Belated Week In Review

Monday, April 26, 2010

Apologies for the tardiness of this post, we suffered from the same lethargy that the team did on the first trip out sorta west.

Overview: The Marlins continued the odd sequence road trip by losing two of three in both Houston and Colorado, giving them thier first sub-.500% week (2-4).
Positives: Dan Uggla his having an unusually strong April. Normally a slow starter, Daniel is hitting .324 and OPS-ing .973, both well above his career averages. Ricky Nolasco has continued his excellent form following up his complete game in Philly with an eight inning masterpiece in Colorado.
Negatives: Losing the first two to the Astros was unexpected and laregly due to a bullpen meltdown, Tim Wood and Burke Badenhop the culprits. Also the team lacked clutch hitting and was unable to add on to their leads in those games.
Line of the Week: Since Ricky got the honor last week, we'll give him the honorable mention and instead recognize Brett Carroll, who starting in place of Chris Coghlan had a nice afternoon on Saturday.

2-3, HR, 2B, SF, 2 RBI

Highlight of the Week: Okay, we'll just let you watch Ricky go to town on the Rox hitters. Enjoy!
Looking Ahead: The Marlins begin a nine game homestand with three against the surging Padres. After an off day on Thursday, the Nationals come to town.


The Phillies Gave How Much To Ryan Howard?

I'll leave the analysis to Jonah Keri:

5-yr deal for Ryan Howard will work out great. Baseball has never had a big/plodding slugger completely lose it in his 30s.
5 years, $125 million for Ryan Howard!!! A financial quagmire that'll make the Iraq War look like a slap fight.
On a related note...


Mother Nature Is Fickle

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Marlins can usually count on Mother Nature for a few saves each season (a save in this case meaning an early end to a game due to rain while the Fish have a lead), not to mention the occasional slumpbuster. Not so last night, when the Marlins got rained/snowed out (wintry mixed out?) in Denver. Might Mother Nature be expressing her displeasure with the forthcoming opening of a retractable-roof ballpark in Little Havana? Perhaps...

In other news, in my season preview I wondered if anyone would get impatient with Josh Johnson if he struggled to open the season, considering he signed a four-year deal over the winter. No one is accusing him of loafing just yet, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald expresses some concern this weekend that JJ has not been able to pitch deep into games just yet. Catcher John Baker defends Johnson in the blog post, saying, "At the beginning of a season, guys have to build themselves up to get later into the game. I think the one thing about J.J. is no matter what game he pitches in, we always have a chance to win." This is most likely just a blip on the radar screen, but it will be interesting to see what happens if Johnson's struggles continue. Having made only 4 starts this year, his sample size is way too small to extrapolate anything useful, but his 4.5 BB/9 rate is troubling, but his .333 BABIP has to go down, right?


Week in Review

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Overview: The Marlins continue losing opening games of their series, splitting a four-game set with the Reds before taking two of three from the Phillies.
Positives: This team scores a lot of runs, averaging just over 5 runs a game through the first 13 contests of the season. Five regulars (H2R, Jorge Cantu, John Baker, Dan Uggla, and Gaby Sanchez) are OPS+ing over 120 to start the year. Did you hear about Emilio Bonifacio being sent down to AAA? Brett Carroll made the most of his return to the big club, going 3 for 4 with a home run and a double on Wednesday night. Ricky Nolasco threw the team's first complete game on Saturday night, giving the bullpen a much needed rest.
Negatives:  The Marlins scored 5, 8, and 6 runs in their losses this week, underscoring the early struggles of the pitching staff. Jorge Cantu's RBI streak came to an end Friday night, but as Michael at Marlin Maniac points out, RBI streaks tell us very little about a hitter (regardless of what Jeff Conine and Carlos Tosca have to say about it). The internet found out about that Scott Stapp song. I was hoping no one would notice. The bullpen continues to struggle, with Dan Meyer in particular having trouble making outs. However, the rotation has not been pulling its weight either. Aside from Nolasco, no starter was able to complete 7 innings this week, and the rotation only has 6 quality starts (6 or more IP with 3 ER or less) through 13 games.
Highlight of the Week: Cameron Maybin came up with a pair of sweet catches over the weekend.
Line of the Week: Nolasco's line Saturday night against the Phillies:
9 IP, 5H, 1 ER, 3BB, 5K, 109 pitches
Looking Ahead: The Marlins have Monday off, then play three in Houston and three in Colorado.

Image: Matt Slocum, AP via


Reading Between The Lines: Jose Veras

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Italicized text below is taken from a blog post by Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro. This is in no way an insult to him, we love him here at the Diehards, even though he's an Alabama Crimson Tide fan. But my thoughts are in response:

Joe Veras, who was designated for assignment on April 14, cleared waivers and he was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans on Friday. The move means the veteran right-hander remains in the organization.

That means he sucks. No team wanted to pick him up. Even the Houston Astros who are 1-9 and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have an MLB-worst 7.46 ERA said, "Thanks, but we'll pass."

"We'll see him some time again this year," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Hopefully he's playing for the Mets.

But he struggled throwing strikes, and after four appearances, his ERA was 15.43, although he had a win. Veras allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, and he struck out five while walking four.

"Sometimes it is just about getting people out," Gonzalez said.

Sometimes, Fredi? How about all the time? I can't think of many instances where an opposing player comes to bat and the best strategy involves not trying to retire him.

In Spring Training, Veras was throwing hard, showing a 96 mph fastball.

96mph is nice. It is especially nice if it moves or is placed in the strike zone but while being difficult to hit.

How are we shopping for these relievers anyway?


h/t mattyports


Marlins, Other Teams Struggling To Draw

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Marlins played in front of 10,119 and 10,681 on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively (or likely less, since those numbers are paid attendance), but they are not the only teams with attendance problems to start the season. Via Deadspin, Baltimore drew 9,129(!) fans on Monday. That's still three times the number of fans I saw on a July Monday night against the Expos in 2003, but damn.

Even so, the Marlins are last in average attendance in the NL so far this year, at 19,987 (only ahead of Oakland's 17,858). And that number will most likely fall a bit as the Fish get farther away from Opening Night's crowd of 40,666. As Barry at Deadspin points out, "Take an unwatchable product [he's referring to bad teams in general, and not the Marlins specifically, here], throw in a lingering recession, and there are going to be an embarrassing amount of empty seats. That's business."

I know one or two things that could be keeping people out of Sun Life Stadium, though...

Update: It's not getting any better (via SuperIgor).

Image via Deadspin


We're Pretending This Never Happened

We will not embed Scott Stapp's "new" Marlins anthem, nor will we encourage you to seek it out elsewhere on the web (quite the opposite, we implore you to avoid it). We won't even link it. Like 2 Girls 1 Cup, once you have experienced "Marlins Will Soar" (fish soaring? Come on, dude), you can never unexperience it, and it will remain a dark spot in your psyche for years to come. Instead, we will embed this video of striped marlin hunting sardines in the Pacific.

You're welcome.


This Day Keeps Getting Better

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marlins fans who also favor the local football club awoke to some great news this morning, and now it appears the Marlins have added to the fanbase euphoria this afternoon, sending longtime nemesis of the blog Emilio Bonifacio down to Triple-A New Orleans. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the decision. In his place, outfielder Brett Carroll will rejoin the club, having spent the beginning of the season on the disabled list. Carroll makes way more sense as a fourth-outfielder option than Bonifacio, plus he should be a better pinch-hit option coming off the bench.

Also being sent to New Orleans demoted is reliever Jose Veras, who was DFA'd. Veras can throw 95 mph but has not been able to throw many strikes to begin the season. He is replaced by Chris Leroux.


Something to peruse this morning

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Via the Baseball Reference blog, here's a link to the 1992 expansion draft, when the Marlins and Rockies got their pick of anyone not included on a 40-man roster. Even before the team had played a single game, the front office was already exhibiting its scouting acumen, as the Marlins selected Trevor Hoffman (who was later traded for Gary Sheffield), Carl Everett, and Jeff Conine in the draft. The Marlins' scouting team wasn't perfect, though. First pick Nigel Wilson amassed only 36 career plate appearances in the big leagues, 16 of which came for the Fish. Can't win them all...

Carl Everett card via Baseball Almanac


A Request

Monday, April 12, 2010

Good morning, everyone. If you see this guy, buy him a beer for me:


Week In Review

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Overview: The Marlins dropped the opener of the season in New York but bounced back to win the final two. That pattern repeated itself in back in Miami against the Dodgers, giving the Fish two series wins and a nice 4-2 opening week.

Positives: Jorge Cantu is red hot to start the year. He has a hit and an RBI in all six games, including the game-winning sacrifice fly on Saturday and a 5-RBI game this afternoon. The rest of the team is also hitting pretty well. Ronnie Paulino had a couple key hits late in games, Hanley Ramirez is his usual self, and Gaby Sanchez has been a pleasant surprise hitting eighth in the lineup.

Negatives: The bullpen. Well, they had a pretty rough week. With the exception of Burke Badenhop's stellar long relief in two outings and saves by Tim Wood and Leo Nunez, they have been horrific. The starting pitching also could be a bit better. Josh Johnson hasn't been his usual dominant self, and the rest of the staff should be pitching deeper into ballgames.

My main negative of the week though is the absence of the Teal Tower and out of town scoreboard in left field. If you haven't heard/seen, it's been replaced by huge advertising signs because the scoreboard was in need of repair which was deemed too pricey. I could go on a 500+ word rant here, but since it's a week in review, I'll refrain and simply say booooooooo. Not cool.

Highlight of the Week: The Marlins treated the home fans on Saturday to the first walk-off win of the year. Ronnie Paulino tied the game with a double to deep center (would have been a walk-off bomb in most parks). And as mentioned earlier, Jorge Cantu won it with a sac-fly.

Line of the Week: Not to beat a dead horse, but a huge week for Cantu, his totals: 8-25, 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI

Looking Ahead: The Marlins have a tough week starting with a four-game set at home with the Cincinnati Reds. The weekend brings the year's first trip to Philadelphia for a traditional three-game series with the Phillies.


Mets Schadenfreude Alert!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Courtesy of friend-of-the-blog JD, Mets manager Jerry Manuel is already on the hot seat after his squad dropped two of three to the Fish (click to enlarge):

As Ted is so fond of saying, suck failure freaks!

Original post here.


What makes Burke Badenhop great?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's the stirrups, obvi. Hopper threw three scoreless innings of relief tonight, further strengthening his spot in GameFish's heart. But I just dig his style. Now if only the Marlins' uniforms had striped stirrups...

Update: Looks like Badenhop's aura transferred onto Leo Nunez, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save (though he did serve up a warning track flyout that would have left the park in a majority of stadiums). And just like that, the Fish win their first series of the season against the goddamn Mets.


If you're gonna spew...

Some advice for Coghlan (skip ahead to the 1:07 mark, 'cause YouTube won't allow me to edit the embed code to adjust the starting pointJust hit play, thanks to


Win #1

All is right with the world again. The Marlins beat the Mets 7-6 in quite an unbelievable fashion last night to record th first win of the season, and reassure us that Cameron Maybin is in fact of a major league caliber.

Of course it's probably not a good idea to give away a five run lead late in the game, especially when not making the other team get hits but instead gift them trips around the bases via walks, errors, and balks. It did though once again prove the accuracy of the Renyel Pinto Flow Chart. But let's focus on the positives.

  • The power hitting infield trio of Jorge Cantu, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla all went yard yesterday. No cheapies either, they were all impressive blasts
  • Ricky Nolasco looked to be in late-2009 form. After allowing an early run, he was dominant over six innings. Unfortunately he tired and started the Mets 7th inning rally with a couple of walks, but I'll chalk that up to early season conditioning and not being up to his usual pitch count.
  • Tim Wood rescued the rest of the bullpen and prevented more heart attacks with a perfect 10th inning to record his first save.

Rubber match this evening. Nate Robertson will take the mound for the Fish.


Are Ramirez and Uggla BFF?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maybe not, but hey, at least they don't hate each other! Via Jerry Crasnick:

"It's over and done with," Uggla said. "Every once in a while everybody needs a kick in the butt. If I need a kick in the butt, I want him to give it to me, too. It was all out of love. It's all behind us, and I think we're better from it."
Of course, we'll see how well they get along when the team hits the inevitable bump in the road, but at least everything seems ok now, right?


A Call for Ideas

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I can think of few baseball gimmicks that are more wonderful than the Miller Park sausage races (as well as the Nationals Park presidents races). The sausage race has everything you would want from in-game entertainment: brevity, simplicity, and relevance to the home city. Both races put the Marlins' own offering, an animated airboat race featuring Billy the Marlin and his "family" on the jumbotron, to shame.

But it doesn't have to be that way. With the new Marlins stadium opening in 2012, we should be able to think of a few good ideas for a live-action mascot race at the park. Consider this an open call for suggestions, leave yours in the comments.


Opening Day Roundup

The Fish open with one particularly bad game and already some of the local the media is panicking. It's adorable, South Florida sportswriters' pessimism. It's like they think they're in New York or Boston. I'm looking at you, Greg Cote:
The first game hadn't even ended when the gallows humor began in the press box, with snarky speculation about whether Fredi Gonzalez would survive this opening three-game road series and still be around for the home opener.

Any one of 162 games makes a lousy barometer of anything, but in this case it seemed to accurately get across the notion this season and its uphill climb to playoff contention won't be easy.
Joe Capozzi was a bit more measured in his criticism:
Teams don't make the playoffs on opening day. But for all the fuss made over the winter by their front office, the Marlins didn't exactly jump out of the gates Monday like a team primed for October.
But at least Dave Hyde is still sane:
There's no sense overemphasizing Opening Day, considering there's 161 more games coming. The baseball season reads longer than Tolstoy.

Making some sweeping a prediction after Opening Day is like predicting a NFL season after the first offensive series. Still, there's this prediction after Monday:

The Marlins will play a lot better than this.

Then there's the expected harping on Twitter, but I'm not going to burden your precious souls with that...

Photo via PBP


Ah memories...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thanks to Tom Verducci for reminding us:
Part of the charm of Opening Day is that anything seems possible, including the idea that Emilio Bonifacio actually can hit. You might remember Bonifacio; baseball history always will. On a beautiful, sun-splashed day in Florida last year, the Marlins' Opening Day leadoff hitter smacked four hits, scored four runs, stole three bases and raced around the bases with the first Opening Day inside-the-park home run since one by Carl Yastrzemski in 1968.

Bonifacio never hit another home run in 2009 - or much of anything else. He hit like it was, well, 1968. There were 155 players last year who were given enough playing time to qualify for the batting title. Bonifacio had the worst OPS of all of them.


Let's get this season started on the right foot

Here he comes...


2010 Season Preview: Dave's Outlook

Ten thoughts on the Marlins heading into the 2010 season:
  1. Can Cameron Maybin avoid a repeat of his 2009 start, when he struggled to the point that he was sent down to Triple-A? If not, then Emilio Bonifacio could be making an extended appearance in the starting lineup, and we all know how that worked out last time.
  2. Can one of the following pitchers step up and make 25 starts? Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, and Nate Robertson will round out the rotation to start the year. Aside from Josh Johnson, last year's rotation was a portrait of maddening inconsistency, as no one else (not even Ricky Nolasco) could stay in the starting rotation for the entire year. We know the Marlins will score a lot of runs, but the teams success will largely hinge on the success of the starting rotation beyond Johnson and Nolasco.
  3. Will the annual Dan Uggla trade derby actually be consummated this year? If the team struggles out of the gate, I know who will be my first pick in this year's trade pool.
  4. Seriously, why is Emilio Bonifacio still on this team? The team seems to think he can be a poor man's Alfredo Amezega. Consider me highly skeptical. 
  5. Leo Nunez starts the year as the Marlins' closer. I'm extremely bearish on Nunez. If the Marlins are still in contention in July, I bet they shop for a new closer. 
  6. Could Josh Johnson see a dropoff following an offseason in which he signed a four-year deal which in his words, "sets up me and my family for life"? Hanley Ramirez was accused of loafing shortly after he signed a multiyear deal. It will be interesting to see if the same accusations pop up when Johnson hits the inevitable slump.
  7. Who will inspire my next mediocre photoshop? Ted knows, the rest of you will have to wait.
  8. Can Fredi Gonzalez last the entire year without getting fired? Jeffrey Loria doesn't seem to like him, despite the fact the Marlins have outperformed expectations in two of Gonzalez' three years at the helm. And who knows, since Loria's last midseason firing turned out pretty well, he may think it a good idea to resurrect. I think I've made my feelings about Fredi clear, and I hope Loria doesn't get an itchy trigger finger.
  9. Will we see Mike Stanton on the big club in 2010? I hope so, but not if he is being rushed. Remember, the kid is still 20 years old.
  10. Do the Marlins have a reasonable shot at catching the Phillies in 2010? I think it's highly unlikely. The Phillies have a more complete rotation and better bullpen, both of which should separate them from the Fish. The best hope for Marlins fans would be a Wild Card berth, which has worked out well for the Marlins twice before
2010 should be interesting. Baseball is here, no more pretending to care about basketball!


2010 Macropreview

Thursday, April 1, 2010

As we did last year, Ted and I have compiled as many season previews with projected finishes as we could find, and presented them in one spreadsheet for your reading pleasure. We looked at all the projection systems (CHONE, Marcel, Depth Charts, etc.) as well as major media outlets and a few of our favorite blogs. Did we miss anything? Drop us a line in the comments, and we'll add it.

Here is the spreadsheet. Like last year, the general consensus is that the Marlins will struggle to compete in the NL East. The Marlins' average projected record comes out to 80-82, good for third or fourth in the division. Only the raconteurs at Walkoff Walk think the Fish can challenge for the division title, and even they don't like the Marlins' chances. In 2009, the Marlins were projected to finish 79-83, and managed to outperform that prediction by 8 wins. Can they outperform again in 2010? Perhaps. Stranger things have happened.

This weekend Ted and I will each share our thoughts on the upcoming season and make a few predictions. Until then, perform whatever animal sacrifices you deem necessary to make sure Cody Ross' calf heals in time for Opening Day.


  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP