I'll admit, I didn't think Delgado stood a chance. I guess at this point, he's figured out that if he gives up more than one run, he's going to lose. So he just gave up the one run. It didn't hurt either that after I questioned Brian McCann, he goes 3/4 witha run scored. Good job, Bmac!
Let's be real about how this game actually went. It was a nailbiter the whole way, and I was expecting it to explode at any point. Delgado was perfect until the 5th, when he gave up a leadoff double to Stanton. At that point, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Ok here comes that disaster inning I've seen before." But no! Delgado actually locked down, got two outs, gave up the single for his one run, and then escaped from the inning. There was a lot of maturity on the mound last night, and that's a great sign for a pitcher who could have just hung his head about his run support.
Let's also be real about the hitting. We didn't hit well, we just hit well enough to win. When you parse down a baseball season into small segments, that's all the really matters. However, in the majority of games we play, 6 hits and 2 runs is probably going to equal a defeat 80% of the time. In fact let me look it up to see what our record is with 2 runs scored. Ok our record with 2 runs is 3-7, so I was off. It's actually 70% for our loss rate. Still, that's not good, and we all know that 2 runs is too precarious even with a good bullpen. Speaking of which, congrats to Venters, EOF, and Kimbrel for not giving up a hit last night. The bullpen was completely lockdown for 2.2 innings, and that's exactly what we need in a close game on the road. It was especially encouraging to see Fredi go with Venters, and for JV to finally get it right.
So who is the MVP? I think I would have to say Delgado. He doesn't get many chances to be an MVP, but his pitching was the reason we won that game. Rarely are you going to see a 22 year old starter hold a major league team to 2 hits, and that's worthy of some major praise. Delgado had 7 Ks in the game and only 1 walk. If you want to point at a major reason for his success last night, that's a big key. The other big key was throwing first pitch strikes to 14 of the 21 batters he faced. I can't stress this enough for our young staff. You have to get ahead of batters in this league, because they will put 2-0 fastball pitches into the stands. Case in point, batters are hitting .444 against Delgado on 2-0 counts with 6 RBIs. The fact he rarely got behind against the Marlins was huge for his confidence.
I would bring up the fact that we are going for a sweep tonight, but we're throwing Minor out there on the mound as a last ditch effort. Thing is, Buehrle isn't lighting it up either right now. Just looking at the numbers, I'd let Hinske start tonight instead of Heyward, since Hinske is .429 slugging against Buehrle and Heyward is .167 against the lefty. Heyward doesn't hit lefties at all, and I think it's stupid to keep him out there given the numbers in those situations. On the year, he has a .203 average against southpaws with 21 Ks in 69 ABs. He's not just coming up short, he's flailing away. So Fredi, I think you know what to do.