Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Last World Series Moment at Yankee Stadium

This Week in Baseball just gave highlights of the great moments at Yankee Stadium, including the Aaron Boone home run that sent the Yanks to the World Series in 2003. The program did NOT present any highlights of that Series. But we Marlins fans have etched in our memories that final play in that World Series, Josh Beckett celebrating, thrusting his arms skyward.

Managers and outfielders and relievers

1 -- How many times have you seen lineups like the Marlins have been posting recently in which the outfielders hit sixth, seventh and eighth. It happened several times before the arrival of the fabulous Maybin.
2 -- I am going to look back, when I have time, to see how many games Fredi-Pinto lost us after we acquired Rhodes, a solid left hand reliever, and still Pinto was sent out there for continuing disaster.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rose colored glasses

The Marlins have 12 games left. The Mets have 12 games left, and the Phils have 11 games left.  The Marlins are 5 games behind the Phils and Mets in the loss column. There's a distinct possibility that the wildcard could come from the East, especially if the Marlins take at least one of the next two from the Astros, and the Brewers continue in free fall.

Next week, while the Marlins are playing the Reds and Nats, the Mets will be facing the Cubs. The Cubs have the best record in the NL. The Phillies face the Marlins this weekend, and then play the Braves and Nats. 

So, the Marlins still have a shot, especially if the wildcard comes from the East. Assume they take 1 of the remaining two against the Astros, 2 out of 3 against the Phils (gotta figure they'll lose to Moyer), win the makeup game with Cincy, and take 3 from the Nats. At the same time, the Mets drop another game to the Nats,  2 of 3 to the Cubbies, 2 of 3 in Atlanta. When the Marlins arrive at Shea, they are 1 game behind the Mets in the loss column, with 3 to play. Imagine the pressure on the Mets, and the memories of last year. . .

Obviously, everything has to break right for the Marlins. What's changed has been the central division. Houston's lost 3 in a row, and the BrewCrew 5 in a row. Both teams have games left against the Reds and Pirates, and they don't play each other. The Cards have the same record the Marlins have, but they have 4 left against the DBacks,who are still in it, barely, in the West, plus 3 against the Cubs. Make them a longer shot than the long shot Marlins.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Marlins Outfield?

Trivia question: when was the last time that a team had each of their infielders with more home runs than any outfielder?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Where Are They From?

When I go to games with Orlando, he wants to know where players are from, particularly Hispanic players. For years, I bought the Baseball Register and took it to games, and it listed birthplacees. Alas, the Register appears to have disappeared with sale of its publisher, The Sporting News. I now have a Bill James Handbook, but it's intended mainly for fantasy leagues, I think, and doesn't list hometowns. Anyway, here are the hometowns of some players we saw in the 16-14 slugfest:

Martin M. Prado – First base –
Born in Maracay, Venezuela.
Lives in Maracay.

Yunel Escobar -- shortstop
Born in Havana, Cuba.
Attended Matires de Barbados school in Havana.
Resides in Miami, FL

Ruben A. Gotay – pinch hitter
Birthplace: Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Graduated from Dr. Santiago Veue Calzada High School in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Attended Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa.

Omar Rafael Infante – third base
Born in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela
Resides in Guanta, Venezuela.

Jorge Dandys Julio – relief pitcher
Born in Caracas, Venezuela
Attended Fundacion Bolivariana school in Caracas,

Gregor M. Blanco – pinch hitter
Born in Caracas, Venezuela
Resides in Cua, VZ.

Julian Tavarez
Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic
Attended Santiago public schools.

Michael Vela Gonzalez – relief pitcher
Born in Robstown, Texas
Graduate of Harvest Christian Academy in Pasadena, TX... Played one year of baseball at San Jacinto (TX) Junior College in Houston.
Resides in Deer Park, TX

And one Marlin we were discussing:

Jeremy Ryan Hermida
Born in Atlanta, GA
Attended Wheeler High School (GA), where Baseball America rated him as the top pure hitter out of high school his senior season and the fourth-best position player overall in the 2002 draft.

We were discussing whether Hermida speaks Spanish. My guess is that he doesn't.


Here's the second graf of ESPN's game story about the Marlin's victory this afternoon over the Braves

Fewer than 600 people were in Dolphin Stadium's bright orange and aqua seats for the first pitch, leaving most of them to reflect the afternoon sun. While the official attendance, based on tickets sold, was 11,211, the ballpark was so quiet that home-plate chatter could be heard.

McPherson started at 3rd, went 0 for 2 with 2 walks; Andrew  Miller pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

Just Another 16-14 Tuesday Night Game

Orlando and I were in our usual Section 102, row 4, seats 1 and 2, out in left field behind the bull pen. My guess is there were maybe 5,000 people in the ballpark. (The official attendance was 14,000, but that's a joke.) There were so few people there that, sitting in left field, we could hear hecklers in the right field stands. Braves fans used to turn out for their team, but the Braves are so miserable that there were only some die-hards. After a 3-1 first inning, I told Orlando that this might be a 9-8 kind of game. I was wrong.
In the second, we moved over to Section 101, right next to the ultra-expensive Founder Club seats. And then the fun began. There was a super-Braves fan in the first row, Braves cap, blue and red Braves jersey, and right behind us two women, a middle-aged mother and grown daughter. They began heckling the Braves fan, and he responded. This was all done in Cuban Spanish. I couldn't understand most of it. At one point I thought the mom yelled, "Oye, flaca!" which would have been a supreme insult, but Orlando said they must have said something else. The guy at one point yelled back, "No habla basura" -- don't talk trash -- and the women kept at it. ... right in front of us were two Orthodox boys -- maybe 16, 18, with the yarmulke caps and strings hanging from their pockets, and they sat a few seats away from each other, maybe the better to catch foul balls. One did catch a T-shirt thrown by a Mermaid in an unusually skimpy bikini. Just to our right was another couple, middle-aged, who didn't say a word the whole game, not even until each other, until Jorge Julio came to the mound for the Braves, whereupon the woman said she hoped he gave up some homers. "He OWES us," she said. Does he ever. The weather was pleasant, not too hot, not humid. I had some beers, and the runs kept coming, and coming, and coming. Hanley and Cantu both had great opportunities to blow the game open, but they didn't. In the later innings, the mom suggested that Mr. Braves fan was being paid by Havana, which IS a supreme insult, and she made derogatory references about rafters, all of which Orlando translated for me later. Mr. Braves fan denied he was being paid by Havana. We were down 10-3 at one point, came back to 10-9. And then it was back and forth. In the top of the ninth, we were tied 14-14, and then -- hello, deja vu! -- our new closer didn't close, and we lost. Last week, there was heartbreak at those damn closer losses, but we're out of it now, and this was comedy, not heartbreak. It was great entertainment for our 2-1 Herald Tuesday discount tickets, 11.50 each. The Cuban ladies left before the end, which left Mr. Braves fan turning around and yelling triumphantly in Spanish at no one in particular. I went home knowing I'd had a good time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Call Ups

Miller, Carroll,  Andino,  McPherson, and De La Cruz. These are players who can help the team now, so they haven't given up all hope yet.  
No callups from Carolina. Looks like the big boppers from AA will get their calls next week, after their post season is complete. Maybin had a monster day on Sunday--2 for 3 with 3 walks and 5 runs scored. 

It also looks like they may be using Ryan Tucker as a closer in AA. He is another possibility for nest year.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Marlins in August

They started out the month in contention -- and they ended the month as a sad also-ran. In between, they went 11-17. They started the month 1.5 games out, finished 7 out. Who's responsible? Lots of people. Here are the August splits (using

Of the 16 NL teams:

Runs – 15
Batting average – 15 .234
Hits –16
Doubles – 3
Home Runs – 12 – 22
Total Bases – 15
Slugging 14 –
OPS – 14
Strike Outs – 1

ERA – 6th (4.06)
Runs – 10
Walks – 8
Blown saves – 4 (tie)
Save Percentage 14 (55 percent)

Hermida -- .192-1 HR 8 RBI
Willingham -- .210 – 2 – 11
Uggla -- .217 – 2 – 8
Cantu -- .223 – 3 – 10
Jacobs -- .223 – 5 – 16
Cody – .278 – 3 – 9
Hanley -- .295 – 3 – 11
Baker -- .318 – 2 – 9

Pinto – 25.07
Gregg – 10.13
Olsen – 5.55
Sanchez – 4.71
Volstad – 3.74
Lindstrom – 3.18
Nolasco – 2.72
Nelson – 2.53
Johnson – 2.38
Kensing – 1.23
Hendrickson – 0.66
Rhodes – 0.00

Sunday, August 31, 2008


well, on sunday, Pedro Martinez only hit 90 mph once on the radar gun, and many of his pitches were in the 60s, but he is crafty and still knows how to fool batters, and he was the winner of the game.... My buddies Mr. Super Fan and French both claim that he's a lock on the hall of fame, despite having less than 220 victories now at the tail end of his career. Seems like a low number to me.... if you want to talk about someone who had a few great years, then Dale Murphy should be in the Hall, too .... but there you have it.... I'm glad I saw him, even if the Marlins lost.

Stat of the Day

According to ESPN, Dan Uggla is now 9 for 18 with the bases loaded this year.

Another Saturday Night

Well, my buddy French was talking about the National League East as we sat in the Upper Deck (B), watching the usual Marlins outing. Nolasco gives up two runs in the first (is this a REQUIREMENT of being a Marlins pitcher?) and the Marlins bats were doing their usual strike outs, and French says, "Well, you know, all the teams in the NL East have flaws," meaning the Phils and Mets (we were wondering if anyone could challenge Cubs in playoffs).... and then Uggla for once has a clutch hit with runners in scoring position, two out, driving in two runs and then, lo and behold, there go the Mets... They gave up FOUR walks in the bottom of the ninth, the first and last of which were UNintentional ... It wasn't so much that Marlins won, Mets lost... Still, with all those damn Met fans around, we walked away from the stadium happy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kevin Gregg

Kevin Gregg leads the NL in blown saves. The Marlins are 6 games out, and he has 8 blown saves. 

Here's an example of what I think is the limited usefulness of relief pitcher's stats. These are Gregg's stats for the last two years:

2007: ERA, 3.54, saves 32 out of 36 opportunities (meaning 4 blown saves)
2008: ERA, 3.26; saves 29 of 37 (8 blown saves). 

He probably won't be back next year. It'll be interesting to see how they handle his replacement. You'd think Lindstrom's fastball would make him the heir apparent. . .

Monday, August 25, 2008


For the record, Dontrelle Willis has made it back to AAA. He's not burning up the league, but in his last two starts, he has pitched pretty well--5 IP  with 3 earned runs, and 6 IP with 2 earned runs. Looks like he could get a Sept. 1 call-up.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pinto! Fredi!

Every one of us sitting in the stands knew disaster was coming Sunday afternoon as Pinto strode to the mound in the 7th on Sunday. ... We had a two run lead and by the end of the inning we were down 8-2. Why, Fredi, why? As run after run crossed the plate. A 27 ERA in his past seven games. Hel- LO? I was imaging that Fredi would say afterward that he had to show confidence in his pitchers less they loss confidence in themselves. And that's exactly what Fredi said. Dr. Feel Good. "The No. 1 thing is he has confidence in himself that he can do it. We'll get him through it." Hey, I think Willie Randolph is available. Ozzie Guillen. ... My buddy says it's like Fredi's potty training Pinto. He keeps putting the kid back on the pot until he gets it right ... Or maybe this is an extended spring training in August cuz Marlins have given up. ... Maybe both Fredi and Pinto should be sent to Double AA for extended training. ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hanging Around

So, they are still in it. The question for today is: Why?

Don't get me wrong--I'm a happy Marlins fan. The season is more successful than we had any right to expect. All Hail Larry Beinfest and Fredi Gonzalez!

They don't field the ball very well, and their starting pitching, until very recently, has been, to put it charitably, inconsistent.  And, right now the bats are slumping. Their run differential is negative--the only team in either league that is still in contention that has a negative run differential.
But they're still in it! Why?

Short answer: I don't know. But,  here are a few interesting stats about the Marlins as a team:

1. Today's starting pitchers aren't bad at all.  They are all slightly better than league average, if you use the ERA+ stat at baseball-reference. Neither the Phillies nor the Mets can match that. Of course, there's a bit of spin in that assertion--three of the Marlins pitchers have relatively few innings. They are young, and they may not withstand the rigors of a pennant race. Volstad has pitched all season, and may begin to tire soon. Sanchez and Johnson are fresh arms, though. The fresh arms have got to be a plus for the Marlins.

2. Using the same ERA+ stat, the Marlins' bullpen is also better than league average:
Gregg, Pinto, Lindstrom, Miller, Waechter and Nelson are all above leave average. This is not too surprising, given the number of come-from-behind victories (33) the Marlins have had. The bullpen is solid. The Phillies' bullpen is better than the Marlins', but the Mets' is not. I don't think ERA is a very useful way to evaluate an individual relief pitcher--too few innings, and some of the runs may be charged to the pitcher he's replacing--but maybe using ERA to look at an entire bullpen isn't so bad.

As a team, the Marlins ERA+ is 93, the Mets 100, and the Phillies 113. The Marlins number includes an aggregate of 266  innings (out of a total of 1064) pitched by Andrew Miller, Mark Hendrickson, and Burke Badenhop. Obviously, since Miller and Badenhop aren't pitching at all, and Hendrickson is a mop up guy, the season long ERA+ probably underestimates the current strength of the pitching staff.

3. Based on the OPS+ stat at baseball reference, the Marlins starting lineup is above average at every position except catcher. At catcher, John Baker is above average, Treanor and Hoover are not. Luis Gonzalez (off the bench) is also an above average hitter by the OPS+ measure.  Neither the Mets nor the Phillies are above average at as many positions as the Marlins. Of course, both the Mets and the Phillies have individual players that score higher on OPS+. But as a team, the Marlins are at 106, the Mets are at 107 and the Phillies are at 103.

Unfortunately, there's no getting around the fact that they have given up 52 unearned runs. Only Arizona (which is in first place), Cincinnati and Washington have given up more. 

The Mets, the Phillies, and the Marlins are all 5-5 for the last 10 games.  Only one of the three is likely to make it to the playoffs (the wild card will almost certainly come from the central division).  While the Phillies are slight favorites, the race is nearly a toss up. Florida is 12-12 against the other two (5-7 against the Mets, 7-5 against the Phils).

The Phils lead the Mets by a game and the Marlins by a game and a half.  One can create some really interesting and bizarre stats by comparing payroll to W-L record. The Mets have one more victory than the Marlins, and a payroll that is probably a bit north of $100 million greater than the Marlins. The frugal Phils have only spent about $70 million or so more than the Marlins for their game and a half edge. Even if the Marlins don't win it, this is an amazing accomplishment. The '97 team had a pretty big payroll, and even the '03 team was below the median,  but not in the bottom 10.

There's another set of bizarre stats that you can generate by combining W-L records with attendance. The Marlins average just under 16,000 at home, and just under 33,000 on the road. I wonder if there has ever been a contending team in any sport that has drawn twice as well on the road as it does at home. 

Who knew there were so many Marlins Maniacs scattered around the country?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Left on Base

After listening of the Tuesday night game against Jaime Moyer, stranding runners in each of three innings, I have gone several web sites trying to see if Marlins lead majors in total runners left on base ... I haven't been able to find it on,, and -- but I'd love to know. ...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Worst Loss of the Year

From our usual half-price Sunday seats in Section 245, it started nice, with Olsen doing six shut-out innings, especially good since he gave up three straight doubles to start the game again the Mets Tuesday night. But ... but my buddy, Mr. Super-Marlin, ranted Fredi blundered by bringing in Pinto in a crucial situation. Pinto hit a batter and then erred on a bunt. Pinto should be in Double AA says Mr. S-M. But they had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with one out and their three-four hitters up, and they couldn't deliver. Arg. Worst loss of the year, said Mr. Super-Marlin and he may be right. Certainly the Tuesday loss to Mets and then the Sunday game were the two back-to-back losses I've seen in person. And now tough road series against Phils and Mets....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why George Steinbrenner Should Be in the Hall of Fame

There's a big push on, you know. My buddy French is outraged. He looks only at the negatives. Twice banned from baseball -- once in 1974 for two years for a felony conviction on illegal campaign contributions, the other time in 1990 when he was suspended for life for paying a small-time gambler $40,000 to get "the dirt" on Winfield, after Winfield complained The Boss failed to deliver on a promis to give $300,000 to Winfield's foundation. What French argues is that George is best known basically for firing Billy Martin (five times) and for spending a lot of money on ball players. In his first 23 seasons, George fired managers 20 times.

But now let's look at the positives. Ronald Reagan pardoned George (all he did was make illegal contributions to Republicans, and what's wrong with that?) and the suspension "for life" lasted a mere three years, because ballball loves him so.

The real reason George belongs in the Hall of Fame is because -- yes! yes! yes! -- of all the money he spent. Underlying the money is how incompetent George is with that money. When you're spending twice as much money as most contenders -- and 10 times what the Marlins pay -- the Yanks should be winning World Series every year. But look at his record.

From the time that Ruth arrived as a gift from the Red Sox, the Yankees have been regular champions. From 1923 to 1962, the longest they went without a World Series was a mere four years. Then arrived the CBS ownership and George (in 1973)... and the Yankees went a record 15 years -- 1962 to 1977 without a World Series victory. Free agency arrived in 1975, when the big pocket book of the Yankees could really made a difference. But after titles in 1977 and 1978 -- an astonishing 18 years went by under George without a World Series title. Now, he's in the midst of a seven-year drought -- and counting. This year he's still struggling to catch up to the lowly team formerly known as the Devil Rays, which must cause great suffering, since he lives in Tampa. (Have a little sympathy!)

For George to give so much money to needy baseball players is indeed a reason to be in the Hall. He has justified today's system in which poor small market teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh) have very little chance. If he had been competent and the Yanks had rolled to title after title, baseball probably would have to revamp. But every once in a while (think 2003) a small market team with a payroll a fraction of the Yankees) wins .. and that continues to justifiy the system. And so, for his utter incompetence to spend dollars to get titles, I hearby nominate for the Hall of Fame, George ... well, on second thought, forget it...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Oh, Hanley

I love him, but look at these batting averages -- first 2008 and and then three-year, from

Leading off inning -- .323 -- .342
Bases loaded -- .167 (one for six) -- .313
Runner on first only -- .345 -- .272
Runner on second -- .200 (7 for 35) -- .289
Runner on third -- .222 (2 for 9) -- .382
Runners on first and second -- .192 (5 for 26) -- .255
Runners on first and third -- .143 (1 for 7) -- .200
Runners on second and third -- .000 (0 for 4) -- .346
Runners in scoring position -- .193 (16 for 83) -- .293
Runners in scoring position, two out -- .200 (10 for 50) -- .270
Close and late -- .286 -- .337

Maybe he's pressing too much this year to justify his big contract, or maybe he's not bearing down enough cuz he has the big contract? Dunno ...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Manny!

You know, I'm happy. Putting him with Marlins would be like putting A-Rod with the Rangers, just a weird fit, bad chemistry, etc. ... LA is a great place for Manny .... as far as Arthur Rhodes, our new Tankersly, well, let's hope for the best.... remember Dennis Cook in 1997? Man, throughout the play offs he mowed them down... Rhodes too is a veteran reliever (38 years old) ... Rhodes underwent Tommy J surgery last year ... Beinfest was on radio Thursday night during rain delay and though he couldn't talk about deals not made, he said Marlins didn't want to give up its young pitchers, which is what maybe the Pirates wanted ... (Though he gave up Gaby Hernandez, a young pitcher, for Rhodes, so they must have given up on him) ... And maybe we can still pick up a catcher on waivers... and now, during the rain delay, the guys are talking about Andrew Miller coming back -- "a lot of reasons to be excited" -- oh, no, i don't want to see AM any more this year....

For the Record

The Marlins have played their last 7 games against two first place teams. Four of those games were on the road, three at home.  They won 4 and lost 3.  They sure feel like contenders to me, but I hope they don't give away too much to get Manny. . .

Pudge at 36 is not the player he was '03. Great player, past his prime, a catcher coming into a new league on August 1, doesn't know the pitching staff or the other teams. Not sure how much he would have been worth to the Marlins. 

I want PUDGE

Forget Manny, over-priced baby. Pudge was on the market, and he went for Farmsworth, an over-priced reliever who chokes in key situations (see Marlins Cubs playoffs 2003) ... Was Detroit asking more for Pudge than Marlins were willing to give? Heck, Pinto is better than Farnsworth. Maybe Dombrowski didn't want to do another trade with Marlins cuz he doesn't dare look like a chump twice in one season in dealing with a $22 million team. ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Early today, CNN SI picked up a rumor somewhere that the Marlins were talking to the BoSox about Manny. Now (after lunch), Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports is saying that it may actually make sense. He also says the rumor is that either Hermida or Willingham plus a prospect go to the BoSox, the BoSox have to pay most of Manny's salary for the rest of this year, and Manny has to agree to decline salary arbitration so that the Marlins don't lose a draft pick after they decline his '09 option. Basically, it would be the same kind of deal the Braves did with the Angels for Texeira.

Does this make any sense at all?  If I were the BoSox I'd love to have Hermida's bat (and future) in Fenway and would figure that Willingham may not have much value, but even so has more value after this season than Manny. 

The Marlins probably figure that Willingham will be gone next year, and that Maybin will be in center with Ross and Hermida at the corners. And Josh ain't exactly tearing up the league here lately.

Manny would get the Marlins lots of local attention, and fill some seats over the next couple of months.

If they do the deal, I hope its for Willingham, not Hermida.

A Humid Night with Too Many Mets Fans

Aw, man, Tuesday night was pretty awful. Losing 4-1 in front of 25,000, all of them packed into the lower deck. We were in our usual Tuesday half-price-with Herald-coupon seats in Section 102, by the Mets bullpen, and the place was packed, with thousands of people not knowing they're in a ballpark and need to sit down, and wandering out every half-inning it seemed to get more snacks. Clearly, it was a night showing why Dolphins football stadium is not built to watch baseball, with so many people obscuring home plate for too many plays, with my friend French bellowing, "Sit down!" far too many times.... And loud and chortling Mets fans everywhere, enough to give you a headache. But here it is, the end of July, and the $20 million Marlins are battling the $100 million Mets for first place, and I got to see a Big League game for $11.50... And Olsen settled down after giving up three straight doubles in the first.... And Anibel Sanchez returns on Thursday night ...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Runners in Scoring Position, Two Out

Wanna get the run home? Get a pitcher to the plate:
1 -- Josh Johnson batting .500 -- 1 hit in two at bats
2 -- Jorge Cantu -- .415 in 41 at bats
3 -- Scott Olsen -- .375 -- 8 at bats
4 -- Alfredo A-MEZ-e-ga -- .320 -- 31 at bats
Others: Uggla .278, Hanley .213

Source: on Sat afternoon, 7/26

Miscellaneous Stats

Did you know?
Total base leaders:
Hanley 222 plus 50 walks for 272
Cantu 198 TB plus 28 BB 226
Uggla 188 and 43 for 231
Hermida 162 plus 34 for 196
Jacobs 152 and 19 for 171
Ross 138 and 19 for 157

Cantu and Jacobs don't walk much ...
Stats from at 5:34 on Sat 7/26, probably not including the Sat game. ...

Thoughts on the Marlins Beating the Cubbies on a Saturday Afternoon

The Bartman curse continues. We are now getting close to the fifth anniversary when the lovable, adorable Cub fans changed into monsters, starting a curse that still hexes the team because they blamed a poor nerdy guy for 17 runs crossing the plate all because he tried to catch a foul ball. Not until Cubs fans personally and profoundly apologize to this innocent fan, not until they build monuments in his honor will the Bartman curse be lifted. I am sure Bartman is willing to forgive and forget, but that's not the point. The point is that the monster fans were willing to blame a fellow fan rather than their miserable players. Well, the Marlins scored EIGHT runs in that inning after Bartman allegedly interfered. There was a lot of bad pitching and a big error by the Cubs shortstop, but how can sports writers keep blaming a fan for EIGHT runs? And Wood could have sent them to the WS the next night, in game 7, but he gave up SEVEN runs and Farmsworth another TWO . ... Josh Beckett pitched four innings in relief in that seventh game to preserve a 9-6 victory. But it's so much easier to blame the fan. ...
And so the $20 million Marlins on a Saturday afternoon in extra innings beat the $100 million Cubs ... and the Bartman Curse continues.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hope at the All Start Break

Wow ... Josh Johnson is back, not a super outing, but a solid one, and then Volstad with a super outing. ... I saw him get Volstad get his first win, in Denver, sitting in lower deck right field, a $26 seat. ... at dolphins stadium, same seats on a sunday are $16 ... they had about 25,000 in attendance. we get about 11,000 .... they said it was volstad's major league debut in denver, and i thought they were wrong, cuz i'd seen him before... when i got home, i remembered, i saw him at dolphins stadium pitch four innnings against yankees in that exhibition game. gave up no runs .... and if a sanchez comes back ... and we get a catcher ... and ... and ... we're only half way through the season ....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Interesting Pitching Tidbits

With Nolasco's victory today, I was wondering what his chances of making the All Star team are. So, I went to The Hardball Times and looked at the sabermetric pitching stats. 

Since I have posted here several times on the subject Andrew Miller, I was gratified, and quite surprised, to learn that Miller really shines in a couple of sabermetric stats.

Hardball Times has a stat they call Fielding Independent Pitching, which is supposed to measure only the stuff that the pitcher is responsible for. Obviously, HR, walks, HBP and  SO are the key numbers. 

Well, by that measure, Andrew Miller absolutely shines. In fact, he does a little  better than Johan Santana!

Not that young Andrew is going to make the All Star team--he's not--and Nolasco might make it with another good start or two. But  Miller really could be something special.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Trade

Mr. Marlin Superfan sez: Trade Jacobs for a mid-level catcher. We have a bunch of second string catchers and Jacob is good only for home runs. No BA, no RBI, no fielding. You move Cantu to first, bring up McPherson and his 28 HR from AAA. Well, why not?

Another Comparison

Player A: 14 HR; 47 RBI; .802 OPS; 46 runs created

Player B: 11 HR; 48 RBI; .811 OPS; 49 runs created.

Player A is Jorge Cantu; Player B is is the guy Cantu replaced,  Miguel Cabrera.

On a related note, Dontrelle Willis pitched 2 innings yesterday, gave up one hit, one earned run,  3 walks and no strike outs. He was pitching in relief, for the class A Lakeland Tigers. As far as I can tell, it was his first appearance since being sent down in early June.

Don't get me wrong, Miggy is a wonderful player, and Dontrelle may well return to his former glory. I have fond memories of both, and wish them nothing but the best. But the Marlins are a better team without them than they were with them.

Larry Beinfest is a genius. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maybe there's still hope...

Well, since they went on the road playing Mets and Phils a month ago, this team has been struggling to be a .500 team. As LeBatard says, you can't go to the post-season with this starting pitching. But if
1 -- Josh Johnson comes back to his old form.
2 -- Dallas McPherson (.310 BA, 28 homers in AAA) takes over at third and Cantu moves to first.
3 -- Maybe Volstad (4-3 and 3.28 in AA)
4 -- And then what about Maybin, after a slow start, coming on strong in June, batting .315 with 5 HR and 18 RBIs.

Or maybe, probably, this is all a bit early, and 2009 will be THE year.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who should start the All Star Game at Second Base

Chase Utley has a commanding lead in the All Star balloting, and no doubt he will end up starting the game in Yankee Stadium. Dan Uggla is well over a million votes behind, in 4th place. 

Let's take a look at the numbers:

Utley:   BA--.291; OBP--.379; SLG--.599; HR--22; RBI--63; OPS--.997
Uggla: BA--.294; OBP--.379; SLG--.643; HR--23; RBI--57;  OPS--1.022

Maybe Utley has some advantage if you look at the more modern, sabermetric stats

Utley--Runs Created--60; Outs--213; BA/RISP--.262; win shares (which includes defense)--15
Uggla--Runs Created--61; Outs--200; BA/RISP--.291; win shares--15

Well, maybe its defense, then. . .

Utley--4 throwing errors, 3 fielding errors; fielding percentage--.982
Uggla--3 throwing errors, 3 fielding errors; fielding percentage--.983

Uggla has started 22 double plays, and turned 28, while Utley has started 19 and turned 29. (This stat courtesy of the Hardball Times; ESPN's stats differ from THT, and baseball-reference differs from both. I don't know why.)

Utley does have more range than Uggla, so his overall defensive rating is higher than Dan's. According to baseball-reference, Uggla's range factor is 4.87, while Utley's is 5.05 (at second base--he's also played some first). The league average is 4.08.

As of today, Uggla is leading the NL in two statistical categories: extra base hits, and at bats per home run. Utley is leading in one--HBP. 

It is quite common to read or hear that Utley is having a phenomenal year, and it really is too bad about Uggla, but look at the year Utley is having. . . And its true Chase Utley is having an absolutely wonderful year. It's just not quite as good as Dan Uggla's.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


Jayson Stark at ESPN reports that the Marlins are shopping for a center fielder, a catcher, and bullpen help, because the Marlins believe they are in the race to stay. He says they are willing to trade arbitration eligible players (he mentions Willingham) plus prospects, for players they can control for several years. He says Johnson has been clocked at 96, and the Marlins are confident he will be back soon.

I have been thinking that Willingham's return will present a quandry for the Marlins. Right now, their lineup alternates between lefties and righties, and Gonzo has been a productive hitter, especially in the clutch. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Once Again NY Times Distorts History

NYT writer Jack Curry, who should know better, once again resurrected the most magical moment in the history of sports. A fan almost caught a foul ball -- and what happened? Eight runs scored. (Sometimes I say 17, it depends on how you count.) Curry, in Saturday's edition of the Times, was writing about what a great reliever Kerry Wood is. Just like Murry Chass has urged on more than one occasion that the Marlins be abolished, Curry has to make sure that it was magic, not the Marlins, that caused that wondrous event in 2003: "The Cubs came within five outs of getting to the World Series. But Steve Bartman interfered with a foul ball in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, and Wood lost Game 7. Well, the Marlins scored EIGHT runs in that inning after Bartman allegedly interfered. There was a lot of bad pitching and a big error by the Cubs shortstop, but how can sports writers keep blaming a fan for EIGHT runs? And Wood could have sent them to the WS the next night, in game 7, but he gave up SEVEN runs and Farmsworth another TWO . ... Josh Beckett pitched four innings in relief in that seventh game to preserve a 9-6 victory. But it's so much easier to blame the fan.

Thursday Night and the Phillies

We were in section 101 with the half-price tickets, 11th row, and we left the game bummed out, losing 3-0, failing to sweep the first place Phillies. The game started 45 minutes late, because of a drizzle that kept the tarp on the field till game time. But hey that's not bad for South Florida. From our vantage point, I was guessing 18,000 to 22,000 were there. The sections behind the bullpens were packed. But in fact, it must have been all those Phillies fans and others avoiding the high price infield tickets. The box score said attendance was 15,202 -- just a tad above normal. It was only the next morning that I woke up and thought -- hey, we saw a pretty damn good ball game. Olsen went five innings without allowing a run against the super-hitting Phils, and then those two runs scoring on a wild pitch, well, that's something to tell your grandkids about. For $11.50 a ticket, it was a damn good entertainment. The Marlins are battling. As my friend Orlando pointed out, it was sure a better performance than the Cards gave the next night, losing to the Phillies 20-2.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Since I proposed on May 13 that by June 12th we'd know more about the Marlins' chances, I feel obliged to post about what I think we've learned in the last month. They were 8 games over .500 a month ago; now they are 6, and they are still outperforming their pythagorean projections. 

1. The everyday lineup is solid at the plate. They hit well enough to contend. Barring injury, it seems as likely to me that they could improve (because of Willingham returning and Jones leaving) as go the other way. 

2. The defense is not even league average, and they are going to have to get better, or luckier, to stay in the race.

3. The starting pitching is erratic. Miller's bad starts are getting less bad, and his good starts are getting better and more frequent; likewise Olsen. Mark Wiley is doing a very good job. I am high on Tucker, but in fairness it is too soon to tell what sort of impact he will have the rest of the year.
4. The relief pitching, which started the season so strong, is still pretty good, but not as good as it was.  The starting pitching needs to get better to lessen the stress on the bullpen.

5. The NL east race has also changed significantly. I must say that I think the Phillies are by far the toughest competition they have in the division (and they are 3-3 in the season series so far). The Mets just can't seem to get untracked, and the Braves (also 3 games under .500) are snakebit. Chipper Jones has had a historically great year so far. What happens if Jones doesn't continue at his current torrid pace?  Somehow, I doubt if the NL is going to be a 4 team race. That makes the wild card more of a possibility than I had thought, and it makes the Marlins less likely to win the division. I can easily imagine Philadelphia going into September with a fairly big lead (say, 6 or 8 games).

6. Their interleague schedule also appears much tougher today than it did before the season began. Oakland and Tampa Bay are better than we thought, and Seattle is not as good. 

There are many more reasons for optimism today than there were on opening day: they are a much better team than we thought, and better without Willis and Cabrera than they were with them, which is a pretty amazing thing to me at least. 

Beinfest is just amazing at finding talent. (If he could figure out a way to bring back Perry Hill, or find a suitable replacement. . .) I suspect he will be looking to make a move before the trade deadline, looking to improve the team because he thinks they are close enough to contention to merit taking the risk.  If he makes a move in the next few weeks, then you know he thinks they can be in contention all year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Observations on a Wed Night with Marlins leading 2-1

1 -- Isn't it great that a sesaon ticket holder since 1993 has the Griffey ball? Man, he deserves it.
2 -- Saw Tucker pitch Sunday. Good fastball, something that seemed like a great slider, just a couple of miles slower than fast ball... and good strike outs... but man, he needs to throw more strikes.
3 -- Remember when Mets whined that they always had to play Yanks in interleague play while the Marlins got the lowly Rays? Well, now the lowly Mets play the lowly Yanks while the battlin' Marlins play the super-tough Rays.
4 -- And finally, remember the Mendoza line -- whether a batter can get over .200 named in honor of shortstop Mario Mendoza. Well, now we have the Jones, named after Jacque Jones, and here in the middle of June he has managed to crawl just about .100 -- the Jones line. He's gotten up to .108.

All this while feeling good on a Wed night, where Andrew Miller had a good outing, going 7 innings, giving up one run, and Cantu hammered a couple of homers, leaving Marlins fans snickering at the Tigers trade. .... and LeBatard had Sampson on the radio, and Big Dan told the truth when he said no team with starting pitching this bad ever makes the playoffs. And he's right, but there's Tucker and Josh Johnson maybe on the way and .. well, it's only June....

Sunday, June 8, 2008


It's about time they called up Ryan Tucker--I wrote about him in my April 25 post.
Volsted will be next. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Big Test

June 7: OK, let's look again at French's prescient observation on May 13 about how that late May road trip and then the early June homestand was going to tell a lot: They were 3-7 on the tough road trip. They have now lost the first game of the homestand against the young, charging Reds and they have three with the Phillies coming up.
They are now 3.5 games out of first. A ton of blown saves, heart-breaking losses. This is a young, tough scrappy team. But it is not looking like a first-place team.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1

For the record, the Marlins are in first place in the NL east on the first of June.  On May 13, when I wrote that the next few weeks would tell us how good they are, they were 8 games over .500. Today, they are still 8 games over .500, and 6-4 for their last 10. 
Right now, the hot hands belong to Nolasco and Cody Ross. Just about everyone on the team is contributing. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jacques Jones

I doubt if Jones is costing the Fish much money. But would they have bothered if they didn't think this team has a future?  Loria spent money during the season in '03 when he knew he had a potential contender. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Good Are They?

They are 8 games over .500 after last night's tough loss. If the NL east turns into a 4 team race, the winning team will probably finish about 10-12 games above .500. . .At what point do we start to think of this team as being potentially in the race all summer? 
I'm going to suggest a date: June 12th. They still haven't faced the Phillies, or the Mets at Shea. (They are 4-4 vs. the Mets and Braves, while beating up on the hapless Nats--which is exactly what you expect a good team to do.) After the series in Cincy, they come home to face the Royals, DBacks and Giants, followed by a 9 game roadtrip against the Phillies, Mets and Braves, starting May 26.  Then they return home to face the Reds and the Phillies. The last Phillies game is on June 12. 

Right now, the stats imply that their record is a temporary illusion--their defense in particular is suspect. They give up far fewer unearned runs than expected, based on the number of errors they've committed. And its hard to put much faith in the starting pitching--they've been good for the last couple of weeks, but can they sustain it? 

This has been an unexpectedly hopeful season for the Fish. Even if they fade, as most people expect, there has been a lot of positive stuff: the Hanley contract; Olsen's turnaround; Beinfest's ability to grab marginal players like Cantu and Hendrickson and get production out of them; Miller's improvement; the bullpen, especially Pinto; the improved (to almost league average in terms of unearned runs), and perhaps still improving defense (even after Cantu's error last nite).  

At least for now, the Cabrera/Willis trade looks pretty good.  

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two bits of trivia

1 -- on question from post below about what ML teams have never lost a series in post-season. Well, there's the, ahem, Marlins, and the team that was formerly known as the Devil Rays. But what about the Washington Nationals. Certainly, never in post-season. Their predecessor, the Expos. were leading in 1994 when the season was wiped out. But a web search showed that in the 1981 split season they were in the playoffs. They defeated the Phillies, 3-2, then lost to the Dodgers.
2 -- When I went to a ball game with Tom, he asked -- which pitcher won the most games for the Marlins in the inaugural season fo 1993. The answer is Chris Hammond. Remember him?
-- This is written from the Marlins foreign outpost of Barcelona ....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday's Game

From my perch in Section 110. Miller didn't look bad, Pinto looked good, and the Marlins ended up with an easy victory. Its easy to imagine Miller improving a bunch before the season is over. Of course, the Padres do have an anemic batting order . . .

The Marlins have given up 14 more runs than they have scored, which means that their record continues to be better than you'd expect. Unfortunately, it appears that their defense seems to be getting worse--they've given up 15 unearned runs, while the league average is 13. They've committed 33 errors, which is the most in the NL, so I guess one reason their record is better than you'd expect is that they haven't given up as many unearned runs as they could have, given the number of errors they've committed. Perhaps the strong bullpen has something to do with that. . .

Its a fun team to watch, one that you can imagine improving this season and possibly for the next year or two--if Loria will spring for the bucks to keep Hanley. If Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez come back strong by next season, the Marlins will be looking to trade some pitching for everyday players. 

A word about Maddux: Treanor's hard hit grounder to third that was scored as a hit could have been an inning ending DP, just like Cantu's a couple of innings later.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Marlins are trend setters again

When the season started, the Marlins were the only team in baseball whose highest paid player was a relief pitcher. The Giants are the first, but doubtless not the last team, to copy the savvy Beinfest's strategy.  
As always, the Marlins come up with these innovations within severe salary constraints
--Gregg makes about $2,5 million on a one year deal, while Zito makes close to $15 million this year, with another 4 or 5 years at the same level to come. 
 The Marlins record is 15-10; the Giants are 12-15.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Triiva Quiz

How many teams have never lost a post-season series? I can only think of two -- and they're in the same state.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Extra Inning Shutout

Well, pinch me, the dream's gotta end soon, right? But another great game Friday night and Wes Helms comes through, but what's really wow is the pitching.... Anyway, back to where I was a few days ago about hitting left-handed pitching. Here is the complete breakdown of the starting lineup, via ESPN stats:
Hanley -- .348 lefties, .328 righties
Uggla -- .111 – .305
Hermida -- .231 -- .286
Willingham – 310 – 340
Jacobs -- .161 -- .346
Cantu -- .350 – 316
Rabelo -- .333 -- .270
Amezega – .000 (8 at bats) .341

Uggla may just be having a slow start. His three year splits show .279 against lefties, .259 against righties.
Amezega's three year totals are .154, .281, which is why we see Cody Ross in center field when lefties are around.
And Jacobs? His three year averages are .245, .274, so he can hit lefties, he just isn't doing it so far this year...
For what it's worth.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Down on the Farm

In  2003, Dontrelle Willis made six starts in AA ball before being called up. He pitched 36 innings, walking 9 and striking out 32. His WHIP was 0.92 and his ERA was 1.50.

Check these numbers out, from this year's AA team:
Four starts, 22 innings pitched, 6 walks, 21 strike outs; WHIP 1.05; ERA of 1.64. 

No, its not Chris Volsted, who almost made the club in spring training, and is pitching pretty well for the same team. 

It's the righty Ryan Tucker, who is 21 years old. He and Volsted were both picked in the first round in 2005.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday April 20

I was there, and it was just about a perfect victory. The best part was not Hanley's two home runs going deep deep into left center, but Scot Olson going seven strong innings and giving up one run. And TT working out of a jam ... But being a cup-is-half-empty kind of guy, let me mention this about Jacobs, who is showing signs of really coming into his own this year, in hitting and fielding. Fredi played him Sunday versus a tough lefty pitcher, as well he should have. Jacobs has to be more than a platoon player. So far this year, he's hitting .429 with men on and two out. Well, Mike went 0-3 versus the lefty. shows he's batting .372 against righties, .227 against lefties.... Hope he can improve on that....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Stats: The Good, the Bad and the Uggla

First, the good news -- Marlins are not leading the league in strike outs. That honor belows to the Padres, who have whiffed 135 times to the Marlins 123 (ESPN stats as of 10:20 am Sat 4/19). They're sixth in total bases ... 11th in runs scored.... The Marlins continue to have the worst ERA in the NL (the Tigers beat them in AL). But at least they're getting the ball over the plate. Their pitchers are eighth in walks surrendered. And then there's Dan Uggla -- batting .167, striking out once in every four plate appearances. On Friday night, he not only struck out three times, but stranded three base runners.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Big Fat Rich Marlins has the 2008 report now here . The Marlins had a net operating profit of $35 million. That was NOT the highest in the Majors. ... The Nationals got that honor with $43.7 million. The Marlins value as a franchise is now $256 million (didn't Loria pay about $150m?), which is below even that of the lowly TB Rays ($290 million). The Marlins did have the lowest revenue in the majors, so they had to squeeze that huge profit out by ... well, you know how they did that. ...

Wednesday night

Well, I was there, another victory, only 10,000 fans cuz the Braves fans that used to flood the park have given up on a medicore Braves team. A little bit of starting pitching, some home runs, and hey, we're still in first place. So let's enjoy this while we can ... that runner in scoring position number is awful. ... I'd still like to see someone figure out how many runs get scored in an inning in which the Marlins bunt. I'll betcha it's close to zero.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some revealing stats

The Marlins are in first place, but its hard to see them staying there for long.
Here are a few stats, through the games of April  14th:
their opponents have outscored them by an aggregate of 19 runs. 
the Marlins team batting average with runners in scoring positions is .194, worst in the NL. (Interestingly, their OPS is.802, which is second best in the league. Imagine what they must be hitting without runners in scoring position. Maybe Fredi should put blinders on the batters, like they do with racehorses that get spooked easily in company. . .)

The Marlins pitching staff has an ERA that is about a half a run higher than the next two teams--the Nats and the Pirates. Keep in mind that the Marlins pitchers have been facing some pretty weak teams while compiling these statistics. After Olson's performance last nite, that ERA will come down a bit, but they will still have the highest team ERA in the league.

But there is good news--Hermida is hitting some, Hanley is off to a marvelous start, Jacobs is finally hitting the way we've been expecting him to for the last few years, and it looks like Wiley may be having a really positive impact on Olson, if not (yet) on Miller. 

So far, it looks like the Marlins may have a league average fielding team. They have given up a total of 5 unearned runs so far, and the league average is 6. 
League average is a big improvement over last year. 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday thoughts

1 -- If our rookie Badenhop goes 6 innings and gives up 2 runs today, that would be huge. If he puts up Andrew Miller numbers, well...
2 -- As of 2 pm Sunday, the Marlins are second in the National League with 191, second only to Arizona.
3 -- In ERA, we are dead last in the NL -- 5.45 -- behind even the Colorado "Humidor" Rockies.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Game of April 9 2008

Remember this game: Marlins 10, Nationals 4. Olson goes 7-2/3 innings, 120 pitches. Hermida returns from an injury and goes 2-5 with two RBIs. Jacobs hits two home runs. Then our young phenom, Burke Badenhop, just in from AA, pitches a perfect ninth inning in his Major League debut. AND we are still in first place in the National League East. Can't get much better than that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

But what about batting?

Well, total bases -- the category that really shows what a batter produces -- as of 10:15 pm Tuesday according to ESPN
1 -- Hanley 20
2 -- Willingham 12 (the New Jeff Conine)
3 -- Uggla 11
4 -- Jacobs 10
5 -- Luis Gonzalez 10
6 -- Robert Andino 9
7 -- Cantu 8
8 -- Amezega 7

Maybe we should keep that Andino around for a bit ... what would his arm be like throwing from third base, I wonder.

After you're done chortling about Detroit...

being 0-7 and Marlins being on top of their division, let's take a look at our starting pitching:
1 -- "Ace" Hendrickson -- 6.10
2 -- VandenHurk -- 11.81 -- GONE
3 -- Andrew Miller -- 12.91 -- NOT GONE
4 -- Scott Olsen -- 6.00 -- Our Superstud

And should we worry about Gregg? 4.15 ....

But with the Bad Hop Bears and Nolasco on the way, it'll have to get better, right?

Team ERA 6.19 -- on this quiet Tuesday night, that's the worst in the National League.

Down on the Farm

Through last nite, Cameron Maybin is hitting .467 in AA.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Big Dutchman

Well, I saw my first regular game of the season ... VandenHurk, 2-1/3 innings, 75 pitches, 11.81 ERA. We were thinking, he should be sent down, and indeed after the game he was. ... But ... but... hope springs eternal, several very nice fielding plays by Mike Jacobs, this guy who used to be a piece of wood at his position, is really coming along. And Amezega made two really nice plays in center field -- both of them astonishing, really.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Baseball's Worst Team Ever

Hey, our pathetic starting pitching and we're 2-2. We're already way ahead of the Worst Team Ever ...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Game 3

The good news is that, for the first time this year, a Marlins pitcher went past the fourth inning. 4-1/3 innings, to be exact. Talk about hunting for silver linings in a 13-0 loss. .... Addendum: Well, my memory was faulty. I was thinking Hendrickson didn't get out of the fourth in the opener, as he surrendered six runs. Well, he actually pitched through the fifth ... It's just that he didn't get through the fourth without disaster. ....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Game 2 2008

Well, thoughts ... I was half-asleep, suffering from a cold-flu bug, listening mostly on radio, so correct me if my memory is faulty. In the fourth, Marlins have runner on third, two out and they walk Hanley to get to Uggla. And I knew, I KNEW, what was coming up. A strike-out. How many times last year did Uggla strike out with two outs and runners in scoring position? A ton. ... More exactly, according to, Big Dan last year came to the plate 83 times with runners in scoring position and two out. His batting average: .133. He struck out 26 times, far more than the 11 hits he managed in that situation.

... And then Fredi doesn't believe it's a fair game if he insists on Marlins getting 27 outs in a game. So he gives up four of these outs, called technically "sacrifices." The announcers said they were proud how well the Marlins batters were learning "fundamentals," meaning voluntarily making outs.... How many of these sacrifices led to runs? Not a one. ... And then -- did I possibly hear this right? -- Marlins pitchers had nine NINE 3-0 counts during the game.... And then came Andino in the 10th. YES! Take that you arrogant Mets ....

Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening day

While it may be far-fetched and absurd, I'm going to try to create a scenario that puts the Marlins in contention right through the end of the season. (Personally, I think that's all a fan can expect--there's so much luck involved in the last few weeks and the playoffs.) After all, today is opening day.

So, here's what needs to happen:
1. Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley is able to work some of the magic that he worked with Dontrelle a few years ago, and Olsen, Hendrickson and Miller win 15 games apiece. VandenHurk pitches 150 innings, and gets his ERA below 5. Perry Hill returns as fielding coach, and the Marlins become a league-average defensive team. Hanley and Uggla are among the league's leaders in double-plays.
2. We relearn the lesson of 03, when the Marlins brought up Dontrelle and Miggy in midseason to get an extra year of control over their salary (or so said fired manager Jeff Torborg), and Chris Volstad joins the team midyear and make an immediate impact. If any Marlins outfielder goes down, Maybin comes up and also has an immediate impact.
3. Outfielders Jeremy Hermida and Cody Ross prove that their '07 second halves were not flukes, and continue to hit for average and power as they did after last year's all star break.
4. Josh Willingham again is among the league leaders in BA w/ RISP while Hanley Ramirez has another monster year with the bat.
5. Dan Uggla strikes out less than 100 times, while hitting 30 HR and batting .270; Jorge Cantu has league-average stats at 3B. 
6. The Marlins have a hot streak when they are facing their division rivals the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. They also beat their traditional AL rivals, the BayRays (or whatever they're called) 6 times, while the Braves, Mets and Phillies are splitting their interleague games against stronger schedules.

Like I said, its opening day . . . 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Damn Yankees

Saw the Marlins for the first time this year Saturday night -- Section 451, row 6 -- love that view, too bad those seats aren't available often ... Of course, being a Marlins fan, I'm used to the other team's fans dominating the game.... The plus was Volstad looked sharp... The minus was that sickening crash of De Aza in left center in the top of ninth, not only losing the game but also (once again?) a highly talented young guy who was out much of last year .... And today's Herald gives a roster payroll of $17 million -- by far the lowest in the majors ... geez.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Is There Any Worse Starting Rotation in the Majors?

Well, we do have a basketball team: Hendricks (6-9 with an ERA last year of 5.21), Vandenhurk (6-5 and 6.83), Andrew Miller (6-6 and 5.63), Scott Olsen (6-5 and 5.81) and Ricky Nolasco (6-2 point guard with 5.48). Is there any starting rotating that's worse in the Majors this year? I wonder how long its bad since there have been five pitchers with that bad an ERA were some team's rotation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kim Folk Part II

This is a pretty pathetic post, but then the Marlins have the markings of a pretty pathetic team. Byung-Hyun Kim has just been released by the Pirates (not exactly one of your stellar teams) and perhaps the Marlins should pick him up. The thing is, he can go out there and pitch some innings. He was 9-5 with Marlins last year, on the worst team in the NL East, with an ERA of 6 (well, 5.84.). He was also with two other teams ... But he can soak up some innings ... about five innings per game in his 19 starts with Marlins... You look at innings pitched by our prospective starters this year, and losing Dontrelle's 200-plus inning dependability, there isn't a lot there... Actually, maybe this is too pathetic a thought for spring ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 Marlins

Carolina Bolado at Hardball Times has the best summary yet of how I feel about this Orange Bowl location:
"The choice of location ... has one glaring problem: there is no reliable public transit anywhere near the stadium, which is in a fairly dense urban neighborhood. Rush hour traffic is already nightmarish; add a weekday 7 p.m. game into the mix, and it could be enough to turn people off. (Which, if you noticed the number of empty orange seats at Marlins games last year, you’d know that’s something the team cannot afford to do.) The local government keeps promising an east-west Metrorail expansion that will include an Orange Bowl stop, but the earliest estimate for completion is 2014 (the Marlins’ stadium should open in 2011), which is very, very optimistic.But, in the end, the important thing is that the team is staying in town and getting a stadium that, in theory, should provide a revenue stream that will allow for things like higher salaries and multi-year contracts."
Her excellent 5Q on Marlins is at ....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Miguel Cabrera's value

Here's an interesting stat comparison:

reported value of Miguel Cabrera's new 8 year contract with the Tigers: $152.3 million

Projected value of Cabrera over the next 8 years, per The Baseball Economist: $268 million.  Bradbury calls it an amazing deal for the Tigers, because baseball salaries have been growing  at an annual rate of about 10% for an extended period of time.

value of the Florida Marlins franchise, per Forbes magazine: $244 million.  In fairness that estimate predates the agreement to build the new stadium.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Late Bloomer?

Let's take a look at the stats of our opening day starter, Mark Hendrickson ... I was hoping to see him yesterday, in Fort Lauderdale, but sat through a rain delay that included the most confused, slow and incompetent grounds grew I've ever seen, while reading a bio of Christy Mathewson, which includes a lot about his reputation as an upright moral person (he was the one who said his own teammate, Fred Merkle, didn't touch second base, which cost the Giants a World Series) and gives not much on his baseball accomplishments (in the 1905 World Series, he pitched three shutouts in a six-day span). ... Well, I've looked at Mark Hendrickson, and he's no Christy Mathewson. He is 33, will be 34 in June. Last year, he had his introduction to the National League, starting 12 games. His ERA was 4.68, but actually that's misleading, says Bill James. His ERC -- what his ERA should have been, given his rawing pitching statistics -- was 5.29. But hey, he's had a good spring, and there's always hope, right? Meanwhile, an anonymous scout tells Barry Jackson of The Herald that the Marlins could win 70 to 75 games this year, considerably higher than the sabermetrics model. So there's an upside ....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Marlins Next Great Reliever

Bill James says the Marlins' saviour this year will be .... Renyel Pinto. And why not? So the dumb cluck allegedly jammed his right foot while getting out of bed in Jupiter and has a bad toe. So he hasn't had much of a spring. He's 25, 6-4. Last year, he couldn't stand the pressure, according to the BJ Handbook (my baseball bible now that the Sporting News Baseball Register seems to have vanished (I can't find it on Amazon.) In 2007, he had one save in six opportunities. (Did he blow those, or was he yanked for Gregg? Lemme look it up ... Well, lists him as having five blown saves.... So last year he coulnd't stand the pressure, but he's a big strong guy and his ERA of 3.68 last year wasn't awful ... (at least to us battered Marlins fans.) ....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Bill James Trivia Question

In his excellent book, Bill James Gold Mine 2008, he says for the last seven seasons, the Marlins have had a different pitcher each year who led the team in saves. Then he asks which of these does not belong on the list (if you get this wrong, you're on the wrong blog): Antonio Alfonseca, Armando Benitez, Vladimir Nunez, Todd Jones, Chad Fox, Joe Borowski, Ugueth Urbina and Kevin Gregg.... Too easy, right? OK, try to guess this: Bill James says this year the Marlins will once again have a different pitcher leading the team in saves. Guess who.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kim Folk

Where is Byung-Hyun Kim now that we really need him? Last year, our most successful starters were Dontrelle (10 wins, gone), Scott Olsen (10 wins, injured but recovering?), B-H Kim (9 wins, five losses, the team's best w-l percentage, and where is he now?), and Sergio Mitre (27 starts, five wins, according to Bill James book, which is hard to believe, and is kind of an injured question mark). So ... you can either say we're in deep do-do when it comes to starting pitching, or this year's crop can't be any worse than last year's, and maybe, just maybe.... well, it's spring.
-- John Dorschner

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Worst Team in the Majors 2008

The Hardball Times Season Preview 2008 is out. They ran 100 computer simulations on the 2008 schedule, "including individual player projections." And the worst team of 2008 -- drum roll, please.... is ... drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmm... The Florida Marlins!

Projected wins 63. Projected runs scored 721. Projected runs given up 892. That means they score 4.45 runs a game and give up 5.5 -- gee a one-run spread.... that means the games might be watchable ... none of these 11-2 blowouts!

If you're curious, Tampa Bay is projected to have 75 wins, Baltimore 69, Washington 70, Pittsburgh 70 and San Francisco 70.

Bad pitching, awful fielding, and we've lost Miggy ... and the experts say Hanley may have a bit of a slide in production.

But gosh, only a one-run spread per game. That's a plus, right?

-- John Dorschner


Well, slowly the baseball season comes over me.... Partly I return to baseball because I learned that there are already a tremendous number of websites dedicated to Eduardo Chivas and Jeff Lebowski, including blogspots, and so I have come to decide that perhaps the world does not need to hear from me how Chivas changed the landscape of Miami forever or how The Big Lebowski MUST BE the greatest movie of all time. And so I turn to baseball. I listen a little to the Marlins on the radio. I go to a game at Barry U, where they play decent baseball, and I see a game decided in the bottom of the ninth (and another in the 10th). I got to see the Red Sox in Fort Lauderdale, a madhouse of a traffic jam in which there are only a couple of BoSox regulars, although one is Mike Lowell, who gets a standing O from me ...
-- John Dorschner

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Not too much enthusiasm

Well, for some reason, since the Detroit trade, I've really had a hard time getting into baseball this year... I've been to one ball game -- or part of one, Barry U versus Palm Beach Atlantic, which Barry won in the bottom of the ninth, after blowing a three-run lead in the top of the ninth. Except for the clank of those dang aluminum bats, it was good baseball. Next Friday I'm going with a buddy to see the Orioles and Red Sox ( more ex-Marlins!), and I'm thinking of buying a Tigers hat.... In the meantime, I'm thinking of blogging on two people: Eduardo Chibas and Jeff Lebowski. More on that later.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Luis Gonzalez?

The rumor is that the Marlins are trying to sign Luis Gonzalez to play some LF and 1B. 
 This seems like an odd move, unless there are more moves in the works. Where will Willingham play? Jacobs has not been a success so far, but are they giving up on him? What about Ross, who had such a fabulous second half?  Who is going to play 3rd? 
Gonzalez made over $7 mill with the Dodgers last year, and $10 mill with Arizona two years ago.  In his prime, in the late 90s, he was very very good. He only struck out about every 9 plate appearances. If they sign him, maybe he can teach Uggla how not to strike out.