Florida Marlins Open Critical Road Trip on a Positive Note

Brian KarpelContributor IJuly 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05:  Relief pitcher Leo Nunez #46 of the Florida Marlins celebrates after getting the last out and the save against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 5, 2010 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Marlins won 6-5.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There were no walk-off heroics needed out west last night.  In fact, it was quite the opposite. 

The Fish faithful experienced a nail-biting bottom of the ninth that almost saw a 4-2 lead evaporate. 

Closer Leo Nunez was greeted by singles courtesy of Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez.  With runners on first and second and nobody out pinch hitter Ryan Rohlinger sacrificed and moved the runners over.

With runners now on second and third and one out, Nunez got Andres Torres to ground out which scored Rowand and make it a 4-3 ball game.  Freddy Sanchez was now the tying run at third.  Former Marlins World Series hero Edgar Renteria was the possible winning run at the plate.

Renteria ran the count full by fouling off two and taking three pitches out of the strike zone.

With everyone in Fish Nation holding their breath, Renteria swung and missed Nunez' 87 MPH change-up!  Marlins win and open up the road trip by gaining a game on the Wild Card leading Giants!

So where does this nail-biting victory leave the Marlins?

In the National League East they gained ground on the idle Mets and Braves.  They now find themselves tied for third with New York and all of a sudden, a not so daunting 5 1/2 behind first place Atlanta!  The Phillies defeated the Rockies Monday afternoon so the Marlins remain three behind them.

In the Wild Card race they now sit in a sixth place tie with the Mets (who play NL Central leading St. Louis), only one game behind fifth place Colorado. 

The Dodgers were also idle on Monday.  As a result of the Phillies win, they are now tied with Philadelphia for third, three ahead of Florida.  The Marlins also stand four back of second place Cincinnati and 5 1/2 behind the Giants.

Looking at what played out yesterday-guess what folks-the Marlins seem to have new life in the hunt for the division championship!  They are 5 1/2 back in both races with alot more hurdles in the Wild Card hunt.

Before yesterday's game at AT&T Park, Larry Beinfest commented on the trade deadline situation. "If there is something that makes sense, we'll do it,"  Beinfest said . "Will we force anything? I wouldn't say so. Are we driven by the need to move money? That's a no."

He also commented that they would not make changes for changes sake. 

Besides the short term goal of making 2010 a success, the Marlins long term goal is to keep a strong team in place to open the new ballpark in 2012.

So it's looking less and less like a sell-a-thon is coming to Miami.  A major shopping spree also seems unlikely.