Marlins Have No Answer For Struggles at the Plate
By David Levin
This is the Miami Marlins ball club the national media thought it would be.
Losers of nine of their last 10 games, the Miami Marlins continue to struggle at the plate after a 6-2 loss to the New York Mets in the series opener at Marlins Park.
Just hours after the news broke that first baseman Justin Bour was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins could only manage four hits on the night and it appears the franchise has all but given up on the 2018 season and has already begun the quest to improve in 2019.
"According to Wells Dusenbury of the Sun-Sentinel, “For the eighth straight game, Miami was held to three runs or fewer.”"
Are the Marlins in crisis mode?
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Of course, the Marlins traded a power hitter in Bour for a minor league prospect, McKenzie Mills, who is at least two years away from sniffing the Major Leagues. It’s the same company line the team has preached since the beginning of Spring Training – building for the future, one step at a time.
The question is when will the team pick up its pace and find consistency in the lineup and on the bump? There are 45 games remaining for manager Don Mattingly and his troops.
Will there be a march toward 60 wins? Can the ballclub give fans hope for the remainder of this year?
My half-full guess is this will remain a gritty group of players who won’t lie down for the next six weeks. My half-empty assessment is the season is already over and its time to move on.
There are some bright spots to talk about – rookie Brian Anderson, the play of J.T. Realmuto and spot hitting from unsung heroes from time to time.
"As Dusenbury wrote, “Miguel Rojas provided the lone fireworks at the plate for Miami, blasting a two-run homer in the seventh inning. For Rojas, it was his third consecutive game with at least one hit and one RBI.”"
But in reality, nothing will change what is happening in Miami right now and a loss to the Mets puts an exclamation point on how things are winding down in south Florida.
Miami traded away 19 home runs and 54 RBI, both of which led the team. It also meant another piece of the power source that was one of the best in the Majors last season is taking up residence somewhere else.
There is no true big, lumbering bat in the middle of Miami’s batting order.
It’s a far cry from the way things used to be.
"“The Marlins had a slightly revamped lineup on display after the team traded first baseman Justin Bour to the Phillies earlier in the day for minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills, Dusenbury added. “Usual left fielder Derek Dietrich started at first, while Rafael Ortega — who was called up on Friday — started in left. Ortega was 1 for 4 in his Marlins debut.”"
It’s a combination, with more players on the way with the Sept. 1 call-ups, Mattingly must work with and make work at the same time.
The Marlins will continue to tinker with their lineup as players are added to the roster. Hopefully, there will be an answer for the loss of Bour’s power and a balance of hitting that will end the team’s losing streak.