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 ...