08/19/12 1:35 AM ET
Cishek's straightforward approach paying dividends
By Jack Etkin / Special to MLB.com
"I just try to throw sinkers at the knees and get ahead," Cishek said. "That's the name of my game -- get ahead down in the zone. So far it's worked out and continues to work that way."
In addition to his sinker, Cishek throws a slider. He'll mix in a changeup, mostly to left-handed hitters, and occasionally throws a four-seam fastball to raise the eye level of a hitter.
Among National League relievers, only Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (1.20 ERA) and Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (1.24) have a lower ERA than Cishek (1.84).
"He comes after the hitters," Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. "He doesn't mess around. He's going to make you put the ball in play. He's fearless out there; he attacks. That's what you have to be. You can't be picky out there as a closer and running deep counts and putting guys on base."
Even though Cishek has held the coveted closer's role since the All-Star break -- replacing former All-Star Heath Bell -- he has kept the same mindset from when he pitched before the ninth inning and not thought about the potentially painful consequences that might result should he falter.
"There's a lot more pressure if you allow it to get to you," Cishek said. "The best closers in the game don't allow it to get to them, like Mariano Rivera. I think when you start getting into trouble is when you start thinking about all the weight's on your shoulders. The team has been battling and they want you to finish the game out. Some people start thinking negatively instead of trying to keep it simple and do what you've done in the past."
Stanton sets record with another Coors blast
DENVER -- Giancarlo Stanton set a Major League record on the first swing of his first at-bat Saturday when he hit a three-run home run that cleared the left-field stands at Coors Field and landed on the concourse. He became the first big leaguer to hit a home run in his first six games in one ballpark.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, three other Major Leaguers have hit a home run in their first five games in one ballpark -- Johnny Grubb at Fenway Park in 1978, Matt Nokes at Anaheim Stadium in 1987, and Matt Stairs at Citizens Bank Park in 2004 (two games) and 2007 (three games). Stanton is the first visiting player to homer in six straight games in one ballpark since Travis Hafner of the Indians did it at Tropicana Field from 2005-07.
Rockies officials estimated that Stanton's home run, his 24th of the season, went an estimated 448 feet. On Friday, he hit the longest home run of the season at Coors Field, a blast just to the left of straightaway center field that landed four rows from the top of the center-field bleachers, an estimated 474 feet from home plate.
After Friday's game, Stanton said he liked the forest green background here, which quite literally has some forest elements. There is ivy growing on the batter's eye, and in front of it is a grove of pine and spruce trees, representative of Colorado.
"I will tell Mr. Loria that, so we put that back home," manager Ozzie Guillen said, referring to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes said Stanton "is going to hit 45, 50 home runs every year if he can play every day, no injuries."
Stanton preferred not to say after Friday's game how many home runs he might hit if he played half his games at Coors Field. Guillen didn't get specific about a figure before Saturday's game, other than to say, "You'd see the longest home run ever hit in this ballpark in one of those at-bats. There's no doubt. Because when this kid puts the barrel of the bat [on the ball], it's pretty dramatic."
The longest home run at Coors Field went an estimated 496 feet hit by Mike Piazza of the Dodgers on Sept. 26, 1997. The ball struck a billboard in left-center.
Bonifacio, Murphy back, Cousins, Velazquez out
DENVER -- After beating the Rockies, 6-5, on Saturday night, the Marlins made two moves to create room on the roster for outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and infielder Donnie Murphy, who are returning from the disabled list.
Infielder Gil Velazquez was designated for assignment, while outfielder Scott Cousins was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Cousins, who had been recalled from New Orleans on June 15, hit .167 (13-for-78) in 46 games with one homer and three RBIs.
The Marlins selected the contract of Velazquez from New Orleans on Thursday when they put infielder Nick Green (left thumb sprain) on the DL. Velazquez started the past two games at third base in place of Greg Dobbs, who is dealing with a left oblique strain.
On Saturday night, Velazquez, 32, got his first hit in the Majors since Sept. 28, 2011, with the Angels. He has now played in 15 Major League games -- nine with the Red Sox in 2008 and '09, and four with the Angels last season
Ozzie introduces himself at SABR luncheon
DENVER -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was a guest Saturday at a lunch meeting of Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), which was held at a restaurant close to Coors Field.
"I'm glad I did it," Guillen said. "It was fun. I think mostly they wanted to know who Ozzie is."
The manager said he spoke to the gathering about his background and his experience in the game for over an hour, and he took questions that were sometimes tough, he said. The answers were honest.
"I like when people in this age like to talk about baseball," Guillen said. "We let the people who love baseball get the chance to know us better, and I think that's great. Great opportunity for both. A lot of people out there, they don't know who I am."
Third baseman Greg Dobbs, a left-handed hitter, was not in the lineup for the second straight game Saturday, even though the Rockies started right-hander Tyler Chatwood. Dobbs has been dealing with a left oblique strain for over a week.
"Dobbs is very sore, and he was playing very, very sore." manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I'm going to give him a couple days just to make sure he's fine, because he really was pretty banged up."
The Marlins are scheduled to face left-handed starters the next two days, the Rockies' Drew Pomeranz on Sunday and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Joe Saunders on Monday, so Dobbs might be out of the lineup until Tuesday.
The Marlins have homered in four straight games, their longest streak since they homered in a season-high nine straight from June 30-July 8. Not surprisingly, most of those home runs were hit on the road. In the current streak, the Marlins homered once at home and in the first three games of this series. Their season-high streak began with two home games followed by four games at Milwaukee and three at St. Louis.
Carlos Zambrano pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings Friday in his seventh relief appearance of the season dating back to July 30. He is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in those seven outings, and has pitched 10 innings. But after 302 Major League starts, including 20 this year, Zambrano hasn't embraced the role of a reliever capable of pitching multiple innings.
"I'm not comfortable, but I have to do my job," he said. "I don't want to be in the bullpen, but I have to do my job still."
Zambrano has been given no indication when or if he'll again start, but he does take satisfaction in an effort like Friday when he relieved starter Wade LeBlanc and the Marlins won, 6-5.
"Anytime I go in and do a good job and help this team, I'm happy for that," the veteran righty said.
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.