10 May 2012
After leaving Marlins Park on April 30th a season low six ga,es under .500 it looked like the Marlins could be in serious trouble since they were about to head out on a nine game west cost road trip. And now on May 9th after the Marlins went a team record 8-1 on a 9 game road trip, the team sits at 16-15 and only 2.5 games back of division leader Atlanta. After a rocky month to start the season the Marlins are lucky to in the position they are in.
Although Luck may be the wrong word, the Marlins starting pitching has been outstanding and despite problems this year hitting the ball, fielding mistakes, and late game bullpen collapses, the Marlins starting 5 has been the driving force in the Marlins success this year. Right now the Miami Marlins have the third lowest ERA (3.16) and are tied for the most quality starts (24) in the majors. The Marlins pitching numbers would be even more impressive if not for some poos starts by Josh Johnson. His ERA is at 5.87, meanwhile Nolasco's is 2.72, Sanchez is 2.01, Buehrle is 2.83, and Carlos Zambrano who just picked up his first win for the Marlins has an ERA of 1.98. The only real disapointment about the Marlins starters is that they only have 9 wins, but part of that is do to the fact that the Marlins bullpen has 8 blown saves.
The Marlins bullpen has had its good moments and its bad. Despite its 8 blown saves, the Marlins bullpen ERA is 3.42 which is good enough for 10th in the Majors. Most of the blame for the bullpens struggles can be placed squarely on Heath Bell who saw his ERA balloon to over 11 and thus causing him to lose his job as closer during this road trip.
The Marlins have also lost leads due to some poor fielding errors and mistakes. The Marlins have also committed the 8th most errors in the majors with 23 and the 9th worst fielding percentage in the Majors. Of course then their are also plays like the one Stanton made Wednesday night in the ninth inning where he dove for a ball instead of keeping it in front of him, allowing Carlos Lee's single to become a triple and led to a blown save and could have resulted in a Marlins loss.
The bullpen and the Marlins fielding errors aside, the real problem has been the Marlins offense. While the Marlins are 5th in the NL in home runs they are 12th in runs, 12th in slugging percentage, and 14th in batting average in the NL. Worst of all the Marlins are dead last in MLB with a .190 batting average with runners in scoring position, and are 29th in MLB with a .213 batting average with any runners on base. It is staggering the number of men the Marlins have left on base. Just to put that into perspective, in losses the Marlins are scoring just under 2 runs a game a 1.93, and are losing by an average of 2.67 runs in those games. So if the Marlins were able to hit better with runners in scoring position they'd probably be leading the NL East.
The Marlins now prepare for a five game home stand that will start a string of almost three weeks without any days off. Thursday's day off is the Marlins is the Marlins last scheduled off day until May 31st. In that time the Marlins have series at home versus the Mets, Pirates, Rockies, Giants and Nationals, and road trips to Atlanta and Cleveland. The Marlins will start off tomorrow against the Mets.
- Friday 7:10 at Marlins Park: Mark Buehrle (2-4) vs Johan Santana (1-2)
- Saturday 1:05 at Marlins Park: Ricky Nolasco (4-0) vs R.A. Dickey (4-1)
- Sunday 1:10 at Marlins Park: Carlos Zambrana (1-2) vs Jonathon Niese (2-1)
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