Monday, September 30, 2013

Can a fan see anything negative in a no-hitter? Yep

The braintrust in the late innings of another loss. They're still there.
     It was a fitting end to the Marlins 2013 season -- winning on a wild pitch, scoring their only run of the game, to give Henderson Alvarez a no-hit victory.
    The 2013 Marlins are arguably the worst-hitting team of the modern era. No wonder they couldn't get a hit to win a game. They finished dead last in the Major Leagues by a large margin in runs scored, batting average, doubles, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and total bases.
 How bad was their batting? They scored 513 runs -- tying the 2010 Seattle Mariners as the worst full-season run production in the past four decades. labeled that Mariners team as "the worst hitting team of all time."  That team managed 101 home runs. The Marlins this year had 95.
     Marlins ended the season with 100 losses -- that's far better than the 127 that a buddy projected before the season began and better than the record-setting 1962 Mets' 120 -- a record the '13 Marlins seemed for a while in danger of breaking before their young pitching took hold.
    Marlins ended the year with a team 3.71 ERA -- 11th best in the Majors -- 7th best in National League. Five of the six teams with better pitching are headed to the playoffs.
    On Fox Sports television Sunday, Michael Hill, the new president of baseball operations, said, "the future is bright because of the gains we saw in 2013." Rebuilding after last year's debacle? The Marlins have been getting steadily worse each of the past four years in terms of wins and losses. They dumped Beinfest, the president of their baseball operations, but they promoted the two guys right below him.
    Hill's goal: "Win more games." Is that the kind of insight that gets a promotion?
     In fact, as an anonymous source told The Herald, Loria calls the shots and is the real general manager. Loria (by himself) made the first bold move for 2014, resigning Greg Dobbs for $1.7 million. Loria rushed to sign Dobbs, 35, before another team picked him up. For the year, he hit .228. In the last 30 games, his BA was a stellar .091.
    Michael Jong at wrote: "On the surface, it is a poor use of the $1.7 million, as Dobbs has been a terrible hitter for three years and has only stood out to the Marlins because of his propensity to make contact with runners on third base. Essentially, the Marlins signed him to make professional, productive outs."
    And speaking of dumb moves: Did this one sneak by you? The Tigers minor league pitcher of the year in 2013: Lefty Jose Alvarez, who had 115 strikeouts in 129 innings in AAA Toledo. Last year, Alvarez was with the Marlins in AA. How good were the trade picks Miami got for giving him up? Zilch. The Marlins granted him "free agency" last fall, and the Tigers, saying thank you again, gobbled him up.
     Maybe Loria demanded Jose Alvarez be dumped because he was getting confused by too many pitchers named Alvarez.
    This morning, Douglas Hanks had an upbeat (?) story in the Herald sports section: "As a rough season of the Marlins Park comes to a close, the team finds itself drawing about 1,000 fans more a game than it had at Sun Life."
    What Hanks doesn't know -- in fact no one does -- is how many of those tickets were sold at a discount or ultra-discount or given away. I attended 11 games -- five of them for free. And I had a free Sir Pizza coupon I could have used the last week and didn't. My record was 3-8 for the year.
    In fact, on Sunday I was on I-95 at midday and almost swerved off at the downtown exit on the spur of the moment to watch the final game in person. Alas, I went home to watch it on TV -- missing my third personal no hitter. (I saw Al Leiter and Anibal's in person.) So I missed a hell of a game -- with a wild, odd ending. Another frustration in a season filled with them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh Ye of Little Faith

     Some inattentive Marlins fans complain that we gave  up Anibal -- an ever-improving pitcher -- and Infante to the Tigers for a weak-hitting, bad-throwing catcher (Brantly) and Andrew Miller II (Turner, 4.97 ERA in the last 30 days). But no!
    We also got Brian Flynn -- a 6-7 23-year-old in the Miller mode who was just promoted. Surely, one of these three guys will prove to be an All-Star, right? (Also called the Miggy theory.)
    On Thursday -- free day for old farts -- Orlando, RF and I saw him pitch from Section 22. Flynn lasted four innings, gave up six runs and  now has an ERA over 10 -- contributing to a numbing 6-1 defeat before an announced crowd of 15,274. That was my 11th Marlins game of the year (and sixth free one). I have seen eight losses.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remembering the Departed

    A friend of a friend couldn't use Monday night tickets, so RF and  I ended up in row three, section 10 -- between home and first base. Great seats. Usual game. Alvarez had an implosion second time through the league-leading Braves lineup, and Marlins lost 5-2.
    I've now seen 10 games this person -- a 3-7 record.
    Without Stanton, this weak-hitting lineup's first five hitters combine for 23 home runs -- less than half Chris Davis' 48 home runs. Even that 23 is a bit misleading, since part-timer Ruggiano accounts for 16 of them.
    Marlins remain dead last in MLB in runs, hits, doubles and home runs. They're a respectable 8th (out of 30) in one category -- grounded into double plays, which is kind of astonishing since they get so few runners on base.
    Anyway, I spotted a fan in the first row of section 10 with this baseball hat. Kind of wish I had one.