Wednesday was a night of many “official” firsts for the Miami Marlins and it was as colorful as the language of Ozzie Guillen. New uniforms, new manager, new players, new fans, and of course an immaculate new ball park. The only problem was that their first house-guests, the Cardinals, were ungrateful and all but took a dump right in the middle of center field where Wednesday, many balls went to die.
“The Greatest” Muhammad Ali highlighted the pre game festivities by delivering the game ball. Josh Johnson then took that ball and delivered it for a strike to Rafeal Furcal to officially open the baseball season, stateside.
Johnson went on to give up 3 hits and two runs in that first inning. Both runs came on a double by the legend of last October, David Freese. Johnson only allowed one more run in his six innings of work but gave up a total of 10 hits and 12 base runners while never really being in control.
In control is how I would describe how Kyle Loshe looked on Wednesday. Through 6 he faced the minimum and took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. He was effective but by no means dominating. The Marlins just did not seem interested in swinging at hittable pitches.
The Hanley Ramirez at third experiment gave us our first “LOL” or maybe “WTF” moment. On a soft ground ball to the five and a half hole by Carlos Beltran in the second, Ramirez simply watched the ball trickle by. Jose Reyes did not make the play either and the ball ended up in left field, but the play was obviously the third baseman’s to make. Josh Johnson got out of the inning on the next pitch but could be seen shaking his head as he went to cover third on that miss play by Ramirez. The next inning, Ramirez did make a great play to double up Freese at first on a liner by Yadier Molina.
I hope the new park does not affect Hanley, Giancarlo Stanton and other Marlin power hitters like Citi field did David Wright and Jason Bay. Stanton hit 2 balls to center/right center that would of gone out of most parks in the majors, but both were caught. I will have to wait and see how that park plays over the next few months before I give my final impressions of it. But I will say this, it aint no Yankee Stadium.
All night I kept saying that I wanted to see “the thingy” and was disappointed that I did not get to see the new home run structure in center field go off. Other than that it was good opening night. I would of loved to see the first opening day no hitter since 1940 when Bob Feller pitched one, but hey, we have to be realistic.
The Marlins travel to Cincinnati to play the Reds tomorrow while the Cardinals will be in Milwaukee for the Brewers home opener on Friday.