Embattled in the middle of a controversy of his own making, Marlins All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been benched until he apologizes to his teammates.
Let's hope that doesn't happen until the weekend when Florida has left town.
Ramirez, a 30-30 man who has a lifetime 300-plus batting average, booted a ball into left field Monday then casually jogged after it while two runners scored and the hitter rounded the bases for a triple. Pulled out of the game in between innings by his manager, Ramirez was supposed to be embarrassed into straightening up. Instead, he accused those teammates of not playing hard, either then tore into his manager. Fredi Gonzales lost Ramirez's respect for pulling him, the shortstop said. He then shrugged his shoulders and said the manager can do what he wants... But he doesn't know what he's doing because he never played in the majors. Ouch.
I'm not sure how that will translate into Florida's play. The Marlins beat Arizona handily Tuesday with Ramirez on the bench and his replacement, former Cardinals infielder Brian Barden, driving in a pair of runs. The Fish are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
In the opener, the Marlins will send Anibal Sanchez (2-2, 3.83) to the hill to face impressive Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia (4-2, 1.42). Sanchez, 26, snapped a three-game losing streak during his last start against the Mets. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on only four hits and two walks. Sanchez has struck out 28 and walked 14 in 43 2/3 innings. He's 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in one career start against St. Louis. Garcia beat the Reds his last time on the mound, allowing two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He's pitched at least six frames every start this season and has allowed only 31 hits in 44 1/3 innings.
Nate Robinson (4-3, 4.35 will face Adam Wainwright(5-2, 2.48) in the second and closing game of the series against the Marlins. He's a lefty, so that's going to be a tough assignment for the southpaw-phobic Redbirds. But maybe the Cardinals are breaking out of that trend. Lefty hitters Colby Rasmus and Skip Schumaker each collected hits Tuesday against a Washington lefty.
Robinson, 32, hasn't won in double figures since 2006 when he was with the Cardinals' World Series foes, the Tigers. He's only pitched as many as six innings in two of his eight starts this season.
Wainwright's last outing against the Reds is his on non-quality start of the season. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks.