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Hard to foresee second-half surge for Marlins

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MIAMI - (KRT) - Don't blame Florida Marlins players for their requisite optimism in believing that making the playoffs is still doable. Don't blame Marlins fans, either, for choosing to view the balance of the season through a rose-colored tint.


This is what athletes and fans do.


Besides, being two games over .500 at the All-Star break hardly puts you on Hopeless Street.


Look at it impartially, though, and it's difficult to muster enough wishful thinking to overcome some hard realties.


Ask me for a yea or nay, and I say the Marlins do not rally to make the playoffs. Not wishing that by any means (he said in an effort to stem the tide of angry, "you traitor!" e-mails), just being realistic.


There isn't much sense of magic attached to this team in 2005; there is closer to a snakebit feel. There isn't much reason to think the Marlins will be appreciably better in the second half - which they'll need to be - than they've been in stumbling with a sub-mediocre 16-25 record since a strong start.


Ten straight road games to start the second half (which kicked off with 13-7 loss) adds a foreboding feel, just as that 2-5 homestand to end the first half did.


The Marlins have much ground to make up on the Washington Nationals and tough ground to overcome on the nemesis Atlanta Braves. Then there's the struggle to stay ahead of other wild-card challengers such as the Astros, Phillies, Mets and Cubs.


Could the Marlins do it? Of course.


But we're talking likelihood here. Would you bet on it? Would you predict it if you were being honest and not simply trying, like Le Batard, to curry popular favor?


Relying on Dontrelle Willis to duplicate his sensational first half is hardly a given. Neither is consistent health and productivity from Josh Beckett. Neither is appreciably better numbers from Mike Lowell. The team releasing veteran Al Leiter on Thursday was indicative of a situation already bordering desperate.


Florida finished the first half with two of the NL's top four hitters, with big numbers from Carlos Delgado and with Cy Young numbers from Willis - and still the bottom line was barely above .500. Not a good sign.


Don't expect trading A.J. Burnett to be any panacea, either. It might be smart, because re-signing him after the season will be very tough. But it likely won't be an answer in terms of a playoff push. You'd be hard-pressed to believe that getting a solid reliever or decent hitter in return would make up for losing your hardest thrower and second-best starter this season after Willis.


It all seems like too much to overcome.


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I somewhat agree with the sentiment the team hasn't shown they have what it takes to put together a nice run of wins.


Do they have the ability to take off and catch up to the Braves and Nationals? Is it possible for them to make the playoffs? Sure it is. There are 63 games remaining.


Will they? Who knows? But if they are going to make a run they need to start it on this road trip.


What they've shown so far on this road trip is they remain completely out of synch. The offense has started to produce, but now the starting pitching and bullpen are faltering.


Inconsistency. It hasn't gone away. And it is starting to look like that is the signature of this season.

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Guest Jack1

Horrible article. It sounds like he is talking out of his ass.



Well, anyway, I think it come be done if the Marlins find some middle relief out there and one more starter (both outside of the organization).


Middle relievers? Are you kidding me? None of that means s***. This teams' biggest problem all year has been the lack of scoring runs. That gets to the pitching staff after a while. We need some players who have patience and can knock in runs. Will there be a trade for those type of players? No. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen so we have to hope that some of these position players start getting key hits with RISP. I am not holding my breath. We have time until the trading deadline but it looks like Beinfest is a BUST so far this year.

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He brought up a few things I've asked my self at least 3 times since the Cubs Series:


1) How can we have two of the top 5 batting average guys in all of baseball and still struggle so much offensively? Not to mention, Delgado's been doing what we expected him to do.


2) How can Dontrelle be putting up Cy Young numbers, and carrying this staff when no one expected him to, yet it's wasted?


3) Why can we ever expect to roll off a long winning streak if our lineup features too many pitchable outs (Lowell, Gonzalez, Encarnacion)?


You know what I've noticed with these guys is they seem to be a group of guys who (collectively) like to win, but that's not going to do it, they need to hate to lose...

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Don't get all upset about the article posted above.


It was from Greg Cote and half the piece is missing, Dan LeBatard's portion. It is part of the Herald's Sunday "Pro/Con" debate column.


Here's Dan's side:


Posted on Sun, Jul. 17, 2005



? Greg Cote | It's hard to foresee second-half surge




Nats are a fluke and will be caught




[email protected]


At the risk of becoming the fifth superhero in Fantastic Four -- ladies and gentlemen, introducing Homer Man! -- I still believe the Marlins are going to the playoffs.


The recent stretch of stench is not who they are. They've underachieved about as much as they can and are still within a whiff of the wild card. Atlanta? No, that's not the team the Marlins will catch. Washington is.


The Nationals are an aberration, a fluke, a statistical anomaly. All season, they have given up more runs than they've scored. Only three teams, ever, have made the playoffs doing that -- and those did so with middling 84-victory seasons.


All of history's math suggests that a team that allows more runs than it scores will finish .500 or worse. And the Nationals somehow went into the All-Star break 16 games over .500. They keep that up, and they would become an unprecedented team in the history of our most historic sport.


In other words, they won't keep that up.


All the odds suggest they will now start losing most of those one-run games they won in the first half. They will crash back to our planet with a thud, whereupon the more talented Marlins will step on their necks.


Consider this: For all the power problems the Marlins have had, they've consistently hit more homers this season than only one other National League team -- Washington. No team in baseball has more trouble scoring than the Nationals. And they're this far over .500? It makes no sense.


Florida resurrecting itself is largely predicated on Mike Lowell returning to form. If his second half is like his first, the Marlins are done. They need to get their run total up, and they can't and won't do that if Lowell continues to mathematically offset the improvement Carlos Delgado was supposed to bring from last season's offense.


But I believe the three All-Star appearances are more representative of who Lowell is than this career-worst first half.


Florida obviously needs more homers.


Am I sounding too much like one?



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Florida resurrecting itself is largely predicated on Mike Lowell returning to form. If his second half is like his first, the Marlins are done. They need to get their run total up, and they can't and won't do that if Lowell continues to mathematically offset the improvement Carlos Delgado was supposed to bring from last season's offense.


Le Batard just doomed his own argument...

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3-7 in the last 10 leading up to and after the all-star break. mind you 5 of those losses came to teams that were sub .500 at the time.


When is this team going to have that "push" that every is talking about? You usually expect to see improvement leading up to the ASG and continuting afterwards. 3-7 (soon to be 3-8) dont look like a playoff push to me.


"Can do it" and "Are doing it" are 2 totally different things. Most teams "can do" what it takes to get to the playoffs. But only a few "are doing" what it takes to get to the playoffs and these teams have been doing it leading up to the ASG and are still doing it after the ASG.


I'm not being a pessamist. I'm being a realist.

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