Week in Review

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tall, Dark & Mormon scattered 5 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings while striking out 5 on Saturday in New York.

Overview: The Marlins took 2 of 3 from the Phillies then dropped 2 of 3 in New York, for a quick 3-3 road trip.
Positives: A series win in Philadelphia is always good, and picking up a win against longtime nemesis Jamie Moyer is icing on the cake. Sean West has gotten off to a promising start, going 7 innings while giving up only one run in Friday's loss. The Fish also got quality starts out of Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, and Andrew Miller this week.
Negatives: Hanley Ramirez left Tuesday's game with a pulled groin, and did not return to the starting lineup until Saturday. It could have been worse, but any injury to Hanley makes me nervous. The Marlins outscored the Mets 10-5, but only won one game over the weekend.
Highlight of the Week: Jeremy Hermida was a triple short of the cycle on Saturday, notching a double, a home run, and 4 RBI.

Line of the Week: There were some good performances this week, but I thought I would highlight Dan Uggla's career numbers against Phillies' RHP Bret Myers:

38 36 14 2 1 5 14 2 9 .389 .421 .917 1.338

Dan went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run jack against Myers on Wednesday.
Looking Ahead: The Fish will host consecutive four-game series against Milwaukee and San Francisco.

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II


Introducing Lowell

Saturday, May 30, 2009

When I first saw Chris Coghlan's team headshot on an mlb.com gamecast, I had a feeling he looked like someone I had seen before...

Of course, Coghlan is a rather nondescript-looking guy, so it took me awhile to figure this out, but he has a pretty decent resemblance to the actor Thomas Haden Church, who played Lowell the mechanic on Wings.

Let's take a look at the two side-by-side:

Not a bad resemblance, I say. So from this day forward, I'll be referring to Chris as Lowell. Now if only we could find a Marlin who looks like Paul Giamatti...

Image 1 via BP, Image 2 via Porter's Prospect Report, Image 3 via Denver Post


This is getting old

Friday, May 29, 2009

In the best of all possible worlds, there would be no need for an anti-Bonifacio bandwagon, because he would not be hitting leadoff. But instead, let's quote Joe Frisaro:

Coghlan now has 12 BBs on season. Bonifacio 12 walks. Difference? Coghlan 60 ABs, Boni 204
Also, what a waste of a great performance from future former Marlin Sean West.

UPDATE: Fredi Gonzalez is batting Coghlan leadoff this afternoon. Unfortunately, he moved B-Face into the 2-hole. Where he promptly doubled after Coghlan drew a 10-pitch (!) walk. The universe rarely makes sense, and today is no exception...


Is there a ghost in my house?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Milwaukee news outlet informs us today that the historic Pfister Hotel, where many baseball teams stay while playing the Brewers, is allegedly haunted. And of course there are juicy details aplenty:
A player for the Dodgers has been known to sleep with a baseball bat for protection after hearing odd noises. And two pairs of Florida Marlins players reportedly demand to share a room when they're in Milwaukee because they're afraid of ghosts.
This leaves an important question unanswered, though: which Marlins are making this demand? My guesses:
  • Dan Uggla: Ghost interference would explain his errors in last year's All Star Game.
  • Matt Lindstrom: Ditto last night's Alfonseca save (What, you haven't heard of the ghost of Grover Cleveland Alexander? Probably not, since it likely doesn't exist...)
  • Renyel Pinto: Don't let the scowl fool you, he is very afraid.
  • Ronny Paulino: Just a wild guess.
We've asked Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro to get to the bottom of it. Don't let us down, Joe.

H/t: Deadspin, image via i-love-cartoons.com


It's Like He Realizes the Objective is to Get Outs

How about that? A pitcher who gets outs and doesn't issue many walks, all the while inducing groundball outs and a few double plays...



HLD&S is vindicated for now. It's only one start, though, so let's not anoint Burke Badenhop just yet. Either way, it is always nice to get a win off of the wife-beater.

As for Leo Nunez and Matt Lindstrom... well, I could do without the Alfonseca hold and save, guys...

AP Photo/Tom Mihalek


This Week in Schadenfreude

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carlos Zambrano is the gift that keeps on giving...

Image via Deadspin.


Quote of the Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ok, guys. We've won two games in a row. If we win tonight, its called a winning streak. It has happened before.
-Lou Brown, Major League 2


I think I just threw up in my mouth a little...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Surely there has to be a better way for Major League Baseball to honor veterans than this:
For more details, see Uni Watch.

UPDATE: As expected, the hats looks terrible against the Marlins' teal and black color scheme. They remind me of the quarterback practice jersey...


Week in Review

Overview: It was an eventful week with many rain delays and an epic doubleheader on Wednesday that went 23 total innings and concluded at 1:48 AM. The Marlins' slide has gotten worse though, as they went just 2-5 this week, with a couple of those losses in heartbreaking fashion.
Positives: I tried outlining some positives in a recent post, but it's tough. There are some good individual performances here and there but for the most part everyone is struggling.
Negatives: Ricky Nolasco's struggles have continued and he has been sent down to AAA to work things out. The team has also made a habit of blowing early leads. On the day of the doubleheader alone the Marlins blew leads of 3-0, 4-0, and 7-4.
Highlight of the Week: Ross Gload delivered the team's third walk off victory of the year with a game-winning single through the (very underused in my opinion) five-man infield in Sunday's finale against the Rays.
Line of the Week: The club achieved a rare dubious distinction in Saturday's game. It was the first time in eleven years a team walked nine batters, hit a batter, committed a balk, made three errors, and allowed ten runs in a game. (H/T Joe Frisaro)
Looking Ahead: Back on the road, the Fish will play three in Philadelphia starting tonight and then a weekend series in New York.


MDH Off-Topic: Stop Invoking the NFL

Friday, May 22, 2009

Perhaps you have not noticed, but baseball tends to have an inferiority complex vis-a-vis the NFL (Okay, there's no way you haven't noticed that, I'm sorry for suggesting otherwise). The source of this is quite clear: Major League Baseball, once America's Pastime, makes less money and generates less interest (but more controversy), than the NFL (or "King Sport," as Greg Cote puts it fondly). Because of this inferiority complex, it is not uncommon to see baseball scribes invoke the NFL when discussing any of MLB's biggest sources of criticism. This week, on the subject of scheduling inequities as a result of interleague play, ESPN's Jayson Stark writes,

Baseball isn't the only sport with schedule inequities. The NFL is loaded with them. Just a quick for-instance: The Jets and Patriots will play 14 games against common opponents (or each other) this year. But in the other two games (that's one-eighth of the schedule, remember), the Patriots draw the Ravens and Broncos, while the Jets get the Raiders and Bengals. Have you heard one complaint about that? From anybody? So how come baseball takes all the heat?
This is not the only subject in which the NFL gets invoked as a kind of smokescreen. Whenever the subject of competitiveness comes up, many writers gladly point out that MLB has seen a higher percentage of its teams make playoffs and win championships than the NFL. In January, Steve Caimano at Dugout Central wrote:
The NFL has more parity than MLB. Really? In the last ten years there have been eight different Super Bowl winners. There have also been eight different World Series winners. In the last ten years 15 different teams have played in the Super Bowl. There have also been 15 different teams in the World Series. In the last ten years 23 different teams have played in the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games. There have also been 23 different teams in the AL and NL League Championship Series. The NFL has made it a priority to sell parity and they’ve succeeded. They would have you believe that every team has a chance to win in their league. Tell that to the fans in Kansas City, Oakland and Detroit.
Then there is the subject of steroids, of course. The NFL has seen its share of steroids problems, and sportswriters are happy to let you know. Take Hat Guy, for instance (apropos of this, Jesus do I miss FJM...):
Barry Bonds couldn’t get a contract endorsing hemorrhoid cream, but guys who tested positive in the NFL, which Bonds never did in baseball, are valued pitchmen for Nike and video games.

Can you say hypocrisy?
I get it, the NFL isn't perfect. But isn't setting the NFL up as a straw man when discussing any of MLB's numerous shortcomings a bit overdone by now? I propose we retire this practice once and for all, and move on. Who's with me?


Reasons For Optimism

I would consider myself an optimist, but I won't lie. It is very hard to feel optimistic about the Florida Marlins these days. About a month ago, they finished off an 11-1 opening two weeks of the season and they were the talk of the league. Since then? Eight wins, twenty-two losses. Thirty games, spanning thirty-two days, and the club played .267% ball. Wow. Add on to that the misery of the two latest defeats, when the team had a great chance to secure a big pick-me-up, only to falter late, again. But, instead of piling on or waxing poetic about this miserable stretch, I will briefly note things that we should be optimistic about.

  • In Andrew Miller's two starts since returning from the disabled list, he's totaled 12 IP, 4 ER, 13 K's, and a 3.00 ERA. If he can keep it up, that will be a huge boost to the rotation. Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are pitching well and adding a third player who can deliver quality starts gives the team a much better chance to succeed. It also helps to have a good lefty to throw against the Mets and Phillies and their lineups filled with left handed and switch hitters.
  • Since Cameron Maybin was sent down to AAA, he has done well, hitting .357% in eight games played. Joe Frisaro explains he could be called back up as soon as today. Whether or not that happens, he should be back sooner rather than later, hopefully with renewed confidence. (Personal thought, when he comes back, he should be inserted into the leadoff spot. He will see better pitches and should ve focusing on getting on base. The eight spot can really ruin you mentally, although I do suggest throwing Bonifacio down there and seeing what that does.)
  • The law of averages suggests that guys like Dan Uggla will get hot. He is not a .200% hitter. Even in his worst season of 2007 he posted a .245%. Pretty soon he will get hot and start spraying the ball around and out of the yard. The average and production will climb.
Okay, that's about all I got. Bottom line, this team just needs to win. It needs to find a way. Winning this series against the Rays would be a good start.


This Week in Whatever the German Word for the Opposite of Schadenfreude Is...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dontrelle Willis, child of the Marlins Diaspora, pitched 6 and 1/3 shutout innings last night against the Texas Rangers, notching his first win as a Tiger and igniting hopes that he can return to his once-dominant form. Few former Marlins can match Dontrelle's status as a Miami folk hero (as Peter Gammons once called him), and here's hoping this is the first of many more quality starts from the D-Train.

Apropos of this, allow me to suggest an analogy:

Detroit:Marlins Diaspora::New York:Jewish Diaspora

Agreed? Agreed.

AP Photo/Duane Burleson


This Week in Schadenfreude

According to Newsday:

As if Monday night's mistake-filled 3-2 loss to the Dodgers wasn't bad enough, officials in upstate Sullivan County said yesterday that the Mets may be linked to the swine flu outbreak.

A resident of Liberty became ill last Wednesday, three days after attending a Mets game at Citi Field on Mother's Day, said Sullivan County manager David Fanslau. The unidentified victim became the county's first confirmed victim of the H1N1 virus Monday afternoon, he said.

Because the woman's trip to the game was her only known foray out of Sullivan County lately, Fanslau said, local officials suspect there may be a link. "Obviously, we don't know for a fact, but it's the first case we have in Sullivan County and we talked to her and the only travel she made was to New York City for the Mets game," Fanslau said.
The Marlins played a three-game set in New York at the end of April. Since then, they have gone 5-13. I think we've found our scapegoat, and for once it is not Emilio Bonifacio.

h/t: The Fightins via Brent


The Marlins Trade Pool

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

After a longer than anticipated delay, we have some picks and the Trade Pool Contest is a go. To refresh your memory, look here. I'll list everyone's picks and give a short thought on what I think. The quotes in italics are what each competitor had to say. My picks are at the bottom.

Dave (Marlins Die-Hards)

  1. Jeremy Hermida
  2. Dan Uggla
  3. Dan Meyer
  4. Cody Ross
  5. Kiko Calero
"Yeah, I feel like either Hermida or Uggla could be dealt if the team falls out of contention... so I'm going all in."

Dave has gone with all major leaguers and it appears to be geared more towards the sellers route. Those two bullpen arms are good choices, because everyone always needs bullpen help.

Craig (FishStripes)
  1. Graham Taylor
  2. Dan Uggla
  3. Jeremy Hermida
  4. Hayden Penn
  5. Jai Miller
"Wow, this is tough since it depends on whether the Marlins are in contention by the deadline or not."

Craig has a nice mix. Uggla and Hermida are good bets for if the team is selling, but he has rounded out his list with three prospects/projects that could be used as a chip to bring in a necessary Marlins piece if we are buyers.

Igor Mello (AAAYYYEEE)
  1. Jeremy Hermida
  2. Dan Uggla
  3. Mike Stanton
  4. Ryan Tucker
  5. Gaby Sanchez
Another mixed list but I like the gamble of putting Stanton on there. I also feel Gaby Sanchez is a good choice as you'll see later in my picks.

Adam Smoot (Bright Orange Seats)
  1. Hanley Ramirez
  2. Dan Uggla
  3. Ricky Nolasco
  4. Jorge Cantu
  5. Andrew Miller
Adam has gone the humor route, thankfully, because he is much funnier than us. Please visit his site and read his writeup, which actually has Tommy Hutton as #3.

Roberto Sanchez (from comments)
  1. Jeremy Hermida
  2. Andrew Miller
  3. Gaby Sanchez
  4. Emilio Bonifacio
  5. Cameron Maybin
Some interesting picks with Maybin and Bonifacio. I didn't even really consider them, but upon second thought, no one is ever safe in this organization.

Ted (Marlins Die-Hards)
  1. Dan Uggla
  2. Ryan Tucker
  3. Gaby Sanchez
  4. Kiko Calero
  5. Alfredo Amezaga
I'm going all in with Uggla, but he needs to pick it up to become more tradeable. Tucker and Sanchez I chose because they seem like good prospects we could give up if we are buyers at the deadline, which is looking less and less likely. Calero is a bullpen arm that will be a hot commodity. I chose Amezaga because we always hear how he is the most asked about player when the front office fields calls. So we'll see how this all works out.

Reminder: It's not too late to play. If you leave your picks in the comments, I'll update the post. Feel free to give it a go.

UPDATE: Some new entries...

el Tomas Verde (4th and Fail)
  1. Dan Uggla
  2. Jeremy Hermida
  3. Cody Ross
  4. Ricky Nolasco
  5. Burke Badenhop
"Dan Uggla is slowly being replaced by Coughlan."

[Dave- Like me, Tom thinks the Marlins will be sellers this year.]

Ohad (Fish@Bat)
  1. Dan Uggla
  2. Jeremy Hermida
  3. Dan Meyer
  4. Wes Helms
  5. Ross Gload
[Dave- I thought the Uggla/Hermida combination at the top was risky, but apparently not so much.]


Only one thing could halt the Marlins' recent slump, at least momentarily anyway: Rain.

These are the kind of perks you lose when you build a retractable roof stadium...


Week in Review

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Overview: The Marlins got swept in Milwaukee before dropping two of three to the Manny-less Dodgers. Apparently, that team meeting with Manny in Miami was all Juan Pierre needed to catch fire...
Positives: Andrew Miller has returned from the disabled list, hopefully giving the Marlins' rotation a boost. He managed to get the win on Saturday despite pitching only five innings while allowing four walks. Hanley Ramirez had a 13-game hit streak going, but saw it end today. Cody Ross broke up a no-hitter on Sunday with a double in the eighth inning, and followed it up with a grand slam in the ninth. Most weeks, this would not make the cut for the Week in Review. But this week kinda sucked.
Negatives: The Fish have fallen to fourth place in the NL East, right where most everyone expected them to be. The Marlins' starting rotation, which we had hoped would hold things together if the heavy hitters got into a slump, has fallen off the tracks completely. Anibal Sanchez is injured again (though he is back to throwing a baseball) and Ricky Nolasco's ERA is up to 7.78. Even Josh Johnson, the lone bright spot, could not get past the four-inning mark on Thursday. The only thing standing between the Marlins and a no-hitter at the hands of Clayton Kershaw was a jinx-worthy Deadspin post. The free pompom giveaway did not go as planned. Even a Brewers fan got in on the abusing-the-Marlins act.1
Highlight of the Week: Chris Coghlan hit his first big-league home run on Wednesday in Milwaukee. Congrats, Chris.
Line of the Week: Andrew Miller was not stellar by any means, but he managed to secure a victory on Saturday, which is more than we can say about any of the other starting pitchers this week.

5 4 2 2 4 4

Looking Ahead
: The Marlins complete a 10-game homestand with a four-game series against the Diamondbacks followed by a weekend set with the Rays.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter via espn.com

1 Though I am normally inclined to side with the fan in matters of trading home-run balls for memorabilia and/or tickets, Brewers fan Nick Yohanek did himself no favors by justifying his ransom of Chris Coghlan's first big-league home run ball by saying, "...some people choose to sell drugs to kids. Some people choose to abuse drugs, themselves. Some people choose to get all liquored up and drive their vehicles. Some people choose to be abusive to their wives and kids. Some people choose to rob, steal and cheat. Some people take the lives of others. Some people choose to snag baseballs at the ballpark." Yeah, Nick, it's okay to be an insufferable prick as long as the victim of your own dickishness is a professional athlete. Give me a fucking break. Also, since when did Brewers fans start acting like Mets fans? I think some self-policing is needed in the stands of Miller Park... [UPDATE: Brewers fans don't like the guy either, I had a feeling they didn't...]


I Totally Agree

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Actual text message I received during last night's game:

to quote earl weaver: the ump and his crew are here just to fuck us!
Nothing like a losing streak...

[Ted: Also of note, the Miami Herald says that this is the same umpiring crew that was responsible for Fredi Gonzalez' last ejection, June 8th in San Diego.]


Let's Panic, Shall We?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ricky Nolasco has an ERA of 7.78.

Josh Johnson could not get out of the 4th inning yesterday.

Ross Gload had a home run overturned by our evil instant-replay overlords.

Our leadoff hitter his batting .262 with a .302 OBP.

The Marlins are below .500 for the first time since April 3, 2008.

But fear not, for JuanPierreWood is coming to Land Shark Stadium.


We are legally required to discuss this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SI.com took advantage of a slow news week to unveil their lists of the five best and five worst owners in each of the four major team sports. As SI.com describes it, "The method was not scientific." They said some other stuff after that, but clearly the list is a group-compiled (the byline lists no author) compendium of conventional wisdom and sports neologisms. Torii Hunter made the following contribution, explaining the difference between "good" and "bad" owners:

Arte Moreno wants to win. When you got a guy like that, I want to be a part of that team.
The Banality of the Week Award goes to Torii Hunter.

But I digress. The real reason I am writing is because Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made the "bad" list and was ranked the fourth-worst owner in Major League Baseball.

Click to enlarge.

To call the piece poorly-written is an understatement. Loria's capsule begins, "Despite the best efforts of another crop of youngsters, Loria may be running a second franchise into the ground." An interesting choice of words for a club that is about to break ground on a new stadium.

After mentioning Loria's Montreal malfeasance (which is justifiably a major stain on both Loria and MLB), the piece continues, "He then took control of the Marlins and watched his exciting team shock the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and then became Miami fans' worst nightmare: the second coming of Wayne Huizenga." Like the opening sentence, this distorts more than it illuminates. Loria did break up the Marlins, but not after giving the team two years to return to the playoffs while the club ran at a deficit. If you want to blame Loria for the 2005 fire sale (which is completely justifiable), you must also at least mention the fact that despite fielding a competitive and compelling team, the legendarily apathetic South Florida fan base failed to show up to most Marlins games. If you were losing money subsidizing a baseball team few people cared about, what would you do?

I don't like defending Loria, but when SI.com publishes such dreck disguised as commentary, they leave me with no choice.

Also, who was dubbed the best owner in baseball by SI.com? John Henry, the same guy who bought the Marlins from Wayne Huizenga in 1999, then sold the team to Loria when the City of Miami would not build him a new stadium. When he didn't get what he wanted in Miami, he simply moved to Boston, with the grace of the MLB owners and Bud Selig. In other words, the best owner in baseball was Jeff Loria before Jeff Loria was Jeff Loria.


This Week in Schadenfreude

Via the irrepressible Jason Kottke:

Ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium are so high that if a New Yorker wants to watch a Mariners/Yankees game from the best seats, it would be a lot cheaper to fly to Seattle, stay in a nice hotel, eat fancy dinners, and see two games.

Option 1: Two tickets to Tuesday night, June 30, Mariners at Yanks, cost for just the tickets, $5,000.

Option 2: Two round-trip airline tickets to Seattle, Friday, Aug. 14, return Sunday the 16th, rental car for three days, two-night double occupancy stay in four-star hotel, two top tickets to both the Saturday and Sunday Yanks-Mariners games, two best-restaurant-in-town dinners for two. Total cost, $2,800. Plus-frequent flyer miles.


I approve.

H/t: Deadspin


Introducing John Koronka

There is a good chance that you have never heard of LHP John Koronka, who will be pitching for the Fish in Milwaukee tonight. The Marlins called him up to take Anibal Sanchez's spot in the rotation while he is on the disabled list. Here is everything you need to know about Koronka:

  • Like most Marlins starting pitchers, Koronka has spent time in the Chicago Cubs organization, logging 15 and 2/3 innings for the club in 2005.
  • Koronka hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2007, spending 2008 at Triple-A Colorado Springs (in the Rockies organization).
  • He has compiled a 3.00 ERA at Triple-A New Orleans so far this year, going 2-1 in four starts plus 6 relief appearances with a WHIP of 1.333 in 27 innings. He has struck out 24 while walking 11. In other words, he is the perfect journeyman pitcher to throw into the fire and eat up innings while better pitchers tend to injuries, which is to say he is underwhelming.
  • MLB.com informs us that on June 13, 2005, Koronka got shelled by the Marlins in Chicago, giving up six runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. The Marlins won that game 9-1.

Image via mlb.com


Off Day Items

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Marlins are off today, but there are a few things worth mentioning.

Cameron Maybin was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after yesterday's ballgame. I suppose it's the right move as he is struggling and should not be in the lineup now. He's also the kind of player that isn't suited for a reserve role. He needs to get at-bats and work things out, and now he can do that without being a drag on the everyday lineup. He got off to a slow start at Double-A last year before turning it around and having a great September at the major-league level. Hopefully history repeats itself and he can join the club in July or August and provide a similar impact.

Taking Maybin's spot on the roster is pitcher John Corona Koronka, who has been called up from New Orleans to make Tuesday's start. This move was a bit curious, as it seemed like the bullpen arms of Dan Meyer, Burke Badenhop, or Hayden Penn could have made this start without necessitating a roster move. But, the team will need a fifth starter soon and if Koronka was the guy for that, then this was the time to do it (based on his pitching schedule). The team might have also specifically wanted a lefty and did not want to jeopardize another prospect (Sean West) by throwing him into the fire too soon. In Koronka's last three starts in New Orleans he has gone 16 innings and allowed just 3 ER.

Andrew Miller made a rehab start last week at Single-A Jupiter. Miller went four innings, giving up one run on four hits with three Ks and one walk. He is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Jacksonville tonight, whereupon he could return to the rotation. The Fish will need Miller to put up some quality starts while Anibal Sanchez is on the DL.

When the Marlins return to Miami on Friday, they will officially open a 3-game series with the Dodgers at Land Shark Stadium. Naming rights to the former Dolphin Stadium were sold to Anhueser-Busch, who owns the beer. Land Shark is marketed as a part of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand, which means fans will likely hear more Buffett songs at the stadium (not necessarily a good thing). Also, Marlins fans will probably get a break from hearing tired jokes about the Marlins player-development model, as everyone else will probably make fun of the Jimmy Buffett connection (for good reason). Dave thinks Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (who also owns the stadium) should have named the stadium Hurricane Reef Stadium, since Hurricane Reef is a superior beer with South Florida roots.

It's the 13th anniversary of the Marlins first no-hitter, thrown by Al Leiter. On May 11th, 1996 he shut down the Rockies, striking out 6 while only walking 2 and hitting Ellis Burks with a pitch. Al also got two double plays from the defense. The Marlins won 11-0, helped by home runs from Charles Johnson and Terry Pendleton. Cheers to Al.

Image via BaseballReference.org


Week in Review

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Overview: The Marlins won the first game against Cincinnati but dropped the second contest and both games to the Braves. They bounced back and won the first two games in Colorado before dropping the final game today to finish a 3-4 week.
Positives: The Fish desperately needed a good series in Denver, which is usually a house of horrors, and they were able to grab the first two. The starting pitching trio of Nolasco-JJ-Volstad was extremely good as they each posted quality starts this weekend. The bullpen has also found a great run of form with 19 consecutive scoreless innings.
Negatives: The offense is still struggling to score runs as five of this week's seven games the club scored three runs or fewer. A number of hitters remain in slumps which prompted the call up of Chris Coghlan, in hopes of producing more runs.
Highlight of the week: The team achieved their second walkoff win of the season last Monday with the very obscure walkoff fielders choice with runner advancing home on an error.
Line of the week: Hanley Ramirez has gotten very hot lately. Here are his totals from this week.

14-26, .528% BA, 4 HR, 7 RBI

Looking ahead: The club plays three in Milwaukee midweek before returning home to face the Manny-free Dodgers on the weekend.


Marlins Bloggers Contest: The Trade Pool

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Idea

It's our fist ever contest here on Marlins Die-Hards and it's so good that we couldn't even come up with it. The fellows over at Rays Index created a Trade Pool (loosely related the The Dead Pool). I'm actually annoyed we Marlins fans didn't think of this first. It seems much better suited for us since we have been in this business longer and have had more fire sales. Anyway, we'll just play copycat and give them full credit for the idea.

All Marlins/South Florida sports bloggers are invited to participate. I'm emailing the sites that list a contact address, but those of you who don't have one (I'm looking at you, Fish Chunks), please leave a comment on this entry with your picks or your email address so we can get in contact.

The Rules

  • Each competitor will pick five Marlins (all players in organization are eligible, including minor-leaguers) who they feel will be traded before the July 31st deadline.
  • The competitor will rank those five players, one to five, in order of most likely to least likely to get traded.
  • Points will be awarded based on where the player is in each competitor's list. Number one selections will get five points, number twos get four and so on down to number five selections receiving one point.
  • Whoever has the most points wins.

Times are tough and the prize is minimal. But, David has said he will buy a six-pack for whichever blogger wins. I'll offer to split that cost or you can make it a 12-pack if you choose cheap beer and I'm in a good mood. [Dave: We'll just make it a 12-pack of your choice, or some other denomination if you prefer Belgian tripels.]

We'd also like to invite any readers to submit their lists and see if they can do better than us (hint: you probably will). We can't promise you the beer, but the best reader will win a special post written by yours truly about how awesome you are, which will include link-love to your blog or Twitter account or whatever you want really.

So there it is, please have at it. I've already spent a good 30 minutes debating which players are likely trade bait. Note to the blogger participants, I'd like to have the finalized lists on Monday so we can publish each of our picks. I welcome you to also do a write-up on your site if you'd like, which I'd link here as well. Best of luck.


Was that so hard?

The Marlins beat the Rockies 8-3 last night, but more importantly, Ricky Nolasco secured the first win for the starting rotation in 20 tries. Dude went 6 innings, giving up three runs while striking out five.

Also of note, Hanley is quietly going on a tear. He tater-totted for the fourth time in five games, over which he has gone 11 for 22. The only problem: all home runs have been of the solo variety. I blame B-Face. Bring on Chris Coghlan, and put Hermida towards the front of the lineup (his OBP is a quiet .402 this year).

Tall, Dark & Mormon takes the hill tonight. Will the good times continue?

AP Photo/David Zalubowski via ESPN.com



Friday, May 8, 2009

Joe Frisaro informs us that the Marlins have called up Chris Coghlan from Triple-A New Orleans. His natural position is second-base, but I doubt the Marlins are worried enough about Dan Uggla's start to bench him at this point. Ted loves Coghlan, and would not mind seeing him take the 3B job from B-Face, but Frisaro notes that Coghlan played left field on Thursday night, possibly giving the Fish an opportunity to sit Cameron Maybin and shuffle the outfield. I'm not so sure about that move, but as the Marlins reiterated to me when I faxed them my resume after Joe Girardi was fired, they are not interested in my insights.

At any rate, he had posted a .418 on-base percentage in New Orleans, so I think he deserves a shot in the everyday lineup.


Son of a Bitch

Not cool, LOLJocks, not cool.


Starting Pitching, Errors, and the Solo Homer Vol. V

Starting Pitching

Since Last 8 0 5 5.95 42 1/3 5.29 3
Season 29 6 11 4.93 162 1/3 5.60


Since Last 8 6 6
Season 29 19 14

Home Runs

Since Last 8 7 9 77.78%
Season 29 29 48 35.82%

Overall Assessment

The Marlins have now gone 19 games without a starting pitcher recording win and although there have been a couple blown saves and some poor run support, it's mainly the pitchers fault. The starters ERA for the past week was just a shade under 6.00. The defense also kicked the ball around a bit with the six errors leading to six unearned runs. The offense is slumping and in true fashion six of the seven home runs this week were solo shots. All of this adds up to a team that has lost 13 of it's last 17 and is fading fast. The key to a turnaround will have to be starting pitching. This series in Colorado we have our top three going and it's time they end this drought. This is easily the worst SPESH report to date.


Defining Baseball

Last month, Slate ran a reader contest asking for a definition of baseball in 150 words or less. They announced the winners today. I like to apply the Louis Armstrong definition of jazz ("Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know") - if only to repel anyone who would ask that question.


Oh the Possibilities...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yesterday, David detailed the early struggles of Emilio Bonifacio and Cameron Maybin. This morning he left a comment that linked a Joe Frisaro blog post about Chris Coghlan. I thought it might be good to expand on all the possibilites that the Marlins could do, if guys like Bonifacio and Maybin continue to struggle. For now, I will focus on Bonifacio and the 3B job.

David mentioned that Alfredo Amezaga could be a candidate. On first thought, he seems like a perfect replacement. He is very similar to Emilio and can hit leadoff. It would be a simple move that would seeminlgy require no additional moves in the batting order or in the field. But, like David and many others have said, Amezaga has never really shown to be a great everyday player. He has always been best used as a reserve and getting a couple starts a week.

Now to Chris Coghlan. I love this guy. I hadn't seen much of him until this spring training, but was always impressed with his numbers and always heard he's a pretty good defensive player. Problem is, he plays 2B and Dan Uggla is blocking him at the major league level. Frisaro reports he has played some 3B in the minors but if he were to come up, I'd still say it's a tough position change and you never know what kind of results you will get. He could slide into the leadoff spot if necessary, but since he is regarded as one of our better positional prospects, I'd guess they wouldn't throw him to the fire like that.

Another interesting scenario could be moving Jorge Cantu back to 3B. This would open up 1B where remember Gaby Sanchez was the favorite to start during Spring Training. He had a bad spring that included an injury, but he is doing very well in AAA and it might warrant him finally getting his opportunity. The downside to this move could be two-fold. One, the defense would suffer, as Cantu has been better at 1B and Sanchez isn't the greatest of defenders. Two, we would be replacing a leadoff hitter with a middle/bottom of the lineup guy and we'd have to juggle the lineup and perhaps use a nontraditional leadoff hitter (Hermida?).

Now to a complex scenario, bare with me. I've had a sneaking suspicion since the offseason that Dan Uggla will not be on the team in 2010 (translation: traded during this coming offseason, or before the trade deadline during the season). I could explain my reasoning, but I'll leave that for another day. If Uggla were to be traded, say for relief pitching help, his 2B spot could be filled simply by placing Chris Coghlan there. Or, if you like a crazy musical chairs infield, Bonifacio could move back to his natural position (2B) and then you could fill 3B in any of the options already talked about. It'd be very bold, but this organization has shown they don't mind doing the unorthodox, plus it would seem to fit into their philosophy of better defense and on-base percentage, less errors and strikeouts at the plate. Problem is though, Uggla has to be tradeable, and his sub .200% batting average makes him a difficult sell. He needs to get hot and boost his numbers before teams will be offering deals.

There are a lot of options. I do believe Beinfest when he says they are preaching patience, but one must wonder if the team is in real contention in June and July whether patience will be abandoned for a gamble on different young players. We saw first hand how great it can work in 2003.


I am Powerful

I'm a little late to mention this, but Jorge Cantu was named NL Player of the Week on Monday. Both he and Josh Johnson have had this award bestowed upon them this season. What else do the two have in common? Both have been honored with crappy Marlins Die-Hards Photoshops (Johnson, Cantu). You know what this means: I need to make a crappy Photoshop image for every player on the team. Leave your ideas in the comments.

While we're at it, here is This Week in Schadenfreude, courtesy of Jonah Keri:

In a nutshell: With the game on the line, Mets Manager Jerry Manuel decided he didn’t want Ramon Castro (a pretty good hitter and easily the Mets’ best option at the time given their multiple injuries) to bat. Instead, Manuel decided to go with Omir Santos, a lifelong bush leaguer with a career 651(!) minor league OPS. Santos had a few days earlier hit a grand slam, you see. Also, according to a few plugged-in writers in New York, Manuel hates Castro and wanted to undermine/humiliate him to the point where he’d demand to be traded or released. So whether the reason was ignoring years and years of blatantly obvious statistical evidence, fixating on a personal grudge at the expense of his team, or the BS excuse Manuel actually used (Santos has “a shorter swing” so he’d fare better against Marlins hard-throwing closer Matt Lindstrom), Manuel went to Santos in the big spot.

But that wasn’t even the end of it. To get Santos up to the plate, Manuel had to summon him…FROM THE BULLPEN. WHERE HE WAS IN FULL CATCHER’S GEAR, WARMING UP A PITCHER. The switch took roughly an hour and a half, or about as long as it would take the Mets to summon a fan from the top row of the upper deck, train him for a decade to learn how to hit big league pitching, sign him to a contract, then put him up at the plate. There was a 0% chance that Santos was going to come through in this situation. The Mets did the Marlins a gigantic favor. HUGE.

Go here to read Jonah's IM conversation with his blogger buddy Rob about the managing prowess of Jerry Manuel.

Image via UPI


The Honeymoon is Over

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

With a full month of play finished, I think it's time we took a look at the everyday lineup and identified a few of the weak links. Though Dan Uggla is off to a somewhat slow start, batting .202 and OPSing .696 (OPS+ 82), the two weakest spots in the order are Cameron Maybin and Emilio Bonifacio. Their lines so far this season:

Bonifacio 112
17 30 6 7 28 .268 .311 .330 .641 69
Maybin 77
9 16 3 7 29 .208 .282 .325 .607 59

Maybin's numbers are worse, but considering his spot in the order (usually eighth) and the fact that he is a franchise player, I am comfortable with keeping him in the everyday lineup a bit longer and letting him adjust to major league pitching (he had less than 100 career PAs heading into this season).

Bonifacio's situation is more interesting. As much as I would not like to let Ken Rosenthal win this argument, a .311 OBP is simply unacceptable in the leadoff spot. Combined with his 28 strikeouts, Bonifacio's production has been abysmal. Simply put, if he stays in the leadoff spot and continues at his current pace, Hanley Ramirez will not have enough RBI opportunities.

Joe Frisaro reported today that Larry Beinfest is preaching patience with Maybin and Bonifacio:
In the eyes of the organization, both have terrific upside, and that's why the team is patient.

"With the young guys, they all have different time tables," Beinfest said. "It's all about making the adjustments, learning the pitchers, those types of things. It happens differently for different guys.

"It's hard to say this guy has this many at-bats, and we know for sure about him. It's not just that. You have to look at the mental aspect of the player. Is he up or down? Is he handling it? Is he making the adjustments."

Because both are handling the adversity, the team is sticking with them.

"Both of them. They're confident in their abilities, and they're working through," Beinfest said.

I have no problem with Beinfest giving a vote of confidence to the media (you certainly don't want him trashing his own players and giving them inferiority complexes). However, at some point, if either of these two does not improve their offensive production, the team must consider benching one or both of them. And they certainly have a lot of options on the table.

Alfredo Amezega is not an everyday player by any stretch, but he can play centerfield and third base, which allows him the opportunity to replace either Bonifacio or Maybin in the lineup. However, I think Maybin's numbers will pick up relatively soon as he adjusts to Major League pitching. With Bonifacio, the Marlins could move Jorge Cantu back to third base and promote either Gaby Sanchez or Logan Morrison to play first base. This has a couple of drawbacks: Cantu's defense is very suspect at third base, and if Morrison and Sanchez were sent to the minors after spring training, then it is clear the team does not think either are prepared to start yet. We shall see if the team's assessment of these two changes if Bonifacio continues to struggle.


Public Service Announcement

Image via Sun Sentinal


Guest Column

Monday, May 4, 2009

Note: The Marlins open a two-game series with the Reds today, and to make Reds manager Dusty Baker feel comfortable, we are letting Corey Patterson lead off the week with a guest post today.

The Evolution of the Leadoff Hitter
Corey Patterson

In the early days of baseball it was not uncommon for teams to employ their fastest player in the leadoff position. The reasoning behind this tactic was simple; by batting the fastest player leadoff, a team was able to put the person most likely to score on base ahead of its best hitters. Such a philosophy was necessarily complicated by the recent advent of Sabermetric analysis. Instead of merely getting on base and stealing bases, leadoff hitters are now asked to take lots of pitches in order to give their teammates a long look at the opposing pitcher and increase the pitcher's pitch count.

Of equal significance to this new emphasis on pitch counts is a concommittant de-emphasis on stolen bases. Sabermetric proponents, including Bill James, have argued that the risk of being caught stealing is not wort

Note: Corey Patterson just strained a pectoral muscle. He will not be able to complete this column. We have replaced him with a video of a Peanuts cartoon in Portuguese.

Images via Walkoff Walk and Wayward Oriole


Week in Review

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Overview: A three-game winning streak was sandwiched between a loss in New York and losing the final three to the Cubs to make it a 3-4 road trip. The Marlins now stand at 14-11 on the season.
Positives: The Fish found a way to win a couple tight ballgames by coming back in the 8th inning on getaway day in New York and the opener in Chicago. Jorge Cantu also continued his hot streak against the Mets before cooling down against the Cubs
Negatives: The team's starting pitchers have now gone a franchise record 16 games without recording a win. Too often we are behind very early in games and the hole only gets deeper. That stat is somewhat overshadowing the Marlins deficiencies at the plate though. In five out of seven games this week, the team scored four or fewer runs in nine innings.
Line of the week: Jorge Cantu, Tuesday night in New York

3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB

Highlight of the week: This week's award goes to Cody Ross, whose clutch RBI hit took the Marlins from behind to ahead in the rubber match of the Mets series. It was great redemption for him after being in a similar situation earlier in the game but not getting a run home.
Looking ahead: The Fish have a quick four game homestand with two games each against the Reds and Braves before a long flight to Colorado for a weekend series against the Rockies.


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