Friday, April 26, 2013

When the going gets tough ...

Clutch hitting? Well, no. The Marlins don't have ANY kind of hitting, so why should there be clutch? They're down a run last night to the miserable Cubs in the bottom of the ninth, get two runners on with no out and can't score -- a botched bunt by JP, a whiff by Stanton. Of course.

Marlins are now 5-17, same record as the '62 record Mets, and ahead of the 2003 Tigers, who were 3-19.

NOTE: I'm off fishing till Tuesday. Or more exactly, going to NY, where I'll see the 2012 Marlins play the Yankees on Saturday night. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Protecting" Stanton

    At the beginning of the year, all the sports writers were talking about "protecting" Stanton by having a good hitter behind him.
    Well, guess what. The main problem concerns the batters in front of Stanton. They're not getting on base, and so there's no reason to give him a good pitch.
    As of Wednesday afternoon, the Marlins' lead off spot is batting .176, with an on-base percentage of .213 -- worst in the majors. No. 2 spot has an OB of .264, 27th in majors. Third spot (Stanton, mostly) is 29th, with an OB of .344. The cleanup hitter has an OB of .341, not great, but his OPS (on-base plus slugging, the main measure for a No. 4 batter) is a respectable .746, 14th -- in the top half of the 30 teams.
    JP, is your career over? 
    NOTE: I have been comparing Marlins' pathetic run production -- which has now climbed to 2.57 runs per game -- with the worst-ever 1908 Cards, which averaged 2.42 for the season. But that was during the "dead ball" era and I knew that the pathetic 2013 Fish couldn't do worse than that. 
    Clark Spencer in today's Herald points to a better comparison, the 1968 White Sox, which set the record for fewest runs in a 162-game season, with 463, or 2.85 a game.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


    In the first game against the Twins Tuesday, the radio announcers mentioned one of the less-remembered bad moves of the Marlins, the dumping of Josh Willingham in 2008. Management's thinking was that Willingham's back was problematic, and the Marlins had a new phenom, Jeremy Hermida, to take his place. That's what the announcers said.
    Well, Willingham, now the Twins left fielder, has hit about 30 HR each of the last two years, with 100 RBI. Hermida has basically vanished from the big leagues, with one homer and eight RBI, total, in the past two years.
    But wait! We got some players when we traded Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Washington Nats in 2008. What happened to them? We got Jake  Smolinski, now 24, a weak-hitting outfielder with no power and career minor league average of .263 who is now in AA; P.J. Dean, a pitcher who apparently has been out of organized ball for several years, and Emilio Bonifacio, dumped in the Blue Jays trade last fall.
    After splitting with the Twins on Tuesday, the Marlins are now 5-16. The '62 Mets were 5-16 also at this point, the 2003 Tigers were 2-19.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


    We're  playing a doubleheader today against a team that is as bad or worse than the Marlins in some hitting categories. Marlins are second to last in total bases, with 178. Twins are last with 177. Marlins have six homers, Twins a mere 9. Could make for some close games, but consider: Twins have 64 walks, Marlins a mere 47, helping Twins score 63 runs to Marlins 43.
    Oh, maybe I should point out that the Marlins have played 19 games, the Twins 15.

Monday, April 22, 2013


    I was feeling sorry for Sanabia on Sunday afternoon. He had a "quality start" after six innings, holding the power-hitting Reds to two runs. In the seventh it was obvious Sanabia had run out of gas, but the bullpen had pitched eight innings on Saturday, and Redmond left him danging out there in the seventh, as he put one, then two and then three runners on base.
    With a good team, Sanabia would have had a solid start that would have helped his stats. With the Marlins, his numbers for the day showed five runs in six innings on 109 pitches.
    As of Monday, Marlins are last in ML in runs, home runs and batting average. Their slugging average is a horrendous .286 -- far below the next worst, the Mariners at .346.
    Their record is 4-15. The '62 Mets at this point were 3-16, the Tigers 2-17. Thanks to scoring four meaningless runs in the ninth on Sunday, the Marlins increased their run average to 2.26 per game, still below the 2.42 of the worst-ever 1908 Cards.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


    So at the start of play Friday night, R wisecracks that the Marlins have put a guy in cleanup that has never had a big league hit. Which is true.
    Joe Mahoney, who was 0-4 last year with the Orioles, was plunked down in No. 4 spot Friday as the "protection" for Stanton, who by the end of the night was hitting .162. Mahoney went 0-3.
    And still -- this is what makes baseball wondrous -- the Marlins scored two whole runs and won the game.
    Marlins are now 4-13, compared with 2003 Tigers' 1-16 and '62 Mets 3-14 at this point.
    When I suggested several days ago on that Marlins could be in hunt for worst team ever, Michael Jong shot back: "Everyone needs to calm down. This team is just bad, not some sort of historic awful."
    I find that kind of depressing. If your team is the worst ever, that's a reason to pay attention. To be "just bad" is ... well, that makes it rough to keep paying attention.
    Marlins have now scored 35 runs in 17 games -- 2.05 per game. That's well below the average of 2.42 runs by the the 1908 Cards, the lowest-scoring team in ML history.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Day that Will Live in Infamy

    Oh, now it's really getting bad. On Thursday night, our phenom Jose Fernandez gets hammered and the Marlins score their typical one run. Hechavarria goes on DL and our brooding All-Star, Stanton, is well below the Mendoza line.
    After Thursday night, the Marlins are 3-13. The '62 expansion Mets were 3-13. The 2003 non-expansion Tigers were 1-15 at this point.
    Remember 2003? The Marlins were on their way to a world championship. The Tigers were setting a record for most losses ever (119) by a non-expansion team.
    Since then the Marlins have become a laughing-stock while the Tigers have gone to the playoffs the last two years, boosted by their MVP Miguel Cabrera.
    One big reason for the change in fortunes:
    On Dec. 4, 2007, the Marlins traded Cabrera to the Tigers for a bunch of "can't miss" prospects:
    Andrew Miller – a pitcher who flopped with the Marlins and is now in the Boston Red Sox bullpen.
    Dallas Trahern – a pitcher who never made it to the majors. He apparently last pitched in the minors in 2011.
    Eulogio De La Cruz – another miserable pitcher, who was sold (?!) to the San Diego Padres, who quickly released him. He was signed by Brewers organzation last winter.
    Burke Badenhop – another pitcher, who did some mediocre relieving with the Marlins, was traded to the Rays and is now with the Brewers.
    Cameron Maybin – an outfielder who in his “breakout” season with the Marlins, 2010, played 82 games, batting .234, with 8 HR and 9 SB, before being traded to the Padres.
    Mike Rabelo – a catcher who appeared in 34 games with 2008 Marlins, batting .202. He was granted free agency in 2009 and has not appeared in the majors since then. 
    Those are the six names of the apocalypse.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Los Tres Triste Tigres

    So maybe it's unfair to compare the 2013 Marlins, a team that has been developing (?!) for 20 years with the 1962 Mets, an expansion team just getting their feet on the ground with ol' Casey as their character-manager.
    Maybe the 2013 Marlins should be compared with the losing-est team in baseball that was NOT an expansion team. That would be the 2003 Detroit Tigers, which lost 119 games, one fewer than the '62 Mets.
     In an article on the worst teams in baseball history, Bleacher Report notes of the '03 Tigers: “Only designated hitter Dmitri Young had a good season with the bat as this team … were last in the American League in every batting category. Their pitching was slightly better being only near the bottom in every category, but having the last 20 game loser over the last 30 years in Mike Moroth. Ironically, Maroth led the 2003 Tigers starters in wins (9) and winning percentage (.300)!”
     Worse, the Tigers farm system was developing a pattern of with what we might call “just-miss” prospects.
     Only a miracle – a savior coming out of nowhere – could resurrect the Tigers system. And that's what they got, several years later, starting them down the road to the highly competitive team they are today. More about that later.

    After Wednesday night's loss to the Nats, again managing only one run, the 2013 Marlins are 3-12. The 2003 Tigers at this point were 1-14, the '62 Mets were 3-12.

      As of Thursday morning, Marlins have scored 32 runs in 15 games, or 2.13 runs a game. The record for lowest number of runs/season is held by the 1908 St. Louis Cards, during the “dead ball era.” Those Cards average 2.42 runs per game.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A glimmer of hope or a mirage?

Hechavarria, the weak-hittting shortstop, slams a homer, the Marlins score eight runs and win on Tuesday night. He's batting below the Mendoza line, he has hit one homer per 58 at bats in the Major Leagues, but hey, he's young, turning 24 on Monday, so maybe he can develop some power. Or maybe not.

Remember the biggest losers in baseball history, the '62 Mets, managed to win one out of every four games.

A lot of fans aren't wildly enthusiastic. Rage against the Marlins – – continues its petition drive through “To Create Legislation That Would Force Jeff Loria to Sell the Miami Marlins & Leave Town. We call upon congress to create legislation that requires any major league sports franchise that operates within the United States, who take public tax money to help build a stadium or arena, must maintain a competitive payroll at all times, of at least 90% of the entire leagues average opening day payroll for the previous five years, for the first ten years after taking said money, and the failure to do so would invoke proceedings upon which the governing body of the league, in which the franchise in question resides, would be forced to immediately buy said franchise for fair market value, and the ownership group in question would be forced to sell it to them without dispute.”
So far, they have 848 signatures and need 99,152 in next couple weeks to get the White House attention.

Perhaps a free-market approach would be better, like the relegation system in European soccer, in which the worst performing teams are demoted to the minors and the best performing minor league teams are promoted. Maybe that way the Marlins could get some decent competition against AAA – AA? – opponents.

On this Wednesday morning, the 2013 Marlins are 3-11. The '62 Mets were 2-12.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On track for worst team ever

After Monday's numbing loss to the Nats, the miserable Marlins have me searching the record books. They're still a game ahead of the worst performance in baseball history, the '62 Mets, who lost 120 games. At this point, the Mets were 1-12, the 2013 Marlins are 2-11. Of course, the Mets were a young expansion team that got better as the year went along.

The Marlins have scored 23 runs – including an astonishing three on Monday night. That means they're scoring 1.9 runs a game. The lowest total for a team/season in ML history is the 1908 St. Louis Cards, during the “dead ball era.” Those Cards scored 372 runs in 154 games – 2.42 runs per game.

At least the Marlins aren't likely to break the home run record. The 1908 Chicago White Sox had three homers for the year. The Marlins already have two – and it's only April. So that's the good news, right?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shake Things Up

After another loss Sunday, with Marlins again eking out a mere one run, let me make this modest proposal: Completely restructure the starting lineup. Once again, Sunday the Marlins were 0-8 in the first two positions, and that's no surprise because they put Pierre and Coghlan in the 1-2 spots – two of the worst on-base guys on the team.

Let's say you had a lineup based on on-base percentage. It would be
1 – Polanco .378
2 – Stanton .342
3 – Solano .318
4 – Dobbs .300
5 – Ruggiano .289
6 – Brantly .257
7 – Hechevarria .250
8 – Kearns .231

They couldn't do any worse than the Marlins have been doing.

Now, Stanton and Kearns were injured yesterday. It'd be better to replace either with Valaika, .455 OBP in 10 at bats. Pierre's OBP is .224, Coghlan's .190.

For the season, Marlins are 2-10, still ahead of the worst team in history, the '62 Mets, which were 1-11 at this point.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where are the homers?

Thanks to the stellar performance of phenom Jose Fernandez, the Marlins are 2-9 after Saturday night, on a pace to win 31 games for the year. The worst team in baseball history, the '62 Mets, were 1-10 at this point. They won 40 games.

Fernandez, 20, is certainly a huge bright spot in this dismal year – perhaps our only ray of hope – but we grumpy Marlins fans are still seeing glasses that are 90 percent empty.
Note Fernandez has not gotten a win with two stellar performances.

Earl Weaver created his Oriole teams on good starting pitching and three-run homers. The Marlins flat out don't believe in homers. Their two major off-season acquisitions were

Juan Pierre, who has 17 homers in his 14-year career, including one last year.
Placido Polanco, who had no homers last year and 32 in 16 years.

What's particularly troubling is that these two play two positions – left field and third base – that are often spots for big power hitters.
Another power hitting position is first base, now occupied by Gregg Dobbs, who had five homers last year.

Question: Is it possible that power hitters cost too much, even in their declining years, for Marlins to afford? Or maybe even to draft? Marlins minor league is filled with weak-hitting outfielders, like Cousins and Petersen.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


2013 Marlins are now 1-9, the same record as the historic losers, the Mets, had in 1962. They're on a pace to win 16 games for the season.

After Friday night's miracle – a run scored – Marlins are batting .208, worst in the Major Leagues, with an on-base percentage of .281, 27th of 30 teams. With Stanton now injured, the team's performance is beyond laughable. Twenty-five players have more home runs than do the Marlins as a team. Three players have more RBI than do the Marlins squad.

The Marlins 17 runs scored in 10 games is by far the worst in Majors, trailing the next worst, Pirates and Dodgers (!), who have 27 runs scored. (Boy, those Dodger owners must be grumbling.)

Announcers talk about someone hitting behind Stanton, to “protect” the slugger. But in fact, it'd probably be better if there were runners on base in front of Stanton, so that pitchers were forced to pitch to him.

Juan Pierre, 35,still has a great work ethic, but his aging body is struggling. He's never taken a lot of walks, and this year he's gotten only one, though he has gotten hit by pitches twice, and I assume he's leaning in. His on-base percentage is .268. Not getting the leadoff hitter on base is a major part of Marlins not being able to score runs.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Buck is better than entire Marlins team

So far this year, they've hit two home runs and driven in 15 runs. John Buck, thrown into the Blue Jays giveaway last year, has five home runs and 15 RBI with the Mets as of Friday morning. Thanks to an off-day, Marlins kept their record at 1-8. The '62 Mets, worst team ever, were 0-9 at this point. The '93 Marlins, in their first year (like the '62 Mets), were 3-6 at the start. My buddy R says, “It will only get worse. The 'prospects' now masquerading as big league players show no signs of being players. The shortstop -- the centerpiece of a trade that unloaded four All-Stars -- will be lucky to hit .160 this year.” H observes: "If we break the Mets' record, will the Fish be the ultimate dysfunctional franchise through 20 years? 2 championships, 0 division titles, all-time single-season loss record.” Take that, Cubs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A fan speaks

Marlins Diehards: A Miami Marlins Blog: Help Us, Barack Obama, You're Our Only Hope

Marlins Diehards: A Miami Marlins Blog: Help Us, Barack Obama, You're Our Only Hope: Sure, the president has a flagging economy, belligerent North Korea, and other pressing issues to deal with, but that hasn't stopped a...

Are the 2013 Marlins the Worst Team in Baseball History?

Their record is now 1-8, putting them on path for an 18 victory season, meaning they would lose 144 games, far beyond the present record holder, the hapless 1962 Mets, which lost an astonishing 120 games. My buddy R predicted last December the 2013 Marlins would win 39 and lose 123 – a prediction that now seems highly optimistic. But note this: Game by game, they're still doing better than the '62 Mets, a spanking new expansion team. The Mets went 0-9 before they won a game.

Friday, April 5, 2013

And now comes the bad news ...

My buddy, H, commented this morning: "Give it up for the only 0-3 team in baseball. This is inept franchise management at its worst. No long-term plan. This isn't rebuilding. With rebuilding, you develop young players over a period of time. And you don't look this hopeless. Only one player on this team would scare any pitcher. And none of our pitchers scares anyone." My response: "I agree completely. Tampa and Washington methodically built up solid teams. Upper management for Marlins is just clueless: Bad drafts, bad plans or no plans, bad trades. The scary thing is that the Washington series showed the Marlins at their best. In NY, we are going to see two pitchers who are the minor league subs for two pretty awful pitchers who are injured. Now things could get really bad. I am thinking of myself as Joe Boyd, the hero of The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, who listened to the Washington Senators year after year on his radio in the 1950s. The Senators finished first in the AL in 1933. They finished second in 1945. But for most of the rest of the time until they left Wash in 1960, they were at the bottom of the AL. But, uh, Joe had a dream as he listened to those games ... And they can't take 1997 and 2003 away from us. So take that, Cub fans."