If the Miami Marlins were the New York Marlins, their slow start would be a huge story. They had a huge offseason, tried to sign every big name free agent and opened a new stadium that they have failed to fill.
Luckily, the Marlins play in Miami so no one cares. Miami is 7-11 and sits in the basement of the NL East. Only five teams have fewer wins and the big acquisitions have done little to nothing so far.
The Marlins have lost five straight, including a three-game series against the New York Mets that included a blown lead in each game. I was lucky enough to witness all three games this week and it was incredibly disappointing. The highlight of the series for both myself and the Marlins was that the rain held off all week.
The good news is the starting pitching has been solid. The bad news is everything else. Miami’s bats were silent, having scored just six runs over their last five games. The infielders have been fine, but their corner outfielders – Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton – have looked like beer league softball players.
Jose Reyes struggled in his return to New York going 1-12. Mark Buehrle has been fine, but Heath Bell has completely and utterly struggled. Bell has walked 7, given up 8 runs and been credited with three losses in just 7 appearances. The masterpiece being the 2-run, 46 pitch 9th inning against the Mets yesterday afternoon.
The Marlins brought in Ozzie Guillen who immediately got into hot water by complimenting Fidel Castro. Tuesday night Ozzie yanked a dominant Josh Johnson to bring in Randy Choate to face Ike Davis. At that point, Johnson had just issued his first walk of the game (to go along with 9 strikeouts). The Mets were thrilled to have an excuse to take out Ike Davis who has about 3 more major league hits this season than I do. Choate walked pinch hitter Justin Turner and Ozzie proceeded to use four pitchers to walk four consecutive batters to tie the game.
It’s been an embarrassing start for a team with a $118 million payroll this season. The good news is that the season is still young. If the Marlins can get better on the road (2-9 so far), things should average out. Of course, their new stars will need to be less bad. Otherwise, they’ll continue to disappoint. Luckily, they will still be in Miami, so no one will care.