Monday, 16 June 2008

2 of 3 from the Fish; next up - Sweet Lou

Blitz recap from the weekend (and last week actually), before I get on with what I'm supposed to be doing... I am going to be super busy at work for the next couple of weeks (boo!), but then super un-busy for the following two months (yay!), so blogging might be a stop-start affair until then.

Right, here we go. The Angels series (and road-trip) ended with a hard-luck loss after another outstanding start from Scott Kazmir. Then it was back to the Trop for a three-game weekend series with the Marlins. Andy Sonnanstine started Friday, pitched fairly well and got the win. Matt Garza started Saturday night, pitched outstandingly and got the win. Edwin Jackson started Sunday night, pitched not great and was tagged with the loss. And Troy Percival made his return from the DL with a scoreless inning on Friday and a another to pick up the save on Saturday.

That was the story of the pitching.

At the plate, Jason Bartlett was the star of the weekend, going 5-9 with a handfull of RBIs and a couple of stolen bases. Jonny Gomes marked his return from suspension by hitting the first pitch he saw for a homerun and then, in true Jonny style, striking out his next three times up.

On the basepaths, we ran amok, with BJ Upton (2), Willy Aybar, Aki Iwamura, Justin Ruggiano (his first ever) and, magnificently, Cliff Floyd joining Bartlett in swiping bags over the series. Floyd's was particularly sweet, not just because he can hardly run, and not just because he was (apparently) wearing a pair of Carl Crawford's shoes, but because he drew a wild throw from the catcher, allowing him to make it all the way to third. Beautiful. Actually, speaking of which, I also caught some of the Cincinnati-Boston game on Saturday where Brandon Phillips was thrown out trying to steal two bases on one pitch. It was beautiful - although it would have been even better if he had made it!

In the field we were, save for one flyball that Upton and Gross left for each other, brilliant. I've been saying ever since he arrived, but Evan Longoria is just a joy to behold playing at third. Some of the plays he made are simply outstanding - on Saturday he made possibly his best yet, diving across the foul line behind the bag to grab a hard-hit grounder, and making the long throw across the diamond from his knees in time to make the out. Class. In fact, even when we weren't getting outs we were playing sparkling defense - two cases in point from Saturday, in the first inning Justin Ruggiano, making the start in left, chased down a fly ball that was twisting foul, and chased it hard. All the way to the low wall where the party area is at the Trop. And he didn't stop there either, barrelling over the wall and into the fans in an awesome effort to make the play. The second was later in the game, when Dioner Navarro somehow managed to stay with a towering pop that had bounced around in the catwalks high up in the roof to make the catch. Of course, as the ball had hit the catwalk in foul territory it was already dead, but it was a quality catch none-the-less.

Day off today, but tomorrow the Chicago Cubs will be making their first-ever visit to the Trop, meaning the return of Sweet Lou Piniella. If that wasn't enough anyway to make it a series worth watching, its going to be a real test of our potential play-off hopes, to see if we can match it with the best team in baseball. Scott Kazmir is on the mound first up, so we shall be giving them the best we have to offer. Should be a fun series.

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