(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this series.)
MIAMI – As if our descent into the Ft. Lauderdale airport today wasn’t clue enough – I’d characterize it more like a 40 minute holding pattern, then a five-minute descent – we’ve got a few weather issues down here in South Florida.
Tropical Storm Bonnie passed right through South Florida about an hour before my plane did, and left the place looking soggy, gray and with remnants strewn on the roads from 40 mph winds. Remnants like palm fronds, and that’s twice for me writing about palm fronds in less than a month.
Just what you want for the start of the Braves-Marlins series today, eh?
But from what I read, the worst of it has passed through (that must have been the orange blob CNN was showing covering the entire southern tip of Florida on TV on the plane). Weather service says “more sporadic downpours” could roll in this afternoon. But hey, he didn’t say tonight. And a guy on the radio on my drive in said by this time tomorrow this thing should be gone.
Let’s hope sooner!
Actually I just looked on weather.com and the chances for rain aren’t too threatening until maybe 9 p.m. (40 percent) but it will be windy. Best of luck to the outfielders.
So it’ll be interesting to see how Cody Ross does this series and whether the Braves try to pack him up and take him with them to Washington next week.
Just a few short days after sending top scouts to south Florida, the Braves can see for themselves if the right-handed center fielder is a good fit for them.
The Braves are not the only ones in on him; they reportedly have the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Dodgers in the mix on some level as well. The Marlins don’t have huge financial incentives to get a deal done quickly – as Ross is a candidate to be non-tendered at the end of the season and is only owed about $1.5 million for the remainder of this season. So as Juan Rodriguez reports of the Sun-Sentinel and our notes group “the Marlins are under no pressure, financial or otherwise, to move him so the asking price likely is high.”
Of course the Braves are saying they can wait until after the non-waiver deadline passes too. So maybe this is all part of the game.
One prospect I’m told the Marlins have coveted in the recent past is reliever Craig Kimbrel, but if you’re the Braves, it’s doubtful you’d part with the kid you see as a closer of the near future, with Billy Wagner approaching retirement, especially for a player who could be around only a couple of months.
So some good news for the Braves to open this series? Josh Johnson just pitched yesterday and is not available. He and his majors-leading 1.61 ERA will have to wait for another day. Also, the Braves are catching Hanley Ramirez at a good time, about like they did the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez.
Ramirez has hit only 4-for-23 since the All-Star break and got the day off yesterday, only the fourth time he’s been out of the lineup this season.
His manager Edwin Rodriguez doesn’t want to blame any bad habits leftover from the Home Run derby – Juan tells us in our notes group – but that he admits Ramirez’s swing has gotten long. Rodriguez said he’s taking the right approach: “He’s trying to hit more to the right side of the field until he gets back into his swing.”
As a team, though, the Marlins are playing well. They’ve won five of their last six, including four by one run (including yesterday’s 3-2 walk-off win against the Rockies) and are back within nine games of the Braves from fourth place.
Their lone loss in that span came when Nate Robertson got pummeled in a 10-0 loss to the Rockies, but the Marlins have since designated Robertson for assignment. So instead of facing Robertson on Sunday, the Braves are supposed to see Ricky Nolasco.
OK, I’ve got to skedaddle and get over to the ballpark. More from there in a little bit.
Oh wait, a few tidbits
Chris Resop, out since mid-June with a left oblique strain made his second appearance in a rehabilitation assignment start last night with Double-A Mississippi going 2 1/3 innings against Tennessee, allowing two runs on five hits, with one walk and one strikeout.
Pitching matchups for Nationals series:
Tuesday: Tommy Hanson (8-6, 4.12) vs. Stephen Strasburg (5-2, 2.32). Wednesday: Tim Hudson (10-5, 2.47) vs. Livan Hernandez (7-6, 3.12). Thursday: RHP Derek Lowe (tonight) vs. RHP Craig Stammen (2-4 + tonight).