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A Powerful Explanation for the Marlins Struggles


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A powerful explanation for Marlins' struggles

 

By DAN LE BATARD

 

 

 

 

Baseball, the game of mathematicians and poets and a philosopher named Yogi, is our most numerical game, and therefore the one most analyzed by thinkers. It is chess with sweat, umpires, ejections -- and the occasional irrational outburst against a television cameraman. Football appeals to something more savage within us, the violence bringing out our bloodthirst in ways a boxscore can't, and all those collisions trigger something in fans closer to the heart than the brain.

 

In this philosophical climate, the inconsistent Florida Marlins become an inexplicable little riddle instead of an OK baseball team, all the more inexplicable with Dontrelle Willis' loss to a ravaged Chicago Cubs team Friday, and we try to solve this puzzle with our on-base percentages and averages with runners in scoring position and, of course, by firing the manager.

 

But this isn't terribly complicated.

 

The Marlins are good, but not better, because they don't hit the ball over the fence enough.

 

That's it.

 

They don't score enough runs the easiest and quickest way.

 

Never mind Jack McKeon's mystifying and questionable strategies. Never mind Mike Lowell's anorexic batting average. Never mind Josh Beckett's blisters and the trade swirls around A.J. Burnett and the expensive floundering of Al Leiter.

 

Florida simply has not been powerful enough to muscle its way to the top of the standings.

 

First in National League batting average?

 

That's nice.

 

Third in National League ERA?

 

That's nice, too.

 

And those two things have certainly worked together to keep the Marlins relevant in a season that could have already been drowned.

 

But 44-40 Florida hasn't been better because it hits fewer home runs than any team in the National League but one. And it won't win anything this season, not even a wild card, if it doesn't start trotting around the bases instead of straining around them. The Marlins offense has spent half this baseball season, for lack of a better term, looking constipated.

 

Here's the ugly math: Lowell and Alex Gonzalez have four homers each. Paul Lo Duca has two, as do jitterbugs Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre. And no pitcher has homered. So from six of the nine starting spots in the lineup -- two-thirds, in other words -- Florida has a total of 14 homers. And that's why Florida entered Friday 11th in the NL in runs scored despite that league-leading batting average and Carlos Delgado's typical excellence, Miguel Cabrera's prodigy play and Juan Encarnacion playing over his head.

 

NEWS NOT ALL BAD

 

That's the bad news. The good news is that, without a trade or tinkering, career norms suggest all those players except Pierre and Castillo can and should improve their power numbers. It has taken six spots in Florida's order to hit as many homers combined as Felipe Lopez. Or Jason Lane. Or Jorge Cantu. And that, it goes without saying, is terrible.

 

But maybe Lowell's angry outburst at a reporter before Friday's loss wasn't. Florida needs the real Lowell, the three-time All-Star, if it is going to accomplish anything. And Lowell, who cares deeply, knows he has been killing his team. It is crippling knowledge to take into the batter's box with you, where you can squeeze the bat to sawdust with all your want and you have to swing relaxed even when you are the very opposite.

 

So Lowell, as classy and professional as anyone to ever put on a Florida uniform, uncharacteristically blew up about something written about him Friday. And then he went out and hit just his second home run in the past three months. Your friend, The Media, always there to help when we can.

 

WEATHER SYMBOLIC

 

Still, Florida lost because Willis was pounded like he never has been -- and by a Cubs lineup without the league's best hitter (injured Derrek Lee) and with Michael Barrett batting cleanup, no less. Tropical-storm winds battered the players and the poor grounds crew, scattering trash all across the field in a game attended, not surprisingly, by more Cubs fans than Marlins fans. The lights in the stadium even flickered on and off at one point.

 

Symbolic, really, for a team that has had trouble all season with its power supply.

 

 

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/...ts/12092119.htm

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I agree 100% with what Le Batard had to say. We need more power its alright not to get any Homeruns from Castillo and Pierre but not getting them from Loduca, Gonzalez, and Lowell is killing us. Encarnacion is playing over his head as well.

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Le Batard has a good point, but in my view that isn't the most telling stat.

 

We are dead last in close and late. 16/16 in the NL. Which has resulted in us either not holding a lead, or not being unable to comeback in close games.

 

We are 10/25 in 1 run games, 11/30 in 2 run or less games.

 

In contrast the Nats are 25/33 in 1 run games and that more than makes up for the difference in the standings.

 

Had both teams been playing closer to the norm, we would have about a 4 or 5 game lead on the Nats right now.

 

And for reference the Braves are 12/24 in 1 run games, so yes we would still be chasing them even if we played close games better.

 

Bottom line is we need to start hitting when the game is on the line.

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I usually would prefer to shoot this messenger (LaRetard), but in this case i'll hold my fire. It's true the Marlins haven't got the production at least HR wise from Alex, Lowell and Dokie. IF these guys had hit close to half of what they had for last season I think everyone is talking about a whole different perspective in the standings. While its true neither the 97 or 03 Marlins hit a whole bunch of homers, pretty much everyone was within a range to match their career averages. Thats not happening at this point in the season.

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Guest Juanky

Home runs continue to be the most overrated offensive stat in baseball.

 

When you're losing every fifth day guaranteed, one of your aces can't keep himself healthy, and the guy you counted on to be the 3rd biggest producer on the team can't hit over the Mendoza line - that's why you don't win.

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Home runs continue to be the most overrated offensive stat in baseball.

 

When you're losing every fifth day guaranteed, one of your aces can't keep himself healthy, and the guy you counted on to be the 3rd biggest producer on the team can't hit over the Mendoza line - that's why you don't win.

847829[/snapback]

I'd like to see a reasoned argument for that one. I'd say RBIs and batter strikeouts are far more overrated. Oh, and pitcher ERA.

 

I think his article is pretty much correct. You can get on base a ton like we do, but if you can't slug the ball to bring them in it's tough to score runs.

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Guest Juanky

Who is the better player Shammy, from an offensive production standpoint?

 

Player A: .317/.402/.456, 19 HR, 114 RBI, 7 3B, 36 2B, 4 GIDP, 56 K

Player B: .274/.358/.597, 44 HR, 87 RBI, 1 3B, 52 2B, 11 GIDP, 125 K

 

Before anyone goes looking for who they are, I just invented them right now

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Home runs continue to be the most overrated offensive stat in baseball.

 

When you're losing every fifth day guaranteed, one of your aces can't keep himself healthy, and the guy you counted on to be the 3rd biggest producer on the team can't hit over the Mendoza line - that's why you don't win.

847829[/snapback]

 

The best offensive teams in baseball are the best home run hitting teams in baseball.

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Home runs continue to be the most overrated offensive stat in baseball.

 

When you're losing every fifth day guaranteed, one of your aces can't keep himself healthy, and the guy you counted on to be the 3rd biggest producer on the team can't hit over the Mendoza line - that's why you don't win.

847829[/snapback]

 

I agree with the 2nd part about the Marlins failures......but at the same time, home runs I don't think are overrated. Even the White Sox, who everybody says win with "Ozzieball" are 3rd in their league in homers.

 

Oh, and the Nationals of this season are a fluke, so I refuse to buy any examples involving them.

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I'd say RBIs and batter strikeouts are far more overrated.?

 

847835[/snapback]

Batter strikeouts are overrated?

847842[/snapback]

Very overrated.

847846[/snapback]

 

How many times your team strikes out is overrated IMO, but you do need to strike out some of the other teams hitters (and again, this years Nationals=FLUKE, so I don't buy them as an example).

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Who is the better player Shammy, from an offensive production standpoint?

 

Player A: .317/.402/.456, 19 HR, 114 RBI, 7 3B, 36 2B, 4 GIDP, 56 K

Player B: .274/.358/.597, 44 HR, 87 RBI, 1 3B, 52 2B, 11 GIDP, 125 K

 

Before anyone goes looking for who they are, I just invented them right now

847836[/snapback]

Player B. Depends on park factors, defense, speed, and position played, though.

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I'd say RBIs and batter strikeouts are far more overrated.?

 

847835[/snapback]

Batter strikeouts are overrated?

847842[/snapback]

Very overrated.

847846[/snapback]

 

How many times your team strikes out is overrated IMO, but you do need to strike out some of the other teams hitters (and again, this years Nationals=FLUKE, so I don't buy them as an example).

847850[/snapback]

pitcher strikeouts are much more valuable. Agreed.

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I'd say RBIs and batter strikeouts are far more overrated.?

 

847835[/snapback]

Batter strikeouts are overrated?

847842[/snapback]

Very overrated.

847846[/snapback]

 

How many times your team strikes out is overrated IMO, but you do need to strike out some of the other teams hitters (and again, this years Nationals=FLUKE, so I don't buy them as an example).

847850[/snapback]

pitcher strikeouts are much more valuable. Agreed.

847854[/snapback]

 

I figured as much based on how you said it, juuuuuust making sure.

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The Marlins offense would be better if it had more homerun hitters but it would be GREAT if Lowell, Gonzalez , Encarncion were decent situational hitters. How many times has one of the players mentioned above came up with a runner or second or third and with 0 outs and failed to move the runner over or score the run with an out. The marlins lineup has way too many guys who stike out I can take alot of stike outs from Delgado and Miguel because they hit for power and average , but having the free swinging Lowell , Encarncion, and Gonzalez in this line up is too much. Probably why we are treading water despite our good starting pitching. I am not sure if any of those guys baring Encarcion are tradeable or whether management would want to trade them but I think the Marlins would be a much better team with a speedy contact hitter (ideally) in the line up instead of three stike out prone batters without speed, who dont bring much power to the lineup .

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Guest Juanky

Who is the better player Shammy, from an offensive production standpoint?

 

Player A: .317/.402/.456, 19 HR, 114 RBI, 7 3B, 36 2B, 4 GIDP, 56 K

Player B: .274/.358/.597, 44 HR, 87 RBI, 1 3B, 52 2B, 11 GIDP, 125 K

 

Before anyone goes looking for who they are, I just invented them right now

Player B. Depends on park factors, defense, speed, and position played, though.Everything other than what I listed is equal.

 

Why is Player B better, in your opinion?

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