Marlins Still Swimming In First
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Before their three game slip into reality, the Marlins sat atop many Power Rankings around baseball due to their major league leading 11-1 record. However, their record was as deceiving as Arthur Anderson and his former business called Enron.
For starters, the Marlins played six games against the Washington Nationals. In addition, it was still only twelve games into the regular season. People were hyping up the Florida Marlins just like they do with the NFL Draft for no apparent reason.
Overall, the Marlins have gone on their 11-4 tirade without much of an effort from their best hitter Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez has knocked two balls out of the ball park while hitting a mediocre .270 for the season. Newly acquired Emilio Bonifacio started strong hitting .583 with four stolen bases in the teams’ first five games but has flopped as of late. Since the first five games, Bonifacio has gone 6-42 (.143). Rookie Cameron Maybin has also showed growing pains as he his batting at a .214 clip.
The pitching has been their saving grace. The guy who carried their staff last year, Ricky Nolasco, has struggled in his four starts. He started off slow last year after being shifted into the rotation. In the first week of June last season, Nolasco was performing poorly as he carried a 5.05 ERA. He turned that around by July and never saw an ERA more than four for the rest of the season; ending up the year with a 3.52 ERA. There’s still a lot of time for this guy to get things right.
Starters Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, and Anibal Sanchez all have ERA’s under 3.00. These three have been the glue for the Marlins while their fifth starter Andrew Miller has found his way to the DL with a strained right oblique.
The Fish will battle their toughest opponents of the young season as they will face off against the defending world champs, the Philadelphia Phillies, in a three game weekend series.
The Phils are coming off of one of their worst losses of the year as Milwaukee starter David Bush took a no hitter into the eighth inning. Philadelphia also saw their ace Cole Hamels leave the game early after being hit in his pitching shoulder by a line drive by Milwaukee’s first baseman Prince Fielder. Right now the team is calling it just a bruise.
“I have a temporary tattoo of a baseball that will be going away,” Hamels said. “I’ll be fine. I’ve been hit in much worse spots, spots where you really don’t come back as fast. I’ll be able to go out there and pitch in five days.”
Brett Myers gets the nod for Philadelphia in the first game of the series sporting a 5.03 ERA in three starts this season. Florida counters with Johnson who is coming off a start where he allowed six runs in six innings to the Nationals. Even with that horrific performance, Johnson still boats a 2.91 ERA in 21.2 innings.
Although it is still early, this series might indicate whether or not the Florida Marlins have some staying power in the National League East.
By Nick Tasso
MLBcenter.com Florida Marlins Correspondent
> View all of the 2009 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans