Cody Ross did his best Roy Hobbs impression yesterday, going 3-for-4 and pitching a scoreless ninth.
OK, so it wasn't quite "The Natural." There were no shattered stadium lights, and for God's sake, it's only April. Also, the Marlins were losing 13-1 and were out of options after their bullpen had been decimated by six straight losses to the Pirates and Phillies.
But someone had to step up, and Ross, though he only hit into the mid-80s with his fastball, pitched a scoreless ninth and fared a lot better than most of the boys in teal in what was an otherwise dismal weekend of pitching.
Swept by both Philly and Pittsburgh, the Fish are floundering after a scorching 11-1 start. The topsy-turvy April has seen a winning streak of seven games and the current six-game losing streak.
And yet here are the Marlins, nearly a month into the season and atop the NL East standings in a division all but conceded by many to either the Mets or Phillies before play began.
The Marlins, in a perpetual youth movement, aren't a lost cause yet. We've already seen that the bats can bash and their young pitching staff has looked nasty at times and has a chance to improve if Ricky Nolasco can return to his 2008 form. Josh Johnson has been a stud and would be 3-0 instead of 2-0 had Matt Lindstrom been able to close out the ninth in Friday's brutal loss.
Yes, the 11-1 start was somewhat deceiving (six wins against the Nats were huge), but a couple weeks ago they took two of three from the Mets, who they'll face in a three-game set starting tonight in New York.
They'll need a strong performance from Anibal Sanchez tonight to give the bullpen a little rest, otherwise Cody Ross had better start working on his repetoire.