Week In Review

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Overview: The Fish were swept by the Mets and lost two of three this weekend at home to the Diamondbacks.
Positives: Did you see that Heat game yesterday?
Negatives: The team has been ice cold at the plate. Despite that, the club thrice had 1-0 leads they couldn't hold in New York. The Fish are now five games under .500.
Line of the Week: Anibal Sanchez set a new career high with 14 strikeouts Saturday night.

7 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 14 K

Highlight of the Week: Hanley snapped an 0-26 slump with this walkoff single last night.
Looking Ahead: One more game against the Diamondbacks tomorrow before the team heads out for a nine game road trip. That starts with three games each in San Francisco and San Diego.


Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops: Vol. IV

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heath Bell enters with a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning.

  • Walks David Wright
  • Retires Lucas Duda on groundout. right to second base
  • Walks Ike Davis on four pitches
  • Walks Josh Thole on seven pitches
  • Battles for thirteen pitches, still walks Just Turner. Game tied.
  • Scott Hairston hits into fielder's choice. Out made at home.
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis game winning hit.
Bell's third blown save in only five chances.


Week In Review

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Overview: The Marlins swept the hapless souls that are the Chicago Cubs, then dropped two in Washington. Sunday's game has been postponed due to weather.
Positives: I know it was against the Cubs, but the team played some all around good ball to sweep that series. Bonifacio somehow is still hitting and stealing bases. And although they didn't get wins, both Zambrano and Anibal pitched pretty good ballgames this weekend.
Negatives: Still no #MONSTERDONG sightings :-( The bats went absolutely silent this weekend, save for a LoMo homer. And the team fell back under .500. But hey, at least we aren't the Red Sox. [laughing hysterically under my breath]
Line of the Week: Rarely do we ever honor a starting pitcher who lost, but the wll is pretty dry this week, and Anibal Sanchez pitched great yesterday.

7 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Highlight of the Week: Hanley's huge three run bomb to win Tuesday's game. With bonus super-cool handshakes bro!
Looking Ahead: Day off tomorrow, then three in New York against the Mets before a weekend series back home versus the Diamondbacks.


Full Video of Showtime's "Franchise" Sneak-Peak

Via Glen Geffner, Showtime has posted its entire 32-minute preview episode of "The Franchise" on YouTube:


Small Sample Size Theater

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Serendipity struck this afternoon when Big League Stew posted the below video, which just happens to have our favorite pariah as the cover image:

Why are we struck? Earlier today Ted and I had a quick conversation on IM:
David: Bonifacio's BABIP so far: .457 (!)
David: But, 13% BB%
Ted: wow
David: Only 54 PAs, I may wait a week or two before writing a post about that
Ted: Makes sense
Ted: lets see how he handles Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez this weekend
Later on, Ted had a little back-and-forth with @BoobiesNStanton:
@BoobiesNStanton: At what point do I have to issue @Elboni_1 a public apology? We're getting close, right?
@tedhill: Sample size dude, his BABIP is through the roof.
@tedhill: #GraspingAtStraws
Good one, Universe!


Watch Samson Suspend Ozzie

Via Fish@Bat:

This doesn't feel especially staged, but there is no way Samson and Guillen aren't performing a little bit here. Guillen says pretty much the same thing he said in his apologetic press conference. I was hoping for more fireworks, but alas.


Preview of Showtime's The Franchise

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops, Vol. III (The Inning from Hell)

The Marlins farted away a game in epic fashion Saturday night, and in the process gave us a nominee for worst fuckup of the season. There are so many tangerine dunce caps to go around for Saturday's effort, perhaps the beat writers will start mentioning them in the same breath as Lo Viste t-shirts.

"Closer" (I'm using that word lightly here) Heath Bell entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead over the Houston Astros. At the time the Marlins' win expectancy was 97%. After Chris Snyder flew out to left field to start the inning, that number rose to 99%. Bell proceeded to give up the following:
  • Double to Jose Altuve, advanced to third when Emilio Bonifacio bobbled the ball after it bounced off the right-center wall
  • RBI single to Travis Buck
Altuve's double, it bears mentioning, was totally catchable, but Bonifacio took a bad angle on the ball and had to reach at an awkward angle in order to make a catch (which he did unsuccessfully). It's okay, it's not like Bonifacio has been playing infield all his life (oh, wait...).

The Inning from Hell continued:
  • Jordan Schafer reached base on a catcher's interference by John Buck. 
  • Jed Lowrie flies out to left field.
Now there are two outs, and the Marlins still have a 2-run lead (albeit with 2 Astros on base). Miami's win expectancy is now at 93%
  • JD Martinez hits an RBI single, Schafer advances to third
  • Carlos Lee hits an RBI single, Justin Maxwell (pinch-running for Martinez) advances to third
Now the score is tied, and Bell's afternoon is mercifully over. Randy Choate steps in to face B Bogusevic, and then this happens: 



Rally Bird?

Monday, April 16, 2012

If you squint you can see the dead bird... 
Let's hope not...
During Sunday's come from behind victory over Houston, a bird fell to its death in the top of the eighth inning. It landed in the outfield with the Marlins in the middle of a bases-loaded jam and already down 2 runs.

Rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton and centerfielder Emilio were the first to see the deceased bird. Stanton summoned groundskeepers to remove the bird between pitches.


Immediately thereafter, reliever Mike Dunn escaped the jam, then Hanley Ramirez hit a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the inning. Ramirez would eventually finish off the Astros with a walk-off, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning.

"Rally bird!" Marlins closer Heath Bell allegedly exclaimed after the game.
I mean, a rally animal might end up being fun, but we could probably do better than a dead bird, can't we?

Image via Fish@Bat


Week in Review

Overview: Miami dropped two of three in Philadelphia, then took two of three from Houston. There was also some kind of dust-up involving Ozzie Guillen and Fidel Castro, perhaps you heard about that.

Positives: We now know for a fact that it is possible to hit a home run in Marlins Park:

Negatives: Too many fielding blunders to count this week. Ted will surely have a Tangerine Troops roundup coming in the next day or so. Suffice it to say, this team does not field too well at the moment. Heath Bell in 2012: 2 save opportunites, 2 blown saves. Also troublesome, the Herald reported Sunday that Josh Johnson's velocity is down to 91-93 mph from his usual 95-96. Ruh roh...

Line of the Week: This was Omar Infante's week: 8-21, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI
That was in just five games (he sat out Saturday). I'm really looking forward to selling him high in my fantasy league.
Highlight of the Week: Ramirez hit a game-tying home run on Sunday that would have been out in just about every MLB stadium, even the cavernous Marlins park.
Looking Ahead: The Fish are off on Monday, then host the Cubs for three followed by a weekend series at Washington.

Photo via @KellysPics


Bill Maher on Ozzie Guillen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

If you had to share a beer with any two people in the world, Maher and Guillen would make a great duo.


Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops, Vol. II

Friday, April 13, 2012

John Buck went 2-4 with an RBI, but still manages to get Least Valuable Player honors for last night's frustrating loss to the Phillies (Joe Blanton? Really?!).

There was this stumbling attempt to catch a foul pop-up. This was no crime, the ball was really uncatchable, but it was funny nonetheless.

Later, a more serious offense, when he dropped another foul pop-up. Albeit the degree of difficulty was high (he was leaning over the dugout railing), but if you're a big league catcher stealing making $6 million, and the ball hits your glove, you have to come up with that.
Just a couple pitches later, Ty Wigginton hit a long solo home run to extend the Phillies lead.

And to round things off in the ninth inning, the Marlins put the tying runs on base with just one out. John Buck predictably hit into a game ending double play (-.149 WPA).

Tangerine dunce hat for you Mr. Buck! Welcome to the club.


Friendly Reminder

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We have a Twitter feed now. Ted and I will occasionally live-tweet Marlins games. Today's Marlins-Phillies match-up is one of those games. Follow us, tweet with us, embrace the interactive experience. Don't anger the Twitter bird.


Race to Marlins Park

Via New Times:

Miami New Times staff race to see who can get from Government Center in Downtown Miami to the new Marlins baseball stadium the fastest on a bike, car, kayak, rickshaw, and hopping sack


Marlins Suspend Guillen 5 Games

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No surprise here, Guillen will get a time-out for his Castro remarks. Not much to say about this one, except this: A five-game suspension is basically the Marlins' attempt to split the difference between people who wanted Guillen fired and people who think this is much ado about very little. In the end, neither party will be satisfied, but it will blow over in a week or so.

What hurts Guillen, though, is the fact that whenever he gets in trouble again it will be lumped together with this incident to give his detractors further ammunition. It's his own fault, but those Castro comments will be held against him permanently.

We will now revert back to being a baseball blog.


Pitches per Batter Faced, Or, Why Mark Buehrle is Awesome

Ted and I were IMing during Monday's Marlins win over the Phillies regarding Anibal Sanchez' ruthlessly efficient game. In 6 and 1/3 innings, he faced 26 batters and threw 95 pitches, good for 3.65 pitches per batter faced (P/BF). I wondered whether this stat was any good or not, so I did some digging. In his previous six season of action, Sanchez has averaged 3.82 P/BF, with a range of 3.66 in 2008 to 3.89 in 2011. Needless to say, 3.65 is better than he usually can manage.

Two points of reference:

  1. In 2011, the MLB average P/BF was 3.82, so Sanchez was less efficient than average.
  2. For his entire career, Mark Buehrle's P/BF is 3.24 (!!)
All that talk about Mark Buehrle being a quick worker is not just anecdotal, it is statistically factual. Heading into 2012, he has thrown 3 times as many pitches as Anibal Sanchez over each of their careers (33,540-11,156), but has faced 3.5 times as many batters (10,344-2,915).


All Together Now

Monday, April 9, 2012

An event does not become a scandal until politicians are using the event to score cheap points with their constituents. We can now call Ozzie Guillen's Castro flap a bona fide scandal:

The Chairman of the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners has called on Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to urge Guillen to resign.

In an open letter sent to the media on Monday, Joe A. Martinez said "there is no alternative that would be satisfactory" after Guillen's "I love Fidel Castro" quote in an upcoming edition of Time Magazine.

"To say you respect Fidel Castro, suggests he also respects dictators such as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, Adolf Hitler and Sadam Hussein," the letter reads.
It's got everything included in a paint-by-numbers umbrage kit: a proposed punishment that doesn't fit the crime, Hitler reference, and public shaming. But what is more shameful: Guillen's words about Castro, or using those words to make yourself look like the arbiter of common sense and protector of the people?


Tilting at Windmills in Little Havana

Discussion of Fidel Castro and US-Cuba policy is where reasoned logic goes to die, but someone needs to point out the petty hypocrisy of a local anti-Castro group calling for the job of Ozzie Guillen. Last week, Guillen said the following about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:
"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen was quoted as saying. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother****** is still here."
I think we can all agree that this is a dumb and shortsighted thing to say in public, even if you do not manage a baseball team that plays its home games in Little Havana. But really, can anyone say with a straight face that Guillen's comment makes a lick of difference in the grand scheme of things?

The answer is yes, if you are Vigilia Mambisa, a group that plans to protest at Marlins Park and boycott the team until Guillen steps down. Never mind that the team and Guillen have both apologized for the statement (Guillen said Sunday "I'm against everything 100 percent... the way this man (been) treating people for the last 60 years"). He must be punished for saying something (a dumb joke, really) that goes against the official position on Castro held by civilized folk like you and me and Vigilia Mambisa.

But judging by their Facebook page (67 likes), and the fact that they don't even have a website, I'm guessing Vigilia Mambisa thought the Guillen controversy would be a dynamite event to exploit for their own publicity.  

But unfortunately for Vigilia Mambisa, freedom of speech applies to speech about Castro, as well. There is a place where people who speak freely and don't hide their opinions are punished, sometimes very harshly. It's called Cuba.

Irony is dead. Long live irony.


Sometimes I wish the fashion police are a real thing that exists...

Left to right, that's Giancarlo Stanton, Randy Choate, Ricky Nolasco, and Josh Johnson showing off their new Easter duds before the Marlins' Sunday flight to Philadelphia. There are no words...

Image via Joe Frisaro


Week In Review

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Overview: The Fish have had a tough first week, dropping three out of four games.
Positives: Fears that the team would continue to struggle at the plate were alleviated with an eight run outburst on Saturday. The Fish also crossed the plate five times today. As much as the starting pitching has left some to be desired, each thrower has gone at least six innings, with Ricky Nolasco going eight strong in his win. Steve Cishek has notched three scoreless appearances out of the pen too.
Negatives: Those first two days at the plate were rough. Heath Bell looked nothing like a lights out closer worthy of a $27 million contract in his first save opportunity today. Basically, not much has gone right for the Marlins thus far.
Line of the Week: Not a lot of great things to choose from this week, but we'll give the nod to Rick Nolasco, primarily for his number in the walk column, zero.

W, 8 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K

Highlight of the Week: Omar Infante showed off his glove on Saturday night with a diving stop.
Looking Ahead: The Fish head to Philly for a three game set (off day Tuesday), and head home next weekend for a series with the Astros.



Friday, April 6, 2012

Ozzie Guillen: good manager, or GREATEST manager (non-Earl Weaver division)?
What does a big-league manager do after a game? For Ozzie Guillen, the answer is simple.

"I go to the hotel bar, get drunk, sleep," Guillen said before Thursday's game with the Reds. "I don't do anything else."
Here's the link. Ozzie can party with the Diehards anytime. Cogz can be our DD (I'm guessing he doesn't drink, perhaps that's a tad unfair, but meh...).


Opinions are like assholes...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"I just feel like, if it were up to me -- and it's not; nobody asked me, and I don't know why anybody would care about my opinion -- but if I was building a stadium, I'd try to build it as close to like an older, cozier park," Berkamn said Wednesday night.

"I think one of the things about baseball that people gravitate towards is nostalgia," he continued. "I mean, that's why people love Wrigley Field and they love Fenway Park, because you can kind of step back in time."
To this I say: stop. If you are the ten millionth person who feels compelled to point out that the thing in center field in Marlins Park is garish and strange-looking, I humbly submit that it is you, and not the Marlins, who has the problem. KEEP MIAMI WEIRD.
We don't need to add anything to that, but you should read the whole piece. Also, if you are looking for a new favorite Pirates blog (and who isn't?), you've just found it.


Misadventures of the Tangerine Troops, Vol. I

The whole Reyes at SS, Hanley at 3B thing is off to a hot start1:

Meh, game one didn't go exactly as planned. JJ was touched up early and the Fish couldn't muster much offense. Good thing the roof will be closed most games, because hard hit balls seemed to die out in the expansive centerfield. Even potential #MONSTERDONGS are no match for that warm coastal breeze.

On to the next one, Marlins at Reds at 4pm today.

1To be fair, the two made a couple of slick plays later in the game, and this flub didn't end up costing any runs.


Opening Day Roundup

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Opening Day is finally here! Below is a run-down of all the season preview content on the site:

Also, here are some season preview pieces I wrote for NBCMiami.com
Play ball! Go Fish!

Image via the Marlins' Twitter feed


2012 Macropreview

It's Opening Day, which means it is time for us to post our annual compilation of season projections. Ted and I have compiled as many season previews and projections as we could find, and presented them in one spreadsheet for your reading pleasure. We looked for as many projection systems we could find (CAIRO, Marcel, Depth Charts, etc.), and also included less scientific projections from 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 our spreadsheet. Links to the individual projections are included in the spreadsheet. The Marlins are expected to post around 86 wins this season, with a range of 80 to 90. Even the low end has the Marlins adding 10 wins compared to their disappointing 2011 campaign, but that likely will not be enough to please the fans or Jeff Loria. Unlike last year, when we thought the team's 83-79 projection was perhaps a win or two too high, we think the team might be able to outperform 86 wins so long as all the key contributors stay healthy.

Baseball is back! Here's to a memorable season...


The Father of the Marlins Diaspora

Played for Marlins: 1993-1994
Other teams: LA Dodgers (1970-1980), Texas (1980-1990), Chicago White Sox (1991-1992)
Marlins fans know him because: Hough started the first game in Marlins history, and threw the first pitch, a wobbly knuckleball that home plate umpire Frank Pulli was kind enough to call a strike. He struck out the first two LA Dodgers on the afternoon of April 5, 1993 looking, later notching the W in a 6-3 Marlins triumph. A Hialeah native, Hough was already 45 years old when he started with the Marlins, the final stop in his 25-year career. He is the oldest Marlin in existence, living or dead, and always will be. Thus, we will now refer to him as the Father of the Marlins Diaspora.
Everyone else knows him because: I'm not sure how many people know this, but in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs, Hough gave up the third. It happened on the first pitch of the eighth inning, Hough's only inning that game. He retired the next three batters (Chris Chambliss, Graig Nettles and Lou Piniella) on a groundout, strikeout, and foul-out, respectively. Hough also made the All-Star team in 1986 with the Rangers. The next year, he led the majors in starts (40) and IP (285 and 1/3). They don't make pitchers like that anymore...
Best Marlins moment: Obviously we have to go with Opening Day, but an honorable mention goes to a time that exists in both of our memories. Sometime during his Marlins tenure, Hough came up to bat in a situation that did not call for a sacrifice bunt. To call him a poor hitter would badly overstate his abilities (his career OPS+ in 250 PAs is negative 6!). In his two years with the Marlins, he managed 6 hits in 96 at bats (he did walk 3 times and perform 8 successful sac bunts). On this occasion, though, he hit a line-drive foul into the right field seats that was so sharp that the home crowd had no choice but to cheer for old Charlie. Ted and I both remember watching this on TV, but cannot recall whether it occurred in 1993 or 1994. Not that the year matters. It was simply one of those moments only a diehard fan could love.

Image via Sun Sentinel


Ten Very Specific Predictions for 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

11. Giancarlo Stanton will realize  this photo is a double-entrende for what happens to Marlins fans when he hits a home run.
  1. Ozzie Guillen will not beef with anyone in the front office. The Ozzie lifecycle in Chicago started out nicely, as far as Jerry Reinsdorf was concerned. His confrontations with the White Sox' front office did not start until a few years into his tenure. Expect that pattern to repeat itself in Miami, buying David Samson a year or two before having to deal with an angry Ozzie. Guillen will definitely ignore Jeff Loria if he tries to talk to him from the stands during a game, though.
  2. Logan Morrison will accidentally post a photo of his penis on Twitter. "Accidentally" being the operative word here.
  3. Strip Club with Stanton will rename itself I Want to Go to Shake Shack With Heath Bell.
  4. Omar Infante starts acting out to get noticed sometime in May. He'll begin by ritually burning a Lo Viste shirt in the locker room.
  5. Juan Carlos Oviedo will eventually receive a visa and rejoin the Marlins (once he serves a six-week suspension). Unfortunately, he will have to leave the team (and the country) again in August when it is revealed that he is D.B. Cooper. Oviedo will go into hiding in Tajikistan.
  6. I will stop following all the beat writers on Twitter in August after receiving five updates on a John Buck foul ball. Though I will announce my decision, no one will join my crusade to ignore facts that deserve to be ignored.
  7. Ricky Nolasco posts an FIP in the 3.50 range again, but still manages to post an ERA above 5 and perpetuate the myth that "some pitchers just know how to win." Jack McKeon will feel vindicated.
  8. The budding friendship between Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes goes full Jolie-Thornton by midseason as the pair each get half a heart shape tattooed on their chests. When they take their shirts off and stand next to each other arm-in-arm, the half hearts form a whole heart. 
  9. Josh Johnson pitches lights-out in April and May (again), but yet another promising season is derailed by injury in June when an errant jet of water from the Marlins Park home run structure manages to make it all the way to the Marlins dugout. Johnson slips on the ensuing puddle, tearing his rotator cuff in the process. An enraged fanbase storms the outfield when it is revealed he will miss the remainder of the season, whereupon they destroy the sculpture.
  10. 88-74, first Wild Card, lose in NLCS to Cincinnati.


The best description of the CF structure so far

...comes from DJ Short at Hardball Talk:

As ridiculous at it looks, I think this gaudy hunk of metal will grow on us over time. Sort of like the episode of "Seinfeld" where that girl found George Costanza really irritating initially, but then he got stuck in her head. Co-stan-za!
Which gives me an opportunity to post this:

And this:

While we're at it, here is what Kevin Kaduk said about Marlins Park on Monday:
But the roster of ballparks that have bilked taxpayers and pained neighborhoods, past and present, is a long one. If we withhold plaudits from the Marlins and their new home for those reasons, we also can't say anything nice about either new ballpark in New York, or the one in Washington. If we can't appreciate a ballpark because of unlikable owners, Camden Yards has to tumble from the top of all those rankings, too.


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