Even without Manny Ramirez in their lineup, the Florida Marlins are still making noise in the NL East and with the MLB trade deadline approaching, their 7-5 victory over the New York Mets Wednesday night pulls the division race even tighter.
On a day when the main baseball talks revolved around the Boston Red Sox left fielder, the Marlins capitalized on 11 hits and a five run fourth inning to lift them to their 24th win of the season against an NL East opponent, the most from within the division.
Josh Johnson won for the first time in almost two years pitching 6 2/3 solid innings allowing four earned runs on eight hits. The starter who had reconstructive elbow surgery in August of 2007 had not won a game since Aug. 28 2006. With the win, the Marlins are also now 4-0 on his four starts this season.
“Two years, wow,” Johnson said when a reporter told him. “Time flies, I guess.”
For the Mets, it was their first loss in a game that Mike Pelfrey started since June 11th. They had won nine consecutive times with him on the hill, and he had picked up eight wins during that span. Pelfrey was only able to throw 4 innings in this one, allowing five earned runs on eight hits before he was pulled from the game. His display equaled his shortest outing on the season.
With the loss, the Mets drop out of first place in the NL East and find themselves a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies who beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 yesterday. The win for the Marlins pulls them only 1 game behind New York and 1 ½ games behind the Phils for the division lead.
Members of the Marlins were excited about the win but with trade talks in the air some are also uncertain about their future with the team. Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida, both brought up as part of a possible trade, had two hits apiece for Florida.
“You put that aside when you step between the white lines,” Hermida said. “I’ve still got a Marlins jersey on. It didn’t affect me whatsoever.”
If a trade were to take place, and under the collective bargaining agreement with the players union, Ramirez would have to approve any deal before it were to happen but with his recent comments and antics on the field, he may approve anything proposed just to get out of Boston.
The Marlins will now welcome the Colorado Rockies into town for a four game series while the Mets will travel to Houston to take on the Astros for a three game set starting tomorrow.