Hits with runners in scoring position? Not how the 2016 Miami Marlins roll.
Hits to an injury ravaged lineup? That’s a type of hit the Marlins have in spades.
The bad news started this week when the club announced that spot starter David Phelps would be hitting the 15-day DL. Phelps was already replacing an injured Wei-Yin Chen, unless of course you want to classify him as replacing an injured and traded Colin Rea, and had honestly been the second most productive pitcher for the past month after Tom Koehler.
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Original rotation member Adam Conley remains on the DL, and major Deadline acquisition Andrew Cashner just missed a start due to a blister. Even with Cashner returning, there is not a single pitcher that has started for the Marlins this season that hasn’t missed time due to injury, demotion, or regularly scheduled maintenance.
And then on the same night that the Phelps news broke, Marcell Ozuna laid out for a diving catch and exited the game with a wrist injury.
Already down Justin Bour, Giancarlo Stanton, and Derek Dietrich, the Marlins just lost their one remaining established power threat. While Christian Yelich has been on quite the home run tear the past couple weeks, the fact remains that the only presently healthy hitter on the team that has ever hit 20 HRs or more in a season is Jeff Francoeur. And he’s only done it twice, most recently in 2011.
In fact, no one available to play Friday night has ever even hit for more than 15 HR in a previous season, and J.T. Realmuto‘s 10 HR campaign last year stands as the most recent double digit tally.
Except Yelich, who doubled his career high Thursday night with his eighteenth blast of the year. Still not sure what to make of that, other than to conclude that he’ll get a lot more fantasy baseball love in next spring’s drafts.
The need for a surge of offense has been well documented. And with fourteen runs in the last four games, maybe we’re even starting to see it. But if this is to have any chance, be it chance for the Wild Card or just a chance for a winning record, they’re going to need some breaks in the health department. Despite all the necessary coachspeak from Don Mattingly on injuries, losing Ozuna would officially be the jump the shark moment for any narrative saying that the Fish face injuries just like any other team.
Still room to surge, with a month full of games against teams either in front or well behind them in the standings. But it’s only going to happen if they start getting players back, and finally put an end to the injury carnage.