Saturday, August 02, 2008

Here Come the Marlins!

The Marlins lost last night along with the Phillies and the Mets which keeps the standings in place. As it is right now they're a game and a half behind the Phillies and a game behind the Mets.

Why will the Marlins win the NL East? The immediate reaction is to dismiss the question outright. They're the Marlins for crying out loud. Well, there's about 50 games left to go and they're absolutely in the thick of the race so dismissal isn't really valid. In a related note, saying that they don't have the "talent" to compete also doesn't apply at this point in the season. As of August 2nd, the Marlins are 6th in the league in Runs Scored and tied for first with the Phillies for home runs. They don't have the names, but they know how to hit. Uggla's recent slump is worrying though...

The pitching is whats been holding them back. Only the Rockies and the Pirates have given up more runs. The opening day starter this year was Mark Hendrickson with his career ERA+ of 88. Despite not making a huge move at the trade deadline the Marlins still drastically improved their bullpen, Marlin-style. Josh Johnson returned in early July from Tommy John surgery. In 2006, his last full season, he had an ERA+ of 139 in 157 innings pitched. Anibal Sanchez returned on July 31st. In his injury-shortened 2006 he had an ERA+ of 152 in 115 innings pitched. So, the Marlins get two theoretically above-average starters. This means they can move pitchers like Hendrickson to the bullpen, where they belong.

Next week is crucial as they have 3 games series against the Mets and the Phillies. At this point it's hard to see any team getting knocked out of it short of the Fish going 0-6, but it's hard to make up ground in the standings when you're behind two teams, so this is a golden opportunity to move up the board.

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