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My 1st Half Report and 2nd Half Outlook


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Link to Season Outlook from January


My 1st Half Report and 2nd Half Outlook


The First Half of the 2004 Season


The Florida Marlins completed the 1st half of the 2004 season in third place with a 45-43 record. Standing 1.5 games behind the 1st place Philadelphia Phillies -- the fish find themselves in a very good position for the 2nd half.


The season started with an 9-1 record including an 8 game winning streak. Right from the get-go, the fish put themselves in a great position. The team also had 3 consecutive shutouts against the Montreal Expos in early April. Soon after, the wheels came off a bit and the fish started to have a problem keeping 1st place in their grasp. They did a good job of holding onto the spot mostly in part to the other teams in the division not dominating anyone either.


Another thing that helped the Marlins stay around 1st place for the entire 1st half was their dominance of the Phillies. The Marlins continued to play good ball against their Northeast rival going 6-0 including a 3 game sweep in Philadelphia.


The 1st half of the season saw the return of Starting Pitcher, A.J. Burnett. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Burnett returned on June 3 and was shaky his first few times back on the mound. In his last few starts before the break he has looked like the old Burnett that we all know. He picked up his 1st win in nearly 2 years and his ERA continues to plummet while opposing hitters continue to go down swinging.


World Series MVP, Josh Beckett struggled through inconsistency and injuries in the 1st half. Beckett was placed on the DL 3 times this season and is currently on the DL as of this writing. While playing, Beckett compiled a 4-5 record with a 3.89 ERA for the 1st half. He did strike out 84 batters in 76.1 innings however so the stuff is still there. The only question is, can Beckett pitch enough to use it effectively.


Postseason standout, Carl Pavano had a masterful 1st half and was elected to his 1st ever All Star Gane. Pavano went 9-4 with a 2.85 ERA and snapped Marlin losing streaks on numerous occassions. He made himself the ace of the staff with his quality starts almost every time out there. Pavano has also improved his command this season walking only 27 batters in 123 innings of work.


Rookie sensation, Dontrelle Willis had an off and on 1st half. He started the year 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and finished the 1st half with a 7-5 record with a 3.99 ERA. During the season, his mechanics were tinkered with a bit with hopes of iproving his command and stamina. At the plate, Willis was 6-6 in his first 6 AB and has maintained a .286 vatting average. Jack McKeon even used Willis in pinch hitting situations several times during the 1st half.


World Series star, Brad Penny brought his newly found confidence and knowledge into the 2004 season. He compiled a 8-7 record with a 3.20 ERA in 18 starts. Penny did struggle a bit after a strong start to the season and probably cost himself a spot in this year's All Star Game. As for the bullpen, well let's just say it was a revolving door with the exception of the closer's spot. This year's pen has seen the likes of Nate Bump, Tommy Phelps, Justin Wayne, Matt Perisho, Toby Borland, Ben Howard. Josias Manzanillo, Billy Koch, Chad Fox, Aaron Small, Franklyn Gracesqui, and Darren Oliver. That should be all of them. Fox hurt his arm early in the 1st half and may not return. The rest of the pen looks more like the better half of the Isotopes bullpen than a major league bullpen and at times has looked like a AAA pen in the majors. Oliver went into the pen after a miserable period of time in the rotation. Bump made a short trip to AAA before returning to the majors. Koch was acquired from the White Sox in late June for a minor league prospect. (Wilson Valdez) He has been struggling with his command all season but towards the end of the 1st half showed some promise in the setup role.


The main guy in the bullpen and the only one to have success this season is Armando Benitez. He has looked like the best free agent signing in the majors as he has completely dominated every opponent. He notched 30 saves out of 32 chances in the 1st half which set the new Marlins record for saves before the All Star Break. He also compiled an unreal 0.98 ERA. Benitez earned another trip to this year's All Star Game.


As far as the offense goes, runs in the clutch were few and far between. Run production on the whole was also down in the 1st half. McKeon found himself shuffling the lineup around often and playing guys like Damion Easley at practically every position on the field. Hee Seop Choi did not play much against lefties and his lack of playing time and inconsistency at the plate limited him to only 35 RBI's in the 1st half. Jeff Conine struggled with RISP for the 1st half and finished with only 33 RBI's. Juan Pierre hit .298 but was thrown out stealing 14 times compared to only 21 successful swipes. Luis Castillo's .282 AVG was sufficient but the Marlins could've used a few more consistent hits from him. The catcher's platoon of Ramon Castro (.135 AVG), Matt Treanor (.250 AVG) and Mike Redmond (.263 AVG) didn't do anything to help the lack of offense in the 1st half. Miguel Cabrera (.295 20 59) and Mike Lowell (.305 20 55) who both are All Stars this season had very productive 1st halves and are 2 of the main reasons for the Marlins being in the thick of things.


Outlook for the 2nd Half of the 2004 Season


Overall the Marlins could be better than they were in the 1st half. Hitting stretches where they could not put together more than 1 or 2 hits at a time really hindered the team from scoring runs so far this season. Frustratingly enough it seemed when the offense came through on an occassion, the starting pitcher or the bullpen would not be effective and the win would slip thru the team's hands anyway.


In order to have a successful 2nd half, the Marlins will need to add at least one arm to the bullpen, and probably 2 arms with 1 being a lefty specialist in order to get things smoothed out in there. There will be guys on the market as the trade deadlin nears so the Marlins will have to be agressive and have a win now attitude. Afterall, this team will not look exactly the same next season and could be a bit worse depending on which free agents they are able to resign.


Just like last year when Beckett had an injury filled 1st half, I will say it again -- in order for us to have big success in 2004 Josh Beckett will need to and will be a key component. Beckett will be one of our top arms down the stretch and will stay injury free in order for this to occur. He will be our guy in August, September, and yes October.


With that said, I might as well give my updated predictions for the season. Last season at the midpoint, I predicted we would finish with a 91-71 record and capture the Wild-Card in my midseason outlook. I was Samson-like in that prediction.


This year I'm going to lower my preseason prediction of 93 wins and say that the Marlins finish with a 90-72 record capturing the National League East title in the process. Yes, our 1st ever division title. It will be a fight and will go down til the end but we will have the willpower to get to the promised land once again. Once in the playoffs, we will do what every Marlin team has done before us and go all the way to the World Series and win it making us back to back World Champions.


Say what you will, but I believe in this team. Enjoy the 2nd half everyone and Let's Go Fish!

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I feel very refreshed after reading this. It is my belief that Admin is our "spark" (recall a win after he appeared on television) and as such, the Marlins will come back better than ever after the break.


great point.


we should sign him.


Admin walansky > lenny harris off the bench

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