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Marlins get what was needed

Eddie Altamonte

Dec 31, 2005
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Posted on Mon, Apr. 23, 2007
Florida gets what it needs
Wes Obermueller was desperate for a victory. He hadn't posted a win in the majors in nearly two years. The Marlins were desperate for a starter to chomp up enough innings to give their tired bullpen a rest.
Everybody was happy after Obermueller and the Marlins prevailed in a 12-6 win Sunday over the Nationals.

''It was another dream come true,'' said Obermueller, who hadn't won in the majors since defeating the Nationals early in 2005.

Though Obermueller was impressive while making his first start in the majors since he was with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005, he received ample run support thanks to upper-deck home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla, who had six RBI. Uggla also smacked a three-run homer and added an RBI single.

And that was enough for Obermueller, the 30-year-old emergency starter who was called up from Triple A on Saturday to take Sergio Mitre's spot in the rotation. He limited the Nationals to one hit in the initial six innings before giving way in the seventh.

But that was a welcome effort for manager Fredi Gonzalez and the Marlins, who have had only one other starter -- Dontrelle Willis -- make it into the seventh this season. As a result, Kevin Gregg pitched the final three innings for the save, and the rest of the relief corps received a much-needed day off.

''We really needed that,'' Gonzalez said of Obermueller's outing of six-plus innings.

Did they ever. The Marlins bullpen was getting by on fumes with one starter after another failing to go deep into their outings. And with three starters on the disabled list, it seemed unlikely Obermueller would be the one to change the pattern.

Obermueller brought a career record of 9-19 into Sunday. But two of those victories occurred at the expense of the Nationals or Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington.


For that matter, Obermueller's previous major-league win, which was against the Nationals on May 17, 2005, was even more impressive than Sunday's performance. The University of Iowa graduate had a perfect game going into the seventh before giving up a couple of hits.

But that was the pitcher's last taste of success in the majors.

The Braves obtained him from the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2005 season in the Dan Kolb deal, and Obermueller was prepared to start the '06 season with the Braves' Triple A club in Richmond, Va.

He made a couple of starts for Richmond when the Orix Buffaloes of Japan's Pacific Baseball League contacted the Braves about the pitcher. Dayton Moore, who was with the Braves at the time and is now the Kansas City Royals' general manager, approached Obermueller and asked him if he would be interested in a move to Japan.

'He said, `We won't stand in the way if financially it's right for you,' '' Obermueller recalled. ``So I gave an offer to Japan that I thought they'd turn down, and they bit on it. I had to do it financially for my family.''

But for Obermueller, the Japanese experience didn't work out. He struggled, going 1-6 with a 5.31 ERA before being removed from the rotation.

''I know people have liked it over there and taken advantage of it,'' he said. ``A lot of guys have good experiences over there. Mine wasn't. They throw a lot of pressure on you as far as not performing. They wanted me to change my mechanics. They wanted me to throw a curveball more. They critique you real hard. You're so overcritiqued that you feel that you're not good anymore. That gets in your head.''

The Marlins gave Obermueller a second shot in the majors, signing him during the offseason. When Mitre became the third Marlins starter to land on the DL with an injury, Obermueller was summoned to fill the void.


He got off to a shaky start against the Nationals on Sunday by walking their first two hitters. But the Nationals managed to put just three more runners on base before they finally got to Obermueller in the seventh with three consecutive hits, the first of which was a routine pop that shortstop Hanley Ramirez lost in the sun and allowed to drop near his feet.

At that point, though, it didn't much matter.

The Marlins were up 10-0 thanks in large part to Cabrera and Uggla. Cabrera launched a Williams pitch into about the fourth row of the upper deck in left. Uggla's ball carried a little farther to the right.

With an off day scheduled Thursday, it's uncertain if Obermueller will get another chance to start.

''The thing with me in the past is trying to find the consistency to get over the hump,'' he said. ``I believe I can do it. I know I can do it.''


Mar 7, 2006
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heck, give him another start in place of Olsen....maybe that'd be a wake-up call for Scotty-O...


Aug 2, 2004
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We've definatly gotta give him another start while he's here.

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