The start of the Miami Marlins’ 2015 season has not been quite what the team had envisioned. The Marlins are 3-10 and playing some really bad baseball. They started the season getting swept by the Atlanta Braves and losing a series to the Tampa Bay Rays, both at home. They finally got a series win earlier this week when they took two of three from the Braves in Atlanta.
Things had to get better after that rough start, right? Nope. Now the Marlins have been swept in four games by the New York Mets. Yes, the Mets are a good team with great pitching but if the Marlins really are a borderline playoff team, they have to at least play better against the Mets, right?
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Coming off a hyped-filled offseason the Marlins had high hopes and expectations. Internally, the Marlins believed they were a playoff team and so did some of the “experts.” Were these expectations fair? Are the Marlins really a playoff bound team? Or are they just average? The latter, I’d say. Am I overreacting? Maybe. It’s still only 13 games into the season but 2015 has gotten ugly real fast.
10 games into the season the Marlins already called a players-only meeting. Giancarlo Statnon also called out the team for their lack of “fire.”
Part of the Marlins dreadful start is because of their slow starting offense. Miami ranks in the bottom half of total team offense. They rank 23rd in the major leagues in slugging percentage, A whopping .344. The Marlins have shown almost no power: A lineup featuring Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Michael Morse has hit just seven total home runs as of this posting.
The lone bright spot in the Marlins lineup so far this has been Dee Gordon. He leads the team in BABIP with .420. The next closest is Stanton at .304. Gordon also leads the team with his .389 batting average.
Besides Gordon, no one else is really hitting for the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton is starting to get out of his slump; he had two home runs in the first two games of the series and a couple more hits in today’s series finale. The second highest batting average on the team is Martin Prado who is batting .277. Christian Yelich, who the Marlins rewarded with a seven-year, nearly $50 million extension, has been struggling as of late. On Saturday night against the Mets, Yelich recorded his first career four strikeout game, going 0-for-5 and bringing his average down to .200.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a batting average of sub .100 and has seemingly lost his starting job in favor of rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto, who was called up from Triple-A when Jeff Mathis went down with a broken finger. Salty has struck out in almost half of his plate appearances. He recently showed his frustrations when he told reporters he was “mad” about losing playing time.
Call to the Pen
Not only has the offense struggled but the pitching has been very bad, too. One of the key acquisitions the Marlins made in the offseason was Mat Latos, who they acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Anthony DeSclafani and a catching prospect. Latos has gotten off to a very ugly start with an ERA of 10.24, giving up 11 earned runs in 9.2 innings pitched over three starts. He does have the highest K/9 among starters with 9.31, though.
The Marlins starting pitchers as a unit have an ERA of 4.50.
Dan Haren has been the lone bright spot in the rotation so far this season. Haren, who was part of the Dee Gordon trade has posted a 2.50 ERA as the Marlins number four starter.
While the starters have been bad, the bullpen has been even worse. Coming into today, Marlins relievers have posted a 5.44 ERA and 7.95 K/9 as a whole.
One thing the Marlins have done well is fielding, having committed only three errors in their first 13 games. One error was courtesy of Stanton and the other two came from Saltalamacchia. As a team the Marlins have a .991 fielding percentage.
Whether it’s just a slow start or truly a lack of talent, this club shouldn’t be 3-10. The Marlins on paper are probably an average team with long shot hopes for the playoffs so you can’t pull the “slow start” card much longer. They’ve already dug themselves in a deep hole.
The Marlins have a three games series coming up after Monday’s off day, versus a bad Philadelphia Phillies team. Well, the Phillies are bad but right now they have a better record than the Fish at 4-9. Nothing less than a sweep should satisfy the Marlins.
The fire that Stanton says the team lacks better be ignited soon or it will be a long summer for players and fans in Miami.
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