The Miami Marlins were swept in the Queen City by the Cincinnati Reds over the last three days, getting outscored 21-1.
Even though we have been told for awhile now that the Miami Marlins are….not very good, it still somehow surprising. The rotation had us all pretty excited for the start of the season, and they’ve been pretty good for the most part.
The most jarring statistic about the whole sordid deal is that the Marlins collected a dozen hits in 87 at bats through the series. Twelve-for-87. That’s nine singles, a pair of doubles, and one solo home run by Neil Walker, which accounted for the Marlins total offensive output over the three games. Miami drew 10 walks, but also struck out 37 times. So as a team, the Miami Marlins slashed .138/.227/.195 over three days, against the only National League team that was performing worse in the standings than the Miami Marlins.
So it’s not enough that the Miami Marlins are a bad team right now – we knew they’d be far behind the four pseudo-first place clubs in the NL East. No, even worse is that they’re very far behind the second-to-worst team(s) in the NL. Their encouraging season-opening split against the Colorado Rockies? The boys from the Mile High city have cobbled a 1-7 record together since then. The Reds were 1-9 until the Fish rolled into town, but the Marlins were an effective salve for Cincinnati’s wounds. The rest of the NL East has not disappointed, with all four clubs over .500 after 11 games. It’s appropriate that the Miami Marlins would follow suit. But does it have to be this way?
I said before that the Miami Marlins starting rotation is a secret weapon, and it still is. I guarantee, no matter how well the starting five are pitching, nobody is going to notice if the Marlins lose every game, and nobody will be surprised.
Since no-one is paying attention, it will come as a shock to some to notice that the quartet of youngsters backing up “ace” José Ureña would all be assets to most rotations. Trevor Richards, Pablo López, and Caleb Smith are all labelled as “promising sophomores,” and Sandy Alcantara’s rookie status is still intact through the 2019 campaign. Despite the nascence of the fledgling season, Richards and Alcantara lead the entire club in Wins Above Replacement, combining for a mark of 1.1 over just five combined starts, and it’s not even close. Smith is at a more modest 0.2, and López has a disappointing total of -0.1. Only Ureña has really underwhelmed, at 0.6 Wins Below Replacement.
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Going by ERA+, the outlook is somewhat brighter even. Alcantara leads the rotation at 287, Richards has a 213, and Smith has racked up a 105 rating. López, at 71, and Ureña, 46, bring up the rear.
And don’t look now, but after 4 1/3 innings of major league pitching, Nick Anderson has struck out 10 and allowed one run. Somehow, he’s earned a FIP of -0.82. That shouldn’t be possible, but there it is on his Baseball Reference page. I thought that might be a mistake, so I double-checked it on The Baseball Cube. Over there, they have him at an even more impossible mark of -3.92. Fangraphs has the value pegged with BR, at -0.82.
I know, I know, we shouldn’t get all worked up over a “Small Sample Size,” but can’t this team use a win?