|2003 Florida Marlins |
Looking back the Marlins resurgence in 2003 seemed to have started just prior to the All-Star game. When, playing just five-hundred ball (42-42 W/L) on July 1st, the team put it all together and slaughtered Atlanta 20-1.
In this remarkable offensive performance, three players lined 4 hits apiece - second baseman Luis Castillo, catcher Ivan Rodriquez and rookie left fielder Miguel Cabrera, who scored 4 times and drove in 4 runs. Third baseman Mike Lowell went 3-for-3, with 2 doubles, and collected 3 RBIs. Pitcher Josh Beckett stymied the opposing Atlanta hitters, allowing just 3-hits, one unearned run in 6 innings of work.
When slugger Mike Lowell broke a bone in his hand in late August, Marlins management added Jeff Conine on September 1st. An original member of the Marlins Conine went 4-for-4 as a rookie in Florida's first-ever major league game back in 1993. He was acquired to bolster the team's bid for a wild card playoff berth. Manager Jack McKeon said, 'We're happy to have Conine back... he'll be our cleanup hitter.'
In that day's game (9/1/2003) against Montreal, the 12,413 fans at Pro Player Stadium gave Conine a standing ovation his first at bat and he responded with a sac-fly. He also singled in a run and later started a inning ending double play to help the Marlins win 5-2 and increase their 2003 season record to 74-63 - one game ahead of Philadelphia in the wild card race.
On September 23, first baseman Derrek Leon Lee crashed a three-run first inning homerun off Atlanta's Mike Hampton (14-9, 3.70 ERA) propelling the Marlins to a 6-3 victory. Lee went 2-for-4 and had four RBIs for the day. It was his 31st homer of the year. Left-hander Mark Redman yielded 5-hits, gave up 3-runs and picked up the win - raising his season record to 14-9.
The 28-year old free-swinging Lee is the son of former minor leaguer, Leon, who was drafted by St. Louis and played in TripleA ball before playing 10 years in Japan. Dad is currently the batting coach for Orix Blue Wave of the Japanese Pacific League. An uncle Leron Lee was an well-know outfielder for San Diego back in the early-'70s.
Marlins drop Phillies 8-4 on Sept 25th... the pressure of a wild-card playoff race didn't faze the young Marlin team, who beat the Phillies 13 games to 6 in the season. Center fielder Juan Pierre batting .303 for the year, collected his 200 hit of the season, going 2-for-2 in yesterday game. Pitcher Brad Penny (14-10, 4.13 ERA) pitched 8 strong innings.
Marlins Heading to National League Playoffs:
September 26 - before a cheering hometown crowd of 33,215 the Marlins dropped New York 4-3 to clinch the NL wild card spot. Carl Pavano posted his 12th win of season (12-13, 4.30 ERA). The right-hander allowed just 6 hits, 3-runs, struck out 6, in 7 1/3 innings. Setup reliever Chad Fox pitched another solid outing, stopping a NY rally in the 8th inning. Urbina pitched a hitless, scoreless 9th for his 6 save of the year. Pierre rapped 3 hits in 3 trips to the plate. D.L. Lee lined his 31 double of the season, and had 2 RBIs - 91 for the year.
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