Opening Day was yesterday for the Miami Marlins and they played a sloppy game, dropping the game 2-1 to the Braves. In the loss, the team provided us with plenty of highlights (unfortunately not good ones).
Here are the three things I learned about the Miami Marlins on Opening Day.
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1. Manager Mike Redmond Does Not Know How to Use Players
Down by 1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Michael Morse, Martin Prado, and Marcell Ozuna hit back-to-back-to-back singles to set up the Miami Marlins with a bases loaded, no outs situation. With catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia due up to the plate, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez lifted right handed Julio Teheran in favor of Luis Avilan.
We have of course talked about Salty’s platoon issues in the past on the site, so the obvious move for Red should have been to bring in left-handed pitching killer Jeff Baker off the bench to hit for Salty. In his career, Baker owns a career .868 OPS against lefties compared to a .598 OPS for Saltalamacchia
Fredi Gonzalez also had a right hander warming up in the bullpen, so if he countered with bringing the left hander in to face Baker, Redmond could have turned to Ichiro Suzuki to take over for Baker. The Marlins have 5 guys on their bench and only used one yesterday, that seems like a waste in a close game.
Salty, of course as we all know, ended up hitting into a double play that erased the game tying run and Salty himself at first. As it turned out, that was the Marlins last real chance to win.
This failure to use his bench properly is not limited to one game for the Marlins skipper. He has not used deployed his players correctly a lot in his tenure as the Marlins manager. While managers don’t win teams a lot of games, they can cost them some with decisions like the ones Red made yesterday.
2. Marlins Bullpen is Good
Alright, I admit I already knew this from before, but I wanted to include this because I feel like Mike Dunn has not gotten the credit he deserves from Marlins fans over the past two seasons.
After Henderson Alvarez provided the Miami Marlins with 7 strong innings, Mike Dunn and A.J. Ramos pitched two more solid innings, striking out 5 of the 7 hitters they faced and not allowing a single hit (Ramos walked a hitter).
Beyond Dunn and Ramos, the Marlins have closer Steve Cishek, Brian Morris, Sam Dyson, Brad Hand, and David Phelps in their bullpen. That’s a ton of talent, especially in the back-end of the bullpen. The Marlins should not blow many leads in 2015, granted Red uses his pitchers in the right situation.
3. Despite the Loss, the Miami Marlins are Interesting
A throwback of former Marlins taking the field for the ceremonial first pitch? Check
A rain delay in a domed stadium for old-time memories of Sun Life Stadium? Check
Slip-and-slide on a wet field? Check
Despite losing their Opener, the Marlins proved they can be entertaining, none the less. Every time Henderson Alvarez takes the mound, you know he’ll provide some excitement. From his patented first pitch to him collecting the first hit of the Miami Marlins 2015 season, Alvarez has earned his “The Entertainer” nickname (though I’m not a big fan of it).
The Marlins have an exciting team with Dee Gordon‘s speed, Giancarlo Stanton‘s power, and two other young members of the best outfield in baseball. Opening Day was a boring 2-1 pitchers duel final score, but the game had much more excitement than that.
Maybe it was just Opening Day? But either way, I’m excited to see more of this Marlins team in action in 2015.