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Can Marlins Bullpen Keep It Going?

   PHILADELPHIA -- Good morning from the City of Brotherly Love, where the weather forecast for tonight is grim: a 90 percent chance of showers, coupled with strong winds. We'll see, but I have a gut feeling that this one gets banged. Just remember that if they do play, you'll hear it on 1080-AM, not 790, due to Heat playoffs.

    Speaking of playoffs, the Marlins would be in them if the season ended this instant. Yep, they're the NL wild card leaders at the moment, which is crazy considering that, despite an 8-5 record, they have a minus five run differential. What that shows is they're winning the close contests, the latest example coming last night when they came from behind to beat the Phillies, 4-3. They are now 4-0 in one-run games.

     Credit the bullpen for much of their success. Other than Josh Johnson, the starting staff has either been inconsistent (Ricky Nolasco) or largely ineffective (Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad). Their No. 3 and 4 hitters -- Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton -- haven't hit. Neither one has a home run. John Buck is slumping. Omar Infante is struggling at the plate. The Marlins have yet to score more than seven runs in a game. So it isn't the offense that's doing the job.

      But the bullpen has been sensational. Collectively, Marlins relievers now boast the lowest ERA in the majors at 1.97. Last night, the pen was charged with covering the final four innings after Vazquez came out after the fifth, and it shut down the Phillies lineup. The story was pretty much the same the previous night in Atlanta when the Marlins pulled out another one-run victory.

      If there's a dark cloud looming, it's the fact that so much has been asked of the bullpen so early. Marlins relievers have racked up the third-highest innings total in the NL due to the repeated failure of the starters to pitch deep into games. Still, so far so good for the Marlins pen.

      What do you think? Can they keep it up?

Comments

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Pete

What has happen to the attendance of
Atlanta Braves?The stadium looks always empty.

John

If Edwin keeps pulling the starters at 70 pitches, the bullpen will no doubt be overused.

David R.

The bullpen has all the tools to keep up the pace. I am a little concerned with the youth of Dunn and Webb, but the others are veteran guys who know what to do to be game ready for 162. I think it would be prudent of the Marlins to bring in some reenforcement for the next few weeks if only to spell Brian Sanches (who has been absolutely dominant.) I think our best option would be either the Hopper or Tom Kohler who are both pitching effectively for the Zephyrs and can go in long relief. Adalberto Mendez and Victor Garate have also been producing well but they are best served filling the short relief role. This would likely mean sending down Cousins as Boni has the edge, being a switch hitter and able to play anywhere on the field.

Lou Vales

DearDavid, Nice to see someone with knowledge of the farm system. Baseball America had Marlins' system ranked 29th and had the telling comment that "most talented area is relievers and that is never a good thing",however, it doesmean that we can start turning these into 6 inning games with the emergent talents of Webb, Dunn and a few others who will soon be ready. The Marlins have no hard throwing starters on the horizon and it's sad to realize that Sean West will soon have squandered his talents and will have purchased a bait shopback in Louisiana with his bonus money--IF he still has his bonus money.

I really believe the Marlins can hang with the Phillies and Braves,however, they need Volstad and Sanchez to be at least functional.

Would this have been a fun lineup:

Coghlan-CF
Morrison-LF
Ramirez-SS
Cabrera-1B(By the way, he has become a GOOD 1B)
Stanton-RF
Sanchez-3B
Buck/Baker-C
Infante-2B

Glags

Hey Lou, you always have valuable insight but why do you always bring up West and the bait shop in LA?

Glags

And to answer your question no bullpen can last 162 if the starters only go 5 innings consistently.

Lou Vales

Glags, I dislike people who willfully set out to squander talent they have been blessed with. IF we had someone who interacted with people on this Blog they could tell you what the Marlins thought of West getting injured last year because of his physical conditioning.The pictures from Philly last year with him leaning into the car were also a little disconcerting.

Glags

Ok got it.

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