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Cabs and Lee Carrying the Marlins


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Cabrera, Lee carrying the load


By Juan C. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Posted September 22 2003


ATLANTA ? It is never a good thing when a team has been blanked

so many times even the manager loses count.


"Twice we've been shut out on this road trip," said Jack McKeon,

before being told Sunday's 8-0 loss to the Braves was in fact the

third time in six games the Marlins failed to score. "Three times?

That's right. I only count the blowouts."


Greg Maddux and

four other pitchers

combined on the

latest one. In and of

themselves, the

shutouts aren't the

most disturbing part

of the Marlins' recent

offensive efforts.


Miguel Cabrera: 15

for his past 33

(.455). Derrek Lee:

15 for his past 46

(.326). The rest of

the Marlins' starting

position players: a

combined 24 for 152



Over the Marlins'

past nine games, Lee and Cabrera have accounted for 40 percent of

the team's 35 RBI. Subtract Brad Penny's three-run double

Saturday, and the Marlins' six other starting position players are

averaging a combined 1.5 RBI per game since Sept. 12.


"We can't expect Cabrera to do it every night," McKeon said.

"Someone else is going to have to pick up the slack. ... [Juan Pierre

and Luis Castillo]have been the table setters, but even when they

were getting on we weren't getting them in."


Added Pierre, who with Castillo is a combined 3 for 35 (.086): "It's

self-explanatory. We're just not doing the job. ... We're not moving

the ball at all, especially at the top of the order. If we do that, our

pitchers have been decent, we should be able to score more runs."




Should the Marlins win the wild card, left-hander Michael Tejera can

take credit for recording one of the season's most pivotal outs. His

team having squandered a four-run lead, Tejera entered Saturday's

game with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th.


The Braves pinch hit Rafael Furcal, a switch-hitting shortstop who is

batting 57 points lower from the right side.


"I knew they didn't have many players left," McKeon said. "We were

hoping they would bring Furcal in because we could bring the infield

in and thought we could get him to hit the ball on the ground.

That's what happened. ... Like I told him, `You have to throw the

ball over. If they get a base hit and we get beat, we get beat, but

let's not beat ourselves.'"


Furcal hit a sharp grounder to Alex Gonzalez, who got the force out

at home, and the Marlins went on to win 6-5 in 11.


"It was a difficult situation with the bases loaded," Tejera said. "I

fell behind in the count [2-0] and was looking for a pitch to get a

grounder. Thank God it came out in my favor, and I got the out."


Furcal, who drew a bases-loaded walk off Tejera in Sunday's game,

was the only batter Tejera faced Saturday. Though he's the lone

lefty in the Marlins' bullpen, Tejera has pitched 32/3 innings over six

outings this month. He may become of greater importance this

week, when the Marlins host the Phillies for the first of three



Tejera may need to face left-handed hitters Bobby Abreu and Jim

Thome in the middle innings of tight games.


He had the opportunity last week at Veterans Stadium, getting

Abreu on a deep fly to center. Thome followed with a two-run



"I've been concentrating more on having better results against

lefties," Tejera said. "Thome hit a pitch I left over the plate, but

he's a guy with [43] homers, and he can hit them off me just like

anyone else. I made a mistake with him and he hit it out, but I don't

think that means anything.


"I'm there for whatever moment [they need me]. Lately, they

haven't used me as much, but those are decisions they make. When

they do make the decision to use me, I'll be ready to do the job."



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