition has been equally essential.
He'll have to contend with Miami ace Henderson Alvarez, who missed half of the month with right shoulder inflammation but was back to his normal self in his return on Saturday against the D-backs. After struggling to find the zone in the first inning, the right-hander yielded just one run on five hits in seven frames. He settled down to the point where he'd only thrown 89 pitches when he exited the game.
There are stretches where Marcell Ozuna tends to be all or nothing. The 23-year-old center fielder appears to be on one of his hot spells. In the Marlins' 5-4 loss on Wednesday to the Rangers, Ozuna went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and solo home run in the ninth inning. With home runs in consecutive games, Ozuna raised his season total to 18 to go along with 65 RBIs.
Marlins leadoff hitter Christian Yelich turned a lot around in the team's past nine games. The 22-year-old spent the first nine games in August batting .200 (7-for-35) with five walks and 10 strikeouts. Granted, four of those hits went for extra bases and Yelich drove in six runs, but he'd been struggling to set the tone at the top of the order.
Around The League
On Thursday, one day earlier than expected, Allen Craig returned to the Boston lineup. The right-handed hitter, who played just one game after being acquired from St. Louis before going on the disabled list, batted fifth and served as the designated hitter.
A year ago, Michael Wacha won his first four postseason starts for the Cardinals (matching his regular-season victory total), was named MVP of the National League Championship Series and got the ball in the deciding game of the World Series. In the American League Division Series, the Athletics' Sonny Gray twice went toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander and permitted just three runs in 13 innings.
The Angels acquired infielder Gordon Beckham from the White Sox for a player to be named or cash considerations on Thursday. The right-handed-hitting Beckham, expected to join the team in Oakland on Saturday, can fill in at second base, third base and potentially shortstop.
Angels ace Garrett Richards will miss the rest of the season after an MRI on Thursday confirmed a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. The injury carries a six- to nine-month recovery period.
At Fish Stripes
Amid the fantastic year of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich is quietly having a star-level campaign by doing all the little things decently.
Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was coming off a solid offensive year before being signed by the Marlins. Saltalamacchia has had difficulty offensively in 2014, and one scout is disappointed in his performance.
The nebulous meaning of the word "value" in the Most Valuable Player award ultimately determines the chances of Giancarlo Stanton taking the award.
Casey McGehee had a solid first half of the season, but his bat has slowed down of late. McGehee's frustration was on display in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers.
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