Here’s the latest edition of my baseball beat for HeadlineMiami.com.
This week’s edition: The Grass Might Be Greener, but the Team Still Sucks.
The Miami Marlins entered their second week of the season with nowhere to go but up. As it turns out, they didn’t move at all. Entering the week tied with the worst record in Major League Baseball at 1-5, they remained on pace to give the 1998 108-loss Marlins a run for their dismal mark with another one win week. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Miami Heat finish with more wins in their 2013 campaign than the Miami Marlins do. By scratching out the one win, though, the 2013 Marlins ensured the dubious honor of worst start in franchise history remained with the ’98 club, as that steaming pile went 1-11 to begin their season.
That’s not to say this year’s club didn’t try to rewrite the futility books, and their lack of offense may or may not have given reserve outfielder Austin Kearns heart palpitations. One week after scoring 14 runs, the Miami Marlins crossed the plate a mere six times this week.
One of the runs that did cross the plate this week came as a result of utility outfielder Chris Coghlan‘s walk-off single to beat the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday. Coghlan’s little squib off his bat mystified Chase Utley, allowing 370-year-old Placido Polanco to score. Word is the new, greener grass didn’t slow the ball at all, allowing it to eat up the All-Star second baseman. While the grass in Marlins Park is in better shape, no one would confuse the team to be in better condition.
The Second Week
Game 7: Miami 0 Atlanta 2 The home opener for the Miami Marlins supposedly drew 34,439 fans. I have a hard time believing that. No matter what was announced, those poor souls that did attend got to see Paul Maholm shut down the
Dumpster Fire Fish, to the tune of two hits.
Game 8: Miami 2 Atlanta 3 Wade LeBlanc continued his nice pitching for the Marlins early on, giving up just two earned runs over six innings pitched, and C Rob Brantly and 3B Placido Polanco drove in the first runs of the homestand, but the Marlins still fell to the far more talented Braves.
Game 9: Miami 0 Atlanta 8 The Braves finished the sweep of the Marlins, and jumped on starter Alex Sanabia to do it. Sanabia gave up six earned runs in the fifth inning, and the quiet Marlins’ bats didn’t put up any resistance.
Game 10: Miami 1 Philadelphia 3 News went from bad to worse for Marlins manager Mike Redmond regarding his lineup. Giancarlo Stanton sat out with a sore left shoulder, and while the Fish were able to force extra innings, reliever Jon Rauch gave up a game-winning RBI triple to Chase Utley. It was the start of a bad weekend for Rauch.
Game 11: Miami 2 Philadelphia 1 Yay! Walk-off! Former rookie of the year Chris Coghlan was credited with just his second hit of the season when his infield single scored Placido Polanco from third. The team claims 20,037 people were there to see it. Rookie right-hander Jose Fernandez and his curveball (nicknamed “The Defector”) turned in another impressive performance, giving up just two hits and striking out five in six innings of work.
Game 12: Miami 1 Philadelphia 2 Back to normal. With the bats silent again, reliever Jon Rauch gave up the game-winning run when pinch-hitter Laynce Nix homered in the ninth inning. C Rob Brantly showed his inexperience, getting doubled off second base after Adeiny Hechavarria’s fly ball to center field was caught in the seventh inning. Roy Halladay won for the 200th time in his career. Attendance was listed at 21,412. The team may or may not be rounding up stragglers in Little Havana to pass through the turnstiles.
Overall, another shitty week, despite the greener grass and impressive showing by Jose Fernandez. Fernandez’s performance might not have been the only thing cheapskate owner Jeffery Loria smiled about, as former Miami Marlin and now Toronto Blue Jay shortstop Jose Reyes injured his ankle. The injury is expected to keep Reyes out of the lineup for about three months.
With the Atlanta Braves recently in town, former Marlin Dan Uggla was asked by the Miami Herald about his thoughts on how the Miami ownership handled the recent salary purge. Here’s what he said:
I can understand the [fan] anger. I’d be extremely angry if I had been one of the free agents that signed here. It will be hard to sign free agents now.
Uggla had the following to say about Giancarlo Stanton:
He’s one of those special players, but to be special, you have to surround him with legitimate guys.”
Wait, Danny, are you saying Greg Dobbs and Placido Domingo are not legit baseball players? For shame.
Speaking of Giancarlo Grumpy-Pants, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the following via Twitter:
The Rangers are doing early reconnaissance and prep work on what it would take to land Giancarlo Stanton down the road.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 14, 2013
According to Peter Gammon’s Twitter, though, the Marlins are not shopping Stanton. Yet.
Team after team–from Boston to Mets to Rangers and on and on–have checked in with Miami on Stanton, with “not interested” response from Ms
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) April 14, 2013
Former Marlin turned Blue Jay turned New York Met catcher, John Buck, leads the Majors with 19 RBI. That’s right, 19 RBI, or, one fewer Run-Batted-In in 11 games and 41 at-bats than the entire Miami Marlins team has in 12 games and 378 at-bats. Let that sink for a moment.
As a team, the Miami Marlins are 29th in the Majors in Batting, with a whopping .204 average (only the Pittsburgh Pirates are worse at .203). Here are some other numbers:
#28 in On-Base Percentage (.277)
#30 in Slugging (.262) & On-Base Plus Slugging (.539)
#30 in Runs Scored (20); It should be noted that the #29 team in the league in Runs Scored is Tampa Bay, but they’ve scored 33 runs, or, almost twice as many as the Fish.
Pitching hasn’t been soooo bad, as the team is #10 in ERA and #22 in both AVG Against and WHIP. The Marlins, though, are the only team in the league without a Save. Rookie Jose Fernandez has been the best of the bunch, posting a 0.82 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 13 Ks over 11 innings pitched. Kevin Slowey, who the Marlins absolutely refuse to score runs for, comes in with a respectable 2.04 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 11 Ks over 17.2 innings pitched.
Utility infielder Chris Valaika leads the team with a .400 average (four for 10), but the only regular hitting over .300 is the aforementioned, balloon-headed journeyman Placido Polanco (.333). Giancarlo Stanton isn’t helping his trade market with a minuscule .167 average ( but his OBP is .342). Walk-off hero Chris Coghlan is hitting a crappy .105.
Miami finishes its opening homestand by welcoming in the Washington Nationals, who swept them in Washington to start this Season of Woe. Luckily for the Marlin bats, neither Stephen Strasburg nor Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for the Nationals. However, Jordan Zimmerman has been great so far, posting a 2.08 ERA. Once the Nationals are done with the Marlins, it will be the Cincinnati Reds’ turn at them. Miami flies to Cincinnati for a four-game set starting on April 18th.
Prediction? I can’t see the Marlin bats scratch out more than two wins this week, especially if Stanton isn’t even in the lineup. With as anemic as this offense has been so far, to expect them to score three or four runs in a game without their only true source of power seems to be a stretch. I see a 2-5 run this week.
- The Marlins Seriously Make Stupid Choices (mlbreports.com)
- Much Like Team, Marlins TV Ratings Hit Rock Bottom (miami.cbslocal.com)
- 2013 Miami Marlins summed up in one perfectly designed vanity license plate (businessinsider.com)
- Marlins Struggle To Fill Seats For Home Opener (miami.cbslocal.com)
- 4 Prospects at Spring Training the Miami Marlins Can Build Around (janetony796.wordpress.com)
- Miami Marlins Monday (dlfwriting.com)
- Phillies Reportedly Pushing for Giancarlo Stanton (fightinforphilly.com)
- Miami Marlins Heat transfer vinyl – Roy Halladay earns 200th career win as Phillies edge Marlins (jamebro742.wordpress.com)