PHILADELPHIA -- Before we get to the headline topic, a reminder that shortstop Hanley Ramirez is in Alabama today having shoulder surgery. We'll update you on that as soon as the information becomes available......
Now, onto the matter at hand: Matt Dominguez's lack of speed.
It's hardly a secret that the rookie is a tortoise, but never was that more glaring than in the Atlanta series when Dominguez twice was thrown out at first on ground balls that pretty much anyone else in a Marlins uniform -- including 80-year-old manager Jack McKeon and gimpy first base coach Perry Hill -- probably would have beaten out.
The first instance came Monday when Dominguez hit a ball up the middle that deflected off the pitcher's glove and rolled between the mound and first. As Dominguez was chugging down the line, first baseman Freddie Freeman went to get the ball while the pitcher, after hesitating a moment, raced to cover first. McKeon was so certain that Dominguez would beat it out that he said he began calling out in the dugout for Javier Vazquez to grab a bat and go in to bunt.
"I'm hollaring, 'Vazquez, get up here!,'" McKeon recalled. "Then I look up and the guy's calling him out. I said, 'What the heck? That's an easy base hit."
One night later, Dominguez hit a ball deep into the hole on the left side that Alex Gonzalez barely managed to backhand before turning and throwing to first and nailing Dominguez. Gonzalez's momentum carried him past the left field foul line and, yet, it wasn't close.
Also during the Atlanta series, Dominguez was unable to score from second on a base hit and had to hold at third on a fly ball with less than two outs.
"Never been able to run, I don't know why," Dominguez said. "I'm never going to be a super fast guy."
Dominguez is already an exceptional fielder and the Marlins are hoping he'll develop into a decent hitter with additional time and seasoning. But nothing is ever going to make Dominguez any faster, and it's an issue they're going to have to live with. Dominguez will save runs for the Marlins over the years with his hands, but he'll cost them with his legs.
As Dominguez said: "It's more of a God-given gift to be fast. You just can't make yourself into a track athlete if you're a slow guy."
Doubleheader today at Citizens Bank Park, with the first game scheduled to start at 2:30 and the second set for 7:35. A front is headed this way, the temperature is expected to plunge into the upper 40s tonight, and rain could fall toward the later part of the afternoon.
McKeon needs one win to become the Marlins' all-time winningest manager. The Marlins are one defeat away from ensuring their 13th losing season.