Hero of the Game: John Buck (0.153 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Ricky Nolasco (-0.028 WPA)
Play of the Game: John Buck doubles to center field in the fifth inning. Nick Green scores. (+0.165 WPA)
The Miami Marlins seemed to be in dire straits while down only 2-0 given how Los Angeles Dodgers starter Joe Blanton had begun the game against them. With Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco floundering in an attempt to stop allowing hits, the Marlins appeared cooked despite the small deficit. Then the team erupted for four runs in a massive fifth-inning rally and tacked on three more in the eighth inning to secure an eventual 7-3 victory.Nolasco Struggles Again
For Nolasco, tonight's poor performance could be attributed to simply being unable to miss bats in his outing. The Marlins righty threw 90 pitches on the evening but somehow only managed to get four swings and misses from the Dodgers, who were apparently not fooled by his offerings. He got plenty of strikes, particularly of the called strike variety; Nolasco had 18 called strikes and actually had a decent 1.7 balls to called strike ratio, meaning he was also in and around the zone. But once he delivered the count to two strikes, he just could not get the Dodgers batters to miss.
And when they made contact, they did a very good job. The Dodgers put a runner on in each inning that Nolasco pitched, and since he only allowed one walk, those runners primarily came via the hit. Cliff Floyd joined the broadcast booth for tonight's game and mentioned that Nolasco did not put the ball in play as often as Blanton, but he was just as much around the zone and the only difference early was that the Dodgers were getting hits. The only thing that saved Nolasco? He was able to get critical outs in bases-loaded jams in the first and second inning and prevented what was looking early like a blowout.
Marlins Rally Bails Nolasco
The Fish did allow two runs, but they were able to get things going in the fifth. Down 2-0, the Fish already had just a 26.2 percent chance to win the game. Donovan Solano however sneaked a double past third baseman Jerry Hairston to begin the rally with one out. Nick Green did the same, attacking Hairston Jr with a sharp grounder off his glove for a double. Then, John Buck delivered the big hit by sending a long fly ball to the base of the wall in center field to bring home Green and tie the game.
From there, the Fish just kept hitting. Kearns singled, Gorkys Hernandez laid down a pretty safety squeeze down the first base line, and Justin Ruggiano lined a pretty single to cap off the run scoring. By the end of that run, the Fish had moved up to an 80 percent chance to win the game.
From there, the Marlins only made it elementary with a three-run eighth inning capped by a double by Carlos Lee in what appeared to be one of his best-hit balls as a Marlin. What started out as a potentially ugly affair turned into a close lead which turned into a laugher by the end of it all. For the Marlins, few things have been positive, so the team will take anything they can get.