16 March 2011
The best news that you can give Marlins fans today is that the season does not start for another 2 weeks. The Marlins have lost 8 games in a row, they are just 5-12 this spring, and most of the games have not been close. In the Marlins' 8 game losing streak they have not lost a game by fewer than 4 runs, and they have not score more than 2 runs since their 9-4 loss to the Mets last Thursday. In the last 5 games the Marlins have lost 10-0 to the Mets, 9-2 to the Red Sox, 5-1 to the Nationals, 9-0 to the Twins, and 11-2 to the Rays.
While the Marlins are slumping from the plate they are also committing errors left and right. In the Marlins 10-0 loss to the Mets the Marlins committed 5 errors, and yesterday the errors by Hanly Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez opened up a 7-run 2nd innings for the Rays. The errors were Hanley's 5th of the spring and Gaby's 2nd, so it is not like the errors are being committed by players who will be in the Minors come April 1st.
Then when you look at the pitching for the Marlins, they have yet to have a pitcher go for what would be considered a quality start. Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson have struggled in their starts this spring and are trying to return from season ending injuries last year. Javier Vazquez and Anibal Sanchez were both scratched from their last starts, but it looks as though they are going to be ok. Both are expected to make their next starts this weekend and the Marlins today optioned off Shawn Hill, Alex Sanabia, and Sean West, the three pitchers who will be expected to fill in if any of the Marlins starting five pitchers get injured (although none of these guys have pitched particularly well this spring). Then when you look at the box scores day in and day out the Marlins have a different relief pitcher every day seemingly giving up 2 or more runs.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez says that is is "way to early to panic" but he aslo expressed his concern on what is going on with the Marlins. Rodriguez said "Am I concern about what's going on right now? Of course. We want to win and we want to do good out there. We're all very aware that we have to go out there and start working on something different."
One of the changes that Rodriguez plans to make is that the projected starters of the Marlins are going to be playing in back to back games more often to help get them in a rhythm. Also good news for the Marlins is that Chris Coghlan will be in center field the next two days and Mike Stanton will be hitting in a simulated game. Those types of changes and and the pitching getting worked out will help the Marlins to eventually play like the Wild Card contenders they are, hopefully.
Everyone will say that you can throw out spring training records out the window come regular season, and if you want to pay attention to any record it should be that final week when teams are doing their final tweaks before the start of the season. The Marlins have plenty of time till that point and a lot can happen between now and April 1st. So while some mild concern is perfectly natural to Marlins to have right now, just take a deep breath and tell yourself that it is still early.
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