So how do you respond after winning 4 games in a row? You lose 4 in a row.
This team is just not ready to make a play for anything this season. The staff has been overturned, the roster churned, and now, the team seems to be flat. It isn’t like they don’t have exciting young players – Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez all play the game the right way. They have talent, they can hit. They aren’t alone – the Marlins have one of the most productive middle infields in all of baseball in Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. Sure, Ramirez is struggling and his recent “promotion” in the lineup to lead off isn’t seeming to help, but he can still hit.
But, that is the problem – Hanley has been too inconsistent since the all star break. He has had a very quiet bat for the most part and the push to the top spot was done because Coghlan got injured, but also because it was hoped it would wake Hanley’s bat up. Hasn’t done it.
The pitching is meh, too. Volstad looks average at best on most nights. You’d think this kid was a rookie – he was last season and pitched very well at times showing his ability on the mound to have a cerebral game with top flight raw talents. He hasn’t been able to put it together and keep it together this season. Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson have been pretty consistent through the season although Double J has seemed to hit a struggle point of late. Anibal Sanchez always pitches with heart, but his offense can abandon him (like for Johnson) but even he can be off on nights. Sean West has just gotten back and it is too early to tell what he’ll do.
The bullpen has talent. Hensley has been the most consistent performer at the back of games of late but has yet to be given the ball in the 9th. Leo Nunez, with a plus fastball that he is afraid to use, has the stuff but is psyching himself out. Not what you want in a closer. The rest of the staff has been marginally good – Tankersley is a seasonal project that just seems to fail every season. Another reason why Ohman was acquired which should send a mixed signal to all Fish fans (why trade Cantu then go out and trade Vandenhurk for a specialty reliever?),
Right now, the Fish are a bore to watch. Offense sucks, defense sucks (well, at least that has been consistent), and the pitching is hit or miss. There really is nothing to play for other than to finish ahead of the Mutts – which means everything in my book. Can the players feel the pinch and loss of a playoff hope? It seems that they are just getting ram-rodded by teams they meet. They never have had success in Pittsburgh, so don’t assume they will turn out of this one either.
What started off as a promising road trip has ended up being a bore – with the exception of the Mike Stanton show. The future is very bright for the Marlins, but the question is, will it ever turn into a bright present? Maybe not just yet.