Fish Bites

Quick Bites links before I start working on a real article. Haven’t done that in a while.

– First off, here’s what might be the most important series of the season so far, a four-game set with the Phillies starting tonight. The Marlins will send Chris Volstad to the mound to start the official second half, while the Phillies counter with legendary Marlins killer Jamie Moyer. The last time we faced the slow-tossing lefty type, Barry Zito shut us out for 8 1/3 innings. Still, I like our chances and will be cheering madly tonight. Also, Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine will be doing the color commentary for this series, so it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table compared to Tommy Hutton.

– Craig over at FishStripes reports that the Batting Stance Guy is doing promos for the Fish. I like watching the guy, and Craig has his Marlins past and present stuff in the post, so check it out, it’s funny stuff.

– Over at Bleacer Report, Mike Massaroli talks about how the Marlins have caused so much trouble for other teams. He cites the Mets division-clinching losses at the hands of the Fish the last two years, but then he mentions the two World Series years, and I took a bit of offense. The way he mentions the Marlins is as a sort of spoiler to what should have happened, rather than as a legitimate competitor in each of the series. He cites every postseason series the Marlins won as essentially blunders on the side of the other team, which I don’t believe gives enough credit to the Marlins in each of those years. Here are the Pythagorean expectation records and winning percentages of the Marlins and their postseason opponents in 1997 and 2003.

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I was surprised by the Pythags of some of the teams, particularly the 1997 Giants team. But overall, the three teams I expected we were underdogs against, we actually were.  Against the remaining three teams, we were favored. The author didn’t even really mention what the Indians did in particular that should have beaten the Marlins, other than to say they had one of the best offensive teams in history.

…a Cleveland Indians team containing the likes of Jim Thome, David Justice, Manny Ramirez, and Matt Williams.

…one of the greatest hitting teams ever assembled.

The second quote was taken from his response to Game 3, which the Marlins won 14-11 after scoring a ridiculous seven runs in the ninth inning of a tied ball game. The Indians scored 868 runs that year. They were fourth in the league that year in runs scored, so I don’t quite think “one of the greatest hitting teams ever assembled” necessarily applies.

I don’t think enough credit goes into what the Marlins have done in the postseason. I don’t doubt they’ve outperformed a few teams and gotten some breaks, but it isn’t as if the team’s body of work was so bad that they were underdogs each time.

That being said, the Marlins went 6-0 in playoff series and hold two World Series titles while being outscored 153-149 in total in their postseason history, a Pythagorean record of .493. Shows you that we’ve been lucky DURING the playoffs, that’s for sure.

– Dave Cameron at FanGraphs is doing his annual Top 50 Trade Value list, and he’s got JJ at #30. I think that’s a fair assessment certainly. It will be interesting to see if the Marlins choose to sign any of their two young ace-type guys in JJ and Ricky Nolasco to long-term deals to buy out their arbitration years and cheapen up their first two free agent years. Juan C. Rodriguez wonders the same. I’d venture to say yes, the Marlins can get this done, and ultimately will provided JJ continues on the roll that he’s on. Even if he signs for 4/$40M, we’ll be getting a 5-win pitcher each year (and that’s assuming something close to what he’s done throughout his brief career) for extra years past his arbitration seasons for darn good value.

– David Verjano of Miami Sports Generation knows the Marlins have a battle ahead in the second half. He’s hoping for the same things all of us are hoping for, even the more saber-inclined such as myself know that ultimately, the team needs to find someone to wake up for them to compete seriously in the NL East, no matter how weak the divisions seems this year. Keep checking out David and the rest of the Miami Sports Generation blog for the latest on South Florida sports news. They definitely have it covered.

– Finally, two things. One, later today our latest installment of Shark in the Tank featuring That Balls Outta Here’s own Brant Houghton should be posted. We’ve got an interview/discussion set up at 5 p.m., so you can expect the transcript to be up before the game is on tonight. Also, we’ve got a podcast show in the works together, recapping NL East action every week (ideally). More information as it comes, but I’m very excited to be working with Brant and his passionate and inciteful viewpoints on a podcast taht we can make for all of the NL East.

– Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, please subscibe to the Maniac’s feed! It can’t hurt, and if you love the Marlins like I do, you’ll want to read my stuff, if only to get angry at it. Please subscribe!

Tags: Brant Houghton Chris Volstad Craig Dave Cameron David Verjano FanGraphs FishStripes Jeff Conine Miami Marlins Miami Sports Generation Philadelphia Phillies That Balls Outta Here World Series

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