The 2013 Miami Marlins season would be funny if it was a comedy with bats and balls, but, really, it’s just sad. Here at Headline Miami we’ll cover the Miami Marlins with a weekly beat called Marlins’ Monday, where the highlights and (more likely) low-lights will be dissected. While this might not be the worst team money can buy (it’s close), and Jeffery Loria might not be a former exotic dancer turned baseball owner (it could be true…), this year of Miami Marlins baseball might have the same script as “Major League” (1989).
Now, when Ricky Vaughn, Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano and Jobu realized Rachel Phelps’ nefarious intentions, they started to win in spite of her. Cleveland fans flocked to the park in droves to keep their team from moving. The Marlins won’t do much winning, and the fans won’t do much flocking. The irony here is Phelps wanted to move the Indians to the warmer climate of Miami.
At this point, I don’t know there’d be very many people who’d bat an eye at the Marlins leaving Miami, considering most of the better/beloved players end up leaving within a few years anyway.
This season started just about as one would have expected, as a dumpster fire. Following a off-season upheaval that rankled the ire of many a Marlins fan and Miamians in general, the team is estimated to spend about $45 million in payroll, or, $73 million LESS than last year. Yes, one short year after the jester masquerading as a baseball owner promised a competitive payroll if the city gave them a stadium. The swindler conned a stadium out of Miami after refusing to be open with the finances.
While many of the young prospects linked to this misbegotten franchise are promising, there isn’t a sane soul in the baseball community that believes those players will be allowed to flourish and become championship contenders in that horrific Marlins uniform. When the team touts major off-season acquisitions 37-year-old Placido Polanco and 35-year-old Juan Pierre as great moves, it’s hard to think newly christened manager Mike Redmond has a shot at a second year as skipper.
I think my Marlins rant has hijacked this post for long enough. Now down to the first week of baseball. (And I do mean “down”).
It took the Miami Marlins 19 innings to score their first run of the season. In Washington to face the Nationals to start the year, the Marlins were shut out in their first two contests. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was only the 13th time since 1900 that a team (Washington) opened the season with consecutive shut outs.
Game 1: Miami 0 Washington 2 Stephen Strausburg pitched seven dominant innings, including retiring 19 straight Marlins at one point .
Game 2: Miami 0 Washington 3 The pitching wasn’t bad, but native Miamian Gio Gonzalez stymied the Marlins, who managed only seven hits over the first 18 innings of the season.
Game 3: Miami 1 Washington 6 At last, a run! Justin Ruggiano’s homerun in the second inning stood as the first run of the season, and the only run of the three game series in Washington.
Game 4: Miami 7 New York 5 Miracle of miracles! The Marlins won! Mike Redmond notched his first career win as a major league skipper, as minor league call-up Alex Sanabia was the winning pitch. It was Sanabia’s first win in the majors since 2010. Jeffery Loria and the reviled David Samson celebrated with Mike Redmond with some champagne; a odd move on Loria’s part–you know, spending money.
Game 5: Miami 3 New York 7 It was John Buck’s revenge on this day. Traded to Toronto as part of the mega-deal this off-season, Buck was subsequently flipped to the Mets by the Blue Jays as part of their trade from R.A. Dickey. Buck throttled his old franchise, knocking in four runs.
Game 6: Miami 3 New York 4 Steve Cischek blew 20-year-old phenom Jose Fernandez’s major league debut by giving up a two-run single to the corpse of Marlon Byrd. Savvy vet Juan Pierre’s miscue on the play before allowed for the winning run to advance to second base. So much for the idea that the vet would help the team win.
Overall, 1-5 and last place in the division. Miami is one of four teams with only one win, and were the last team in the league to notch their first. Journeyman vet Greg Dobbs is leading the team with a .353 batting average, followed by some guy named Donovan Solano (2B) with a .333 batting average. Grumpy Giancarlo Stanton has struggled to start, hitting just .182, with a .308 on-base percentage. Stanton, known for his power, has yet to homer and has only two extra-base hits.
In the pitching department, closer Steve Cishek has struggled mightily to start, blowing his first save opportunity and surrendering an elephantine 15.43 earned run average. In what was surely a wise roster decision, the only lefty in the bullpen, Mike Dunn, has already appeared in four games and pitched in 3.1 innings.
The most frustrating aspect to this season, beyond the obvious bit about the ownership, is there seems to be a lack of direction. At least the Houston Astros have made no qualms about their rebuilding process. Houston, which has the lowest payroll in the league, is focused on developing young talent and building their farm system, a la the Tampa Bay Rays.
Miami? Well, they bring in aged veterans and push their major league-ready youngsters to the minors, in a move that can only be described as one to keep those players’ Major League service times from starting so that they don’t need to pay them yet. But of course, when injuries strike, as they already have, the team finds itself in a directionless middle ground, where some of the prospects are called up, while others are inexplicably kept down.
- Jose Fernandez The 20-year-old phenom was caught off-guard recently when he received his call up all the way from Class A ball, but the righty didn’t disappoint in his first start in the Show. Fernandez threw 5.0 innings and struck out eight, while only surrendering three hits and one earned run. The future is bright for the Cuba defector, so I’m sure he’ll be traded soon enough.
- Christian Yelich This 21-year-old outfield prospect should be manning the outfield for the Fish. Instead, the team has 35-year-old Juan Pierre as their everyday left fielder. Makes perfect sense.
- Jake Marisnick Another highly touted young outfield prospect banished to the minors, ostensibly for more “seasoning”, when everyone really knows that ownership doesn’t want his Major League service clock to start yet.
- Justin Nicolino A 21-year-old lefty that should be toeing the rubber for the Fish will sling at some minor league hitters for the time being. Maybe he’ll be called up when Ricky Nolasco is traded.
- Andrew Heaney Another young lefty (22) that should be on the fast track to the Majors will have to wait for sometime more, being kept from the Show by the likes of Jon Rauch, John Maine, and Chad Qualls. That’s right, Chad bleeping Qualls.
The front office expects more than 30,000 for the Marlins’ home opener on Monday night. They must be giving those tickets away. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are quite a few free tickets distributed this season, as the team will horde all profits from parking and concessions. This week Miami welcomes in the Atlanta Braves (5-1) and major off-season pickup Justin Upton, who’s launched five homeruns already, or, three more than the entire Marlins’ team in six games. Later in the week the Philadelphia Phillies come to town. At the moment, they’re sub-.500 (2-4), but they haven’t played the Marlins yet.
Prediction for this week? They miss the Braves’ Tim Hudson, so they might be able to scratch out one win in that series, and they’ll likely manage the same against the Phightin’ Phils. 2-4 this week, and still the cellar of the National League East.
- Fans angry as Marlins begin 2nd year in ballpark (timesleader.com)
- Jose Fernandez pitches gem in debut but Miami Marlins lose to New York Mets (miamiherald.com)
- Mets Walk Off Against Cishek (jscline.wordpress.com)
- 2013 MLB Team Preview: Miami Marlins (sidelinemob.com)