23 June 2012
With the Marlins 9-0 win today over the Toronto Blue Jays, Miami ends a six game losing streak and tie their win total from last June. It is quite amazing the turnaround the Marlins have gone threw in a matter of weeks. The Marlins were the best team in the big leagues in May, then the calender turned to June and just like last year the Fish have fallen on their faces and have been playing like on of the worst teams in Major League Baseball history. Last year the Marlins finished off June with only 5 wins in the month, and this year with 5 games to go the Marlins are 5-16.
The Marlins offense had been hit or miss the first two games of the year, and while the Marlins have scored 30 runs in the last seven games, they averaged 1.73 runs per game in the previous 15. Couple that with the fact that the two factors that really carried the Marlins in the first two months of their year (their starting pitching and base running) has been just as bad as their hitting this month. With the exception of Heath Bell and Josh Johnson, no pitcher on the Marlins roster who has pitched more than 3 innings this month has an ERA under 5. Buehrle, Zambrano, Anibal and Nolasco were all dominant with ERAs in no higher than the 3.40 for most of April and May, but this month going into Sunday Anibal has a 8.06 ERA, Buehrle is at 5.48, Nolasco is at 7.66, and Zambrano is at 7.94. The only good starter has been Josh Johnson, who after a slow start is just now hitting his stride. In June JJ is 1-2 with a 2.18 ERA with 20 strike outs.
The Marlins were also the top base stealing team in the big leagues through the first two months of the season. A large part of that had to do with Emilo Bonifacio, who was a base stealing machine before getting hurt, but with him out of the lineup the Marlins have turned into an average base running team. This month the Marlins have a total of six stolen bases and have been caught stealing three times (all three times by Justin Ruggiano). Of course a big part of the Marlins in ability to steal bases has to do with the team's inability to get on base.
In the month of June the Marlins have a total of four players hitting over .260 including pitcher Carlos Zambrano who is 2 for 4. Jose Reyes is the only everyday player who is hitting consistently at .284, with the other two players being Justin Ruggiano (batting .359 in 39 at basts) and Donovan Solano (batting .320 in 25 at bats). However in the last week the Marlins seem to have turned things around a bit scoring 30 runs in the last seven games and getting back to back quality starts from Johnson and Buehrle. The Marlins have seen improvement from the plate in the last week with Omar Infante who after some major stuggles to start the month batting hit .400 , Dobbs has several big hits Sunday and is batting .286, and Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton both hitting a pair of home runs.
The one real good story to come from the Marlins this month has to be Justin Ruggiano, who like Donovan Solano, has proven to be a very valuable and productive player. At about this time Ruggiano was playing in Triple-A in the Astros organization, then the Marlins decided they needed help in the outfield after Bonifacio went down so they traded for him. Since joining the Marlins, Justin Ruggiano has had 40 major league at bats and he is hitting .350 with two home runs, six RBI, two double, a triple, and has made some outstanding defensive plays. No doubt that if he keeps this up he will stay in the on the big league roster when Bonifacio is ready to return after the All-Star break. With Ruggiano, Solano, Kearns, and Dobbs the Marlins will have one of the top benches in the major leagues, which will be a huge asset if the team can turn this season around.
After Hanley Ramirez called a team meeting after Saturday's loss, the Marlins played inspired on Sunday to get the 9-0 win. Hopefully that inspired play will continue Monday as the team starts a three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Monday 7:10pm at Marlins Park- Ricky Nolasco (6-6) vs Jake Westbrook (6-6)
- Tuesday 7:10pm at Marlins Park- Carlos Zambrano (4-5) vs Kyle Loshe (6-2)
- Wednesday 7:10pm at Marlins Park- Anibal Sanchez (3-6) vs Joe Kelly (1-0)