Marlins-Rockies Preview 2009-05-10

The Florida Marlins have faded after putting together the best start in franchise history. Thanks to Hanley Ramirez, however, they're showing signs of returning to form.

Ramirez looks to continue his recent surge and his success at Coors Field while helping the Marlins complete a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

After setting a club record by winning 11 of its first 12 games, Florida (17-14) dropped 13 of 17 from April 20-May 7. With Ramirez playing his best baseball of the year, though, the Marlins look like they're getting back on track.

Ramirez is 15 for 27 (.556) with four home runs, six RBIs and 10 runs scored during his seven-game hitting streak. He's been particularly effective in the first two games of this series, totaling seven hits, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored and three steals.

Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson, who pitched eight strong innings in a 3-1 win Saturday night, said Ramirez has been "amazing."

"He's what makes us go," Johnson said after Ramirez sparked Florida's offense with three hits, an RBI and two runs Saturday. "He's spraying the ball all over the field. He's impressive to watch."

Ramirez has a simple explanation for his surge.

"I'm seeing the ball well, being patient and swinging at strikes," he said.

That's been a good formula for Ramirez at Coors Field throughout his career. He's recorded at least one hit in each of his 12 games there, batting .411 (23 for 56) with three homers, seven RBIs and 14 runs scored to help Florida to an 8-4 record in those games.

That doesn't bode well for a Rockies club that's been outscored 19-7 over three straight losses, all at home. Saturday's defeat was particularly disheartening because Jorge De La Rosa delivered his best start of the season but still suffered the loss.

Colorado (11-18) has dropped five of the last seven games in which it's held the opposition to three runs or fewer.

"It's the way it's been for this team this year," De La Rosa said. "I pitched well, but it's a loss. None of us are happy with losing."

The Rockies will try to bounce back behind Aaron Cook (1-1, 5.67 ERA), who has settled down after a dismal start to 2009. The right-handed sinkerballer had a 10.22 ERA over his first three starts, all Rockies losses, but he's rebounded by posting a 3.00 ERA over his last three outings.

Cook held San Diego to one run and five hits in eight innings of Colorado's 2-1, 10-inning defeat Tuesday. He's 1-2 with a 6.10 ERA in four career games against Florida.

Ramirez is 3 for 7 with two doubles, a walk and two strikeouts in his career against Cook.

Chris Volstad (2-1, 2.97) will take the mound for the Marlins hoping to bounce back from his first loss. The right-hander gave up a season-high four runs - three earned - in six innings of a 7-0 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday. He's 0-1 over his last four starts with only seven runs of support spanning 24 1-3 innings in that stretch.

Volstad is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in two career games - one start - against the Rockies.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 10, 2009