Another series loss against a quality opponent and the Marlins are leaving town. With Fay bearing down on south Florida, there seems like no better time than now for the Fish to get out of the water.
The series loss to the Cubs crippled the Marlins a bit as they fell further back into the depths of the NL East now trailing 4.5 games in back of the re-surging Mets. Sporting a record that is just 3 games over .500, it remains to be seen how much longer the Marlins can hold on.
Their bullpen has been failing them. Reynel Pinto, who was arguably the Marlins most consistent reliever up until now, has been sliding. He faced 7 batters yesterday and 5 of them scored. He has not had much success of late, but still Fredi Gonzalez turns to him in the hopes that something will get worked out. Pinto has a 10.33 ERA since the All Star Break. Pitching coach Mark Wiley maintains that Pinto’s mechanics are still sound, but there seems to be some suggestion that he is tiring – Pinto has pitched 63 innings this year. Last year he lead relievers with a league high 58 2/3 innings pitched.
Maybe the Marlins will get everything firing on all cylinders on the road. They have 3 games against the Giants on the opposite coast, far away from bad weather, and then 4 games against the D’Backs. The Marlins will wind things up in Atlanta. Each series presents an opportunity for the Marlins to get back into this race, they will need to focus on themselves and trying to win each series in order to do that. Maybe Paul Lo Duca’s return can help?
It isn’t just the bullpen though – the offense has become anemic. Too many strikeouts and not putting the ball in play will do that to you. Gonzalez asserts the Marlins’ hitters are trying to hit home runs, but others just note the increase of K’s. When looking at the Cardinals series, the Marlins saw a team that can hit the long ball, but was hugely successful in putting the ball in play and limiting their strike outs. The Marlins still have not yet been able to consistently string hits together in bunches, instead relying on the big fly to garner most of their run support. The approach has worked for most of the year, but right now it is hurting the Marlins.