Yes, the Marlins won in 13 innings last night against their rivals the Atlanta Braves. So, what better time to call for the firing of Marlin hitting coach Bill Robinson than now?
Let’s not get all emotional about this. Sure, Robinson has been around for awhile now, even since the Torborg era. Remember that?
And yes, the Marlins have a team batting average of .272 and an OBP of .339. Not bad. But only 329 runs in 75 games? That is only 4.3 runs a game. Our opponents are getting 4.2. The Marlins rank #26 in runs scored in the entire MLB but are #6 in AVG. Interstingly, they are #16 in hits.
The Marlins left 17 men on base last night against the Braves. Routinely, it seemed, squandering any chance to win the game. Sure, they broke through and won it, finally. But they needed to take care of this game when they should have. That is the mark of a good team. And right now, the offense is very inconsistent. The hitters are not advancing the runners – trading outs for runs. Instead, it seems guys forget how to do the basics and are only waiting for the three run bomb to deliver them. This is not the mark of a consistent offense and is certainly not the style of baseball the Marlins are known for.
In the 2003 run, the Marlins were aggressive on the field. They bunted and forced the opposing team to adjust to their game. Then, when they got on base, they ran. And were even more aggressive and daring. Lee, Encarnacion, Pierre, Castillo – pick your poison. They were going to steal on you.
This squad may not run as well as that ’03 squad, but they have much better hitters in Delgado and Lo Duca than the Marlins did with just Pudge and Lee (the ’03 model, of course – in fact, Derek Lee’s success could be evidence enough that Robinson wasn’t getting the most out of his players).
Can Bill hit for the Marlins? No, obviously not. But are there tell tale signs that the Marlins are not blossoming under his tutelage? Yes. Here is one more snapshot to consider. LoDuca lead off the 12th inning with a double. He then advanced to third on a balk with NO OUTS. All the Marlins needed was a long fly ball. Encarnacion popped out and so did Alex Gonzalez. Neither hit was strong enough to seriously challenge the Braves to score Lo Duca and Encarnacion looked especially unprepared as he swung at a pitch way outside and was down 0-2 on two bad pitches. This is a situation where you got to think, as a hitter, the pitcher is wild and isnt going to give you anything to drive. Make him work some. Don’t go up there hacking. And that, my friends, is where coaching comes in.