MLB Insiders - Florida Marlins
Matt Morris
Matt Morris

Posted Apr 4, 2008


The Bucs open a three game weekend series against the Marlins on Friday night at Dolphins Stadium. Veteran Matt Morris will be on the mound for Pittsburgh. Florida will counter with Scott Olsen.

If the first three games are any indication, the Marlins bullpen is in for another long season.

Only one of Florida's first three starters has pitched through the fifth inning -- Mark Hendrickson on Opening Day. Rick VandenHurk was lifted in the fourth inning Tuesday without recording an out, and Andrew Miller was gone after 4 1/3 innings Wednesday.

That's 15 2/3 innings of relief by the bullpen, the same corps that logged the third-highest inning total last year. The bullpen was stellar the first two nights but got tagged for eight runs Wednesday.

"We're going to have to change that. We're going to have to get deeper into the game," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Scott Olsen will try to reverse the trend Friday when he makes his first start, against Pittsburgh. Last year, he made 33 starts and logged 176 2/3 innings.

Pittsburgh will start Matt Morris, who was 3-4 with a 6.10 ERA in 11 starts with the Pirates after the team acquired him from San Francisco in July. The 33-year-old right-hander has lost his last three starts against the Marlins, posting a 6.75 ERA in those games.

Olsen, meanwhile, is 3-0 with a 3.96 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates, including 1-0 with a 5.84 ERA in two starts against them last season. Florida, though, lost four of seven games versus Pittsburgh in 2007.

--After the first three games of the post-Miguel Cabrera era, the middle of the Marlins order isn't producing well. 1B Mike Jacobs, LF Josh Willingham and 3B Jorge Cantu are a combined 7-for-36 with one home run and two RBIs.

--C Matt Treanor threw out seven would-be base stealers last year. After two games this season, he has gunned down two. The team has told pitchers this season to concentrate on holding runners on base.

--SS Robert Andino knows his road to more playing time is being blocked by SS Hanley Ramirez. But he could see more action this season by showing more versatility.

On Tuesday, Manager Fredi Gonzalez put Andino at third, a position he hadn't played since he was 6. "I didn't like it, so I started playing second and short," Andino said. "I played outfield, too."

--RHP Lee Gardner gave up five runs to the Mets on Wednesday, snapping a scoreless-inning streak that dated to last year at 8 2/3 innings.

--LHP Andrew Miller, 22, was hyped as rotation-ready in December when he came to Florida in the trade that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Last season for the Tigers, he got off to a 5-2 start before finishing 5-5.

He didn't show signs of reversing his fortunes Wednesday when he was tagged for five runs 4 1/3 innings.

"We're going to have to have patience with him," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "There's going to be some great games and there's going to be some games where its not quite there."

--Bench coach Carlos Tosca will miss Saturday's game against the Pirates to attend his son Matt's concert recital at Carnegie Hall in New York. Matt, a violinist, played the national anthem before a Marlins game last year.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Consecutive season openers in the starting lineup for Luis Gonzalez, who was signed as a bench player but started Florida's opener in right field in place of Jeremy Hermida (tight left hamstring).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not going to say he's going to win a Gold Glove or be a Brooks Robinson-type guy, but I think he'll do well at third base from what we've seen in spring training." -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez, on 3B Jorge Cantu.


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