Miami Marlins first half report card: Starting pitching

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 01: Jeff Locke
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 01: Jeff Locke /
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This is the kind of report card the Miami Marlins might hide from their parents. The starting rotation has deservedly been the subject of scrutiny all season.

Where to begin? The Miami Marlins starting rotation has been a smorgasbord of disasters. Done-in by the two-headed monster of injuries and poor performance, this is where the bulk of the blame resides. The starting rotation has under-delievered.

Of course, that isn’t news if you were following the team through the offseason. The moves they made were far from aggressive in the free agent market. A pair of standout performers throw off the curve of what has been uniformly poor group.

The team has stumbled through the first half of the season. Often times, it’s the starting rotation putting them in a difficult situation.

Nothing is more indicative of the struggles Miami has endured than the number of pitchers they’ve had start a game. 11. Of those 11 pitchers, only one has been in the rotation the entire season. Injuries and plug-n-play experimentation has led the Marlins near the top of the league in total starters used.

There have been flashes of individual success and achievement, notably Edinson Volquez‘s no-hitter. But as a whole, the staff has faltered. Their line bears witness to a team unable to get it’s feet set before falling over itself.

Miami Marlins starters have combined to make 87 starts in the first half of the season. In those 87 starts, they’ve managed a staff ERA of 5.00, and eaten 444.2 innings. That means pitchers are only going 5.1 innings per game, on average.

That’s the second-lowest total in Major League Baseball, ahead of only the Cincinnati Reds who are at 5.

Not giving the team a chance

The statistics backing the claim that the Marlins would be competing at a high level with better pitching are endless. I suggest combing through them. They all point to what fans have seen on the mound nearly every start, futility.

Wei-Yin Chen probalby won’t return for the rest of the year. After appearing resigned to trading him, Miami is giving Tom Koehler another chance out of desperation. Any team that starts Vance Worley is in trouble; Miami did it four times.

Jeff Locke made seven starts for the Marlins. He completed five innings only three times. He never made through six. The offense has been forced to overcompensate, and they’ve done well. They’ve managed to score more than six runs in a game 17 times tho season.

The Marlins are 16-1 in those games.

But inevitably, the bats will go cold. Sometimes an opposing pitcher is locked in, and you’re lucky to muster two runs. That’s where the pitching staff isn’t doing it’s part: they are 1-19 in games where the Marlins score fewer than 3 runs.

Worst of all, there isn’t an answer waiting in the wings. The tragic passing of Jose Fernandez devastated the organization in many ways, one of them is on the field. The Fish enter the second half of the season with no more answers to solve the problem than they’ve had all year.

Breakout seasons from Dan Straily and Jose Urena keep the group from being a complete failure though. Straily and Urena are young, and with years of team control ahead of them. They make up a viable second, and third rotation combo moving forward.

Barring a miracle, the starting rotation will continue to fluctuate, and ultimately be to blame for the Miami Marlins missing the playoffs.

Next: Miami Marlins first half report card: Defense

Starting rotation first half grade: D

There’s no sugar coating it. The Miami Marlins offense is being wasted with a subpar pitching staff. With massive amounts of dollars committed to the position, the Marlins have spent liberally, but poorly.

Injuries and inconsistency have plagued the team all season. Unless they find a diamond in the rough, they’ll continue to be one of the worst staff’s in the National League.

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