Craig Counsell’s second career home run, a grand slam in the bottom of the first, lead the Marlins to a 12-4 victory over Philadelphia. Counsell’s previous home run was also a grand slam. Charles Johnson crushed a 3-run home run in the 7th to add to the Marlins’ tally. Garry Sheffield, Dave Berg, and Derrek Lee each scored 2 runs. Berg came into the game in the first after Bobby Bonilla and Jim Leyland were ejected for arguing a strike out call. For Lee, it was his first multi-hit game of his career. He also drove in a run to raise his team leading total to 16 along with 5 home runs on only 9 hits. Livan Hernandez pitched 7 innings, allowing 4 earned runs, striking out 8 and driving in a run.
Roster update: Mark Kotsay has changed his number from 4 to 7.
The Marlins ended a franchise-record 11-game losing streak by beating the Pirates 7-2. Andy Larkin, making his first start in two years, pitched 6 strong innings Cliff Floyd doubled in two runs while Derrek Lee hit his second grand-slam this week. Lee has 4 home runs and a team-leading 13 RBI despite only playing 9 games and getting 5 hits.
Andy Larkin will start for the Marlins tonight at Pittsburgh, attempting to end the franchise-record 11 game losing streak.
Bobby Bonilla was activated from the Disabled List. Josh Booty was sent down to AAA Charlotte. Andy Larkin was called up to replace Eric Ludwick who was placed on the 15-day DL.
4/7/98 — In an effort to improve on the team’s 1-6 start, Jim Leyland has demoted Felix Heredia (0-2) back to the bullpen. The Marlins will have a 4-man rotation, allowing the starters to throw more pitches and improve their performance. Gabe Gonzalez was sent down to Triple-A and infielder Kevin Millar, who hit .333 in spring training, was called up.
The Chicago Cubs scored 5 funs off Marlins starter Felix Heredia to claim a 10-3 victory over the Marlins on opening night. For the Marlins, Edgar Renteria had two hits, Sheffield had a hits and two walks, Cliff Floyd homered, and Cragin Counsell had a triple (his second of this young season). Floyd’s home run cut the Cubs lead to 5-2, but Oscar Henriquez struggled in relief allowing 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning, ending the Marlins hopes.
Gary Sheffield and Charles Johnson each hit 3-run home runs leading the Marlins to a 11-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. All the Marlins starter had a hit except for Josh Booty who did have an RBI. Floyd, Renteria, Kotsay, Sheffield, and Jackson had 2 hits. Counsell had 3. Livan Hernandez pitched 5-1/3 allowing 5 runs on 7 hits to earn his first win.
The World Champion Florida Marlins open the 1998 season in front of a sold out crowd at Pro Player Stadium today at 4:35. The Marlins’ Livan Hernandez will start for Florida, while Kevin Tapani start for the visiting Cubs. Bobby Bonilla will throw the first pitch to Alex Fernandez. Broadcast on SportsChannel Florida and WGN.
The Marlins 1998 Opening Day Lineup:
SS – Edgar Renteria
1B – Ryan Jackson
RF – Gary Sheffield
CF – Mark Kotsay
C – Charles Johnson
2B – Craig Counsell
3B – Josh Booty
P – Livan Hernandez
The Marlins 25-man roster is now set and includes 13 rookies.
The Marlins rookie starters have all pitched very well recently. Tonight, Brian Meadows, gave up two hits and one run in five innings, striking out four in the loss to Baltimore. Meadows is the Marlins third starter.
Following the Marlins loss to Baltimore, Jim Leyland announced that Ryan Jackson, not Derrick Lee will be the Marlins’ opening day first baseman, and Mark Kotsay, not Todd Dunwoody will start in center field. Jackson and Kotsay have played very well in the spring. Both players are hitting over .300 in the spring and have outplayed almost all the other Marlins. Josh Booty has secured the starting third base job until at least May 1, when Bobby Bonilla is expected to return from the DL. Todd Dunwoody and Kevin Millar were sent to the minors. Eric Owens was sold to Milwuakee for $20,000 only 4 days after being aquired. Should the Marlins trade Cangelosi and Eisenriech, Dunwoody and Millar would be recalled.
The Marlins have acquired Eric Owens from the Cincinnati Reds for Jesus Martinez. The Marlins were out of options on Martinez and therefore had to keep him on the major league roster or waive him. Owens is 27 years old. He is 6-1, 185 lbs. righty. He plays the outfield and the infield. With Leyland carrying an extra pitcher, the acquisition of Owens would allow the few bench players to be more diverse. He will fight with Josh Booty for the third base spot.
Robert Stratton, acquired from the Mets in the Dennis Cook trade, was returned to New York after a back injury was discovered. The Marlins received Brandon Villafuerte, a 22-year-old right-hander, and a player to be named later in return. Villafuerte was 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA and seven saves last season at Class A Capital City of the South Atlantic League.
Major League Baseball’s Executive Council approved Marlins’ President Don Smiley as the new Managing Partner of the Florida Marlins. This gave Smiley advance approval of his bid to purchase the team. He will “own” the team even though his purchase is not completed. The acquisition should be completed in June. The team will have 15 investors at $150 million. Wayne Huizenga and Whit Hudson will remain minority owners with no influence on the teams’ operation.