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6 runs in 7 days!

    NEW YORK -- No offense. Ineffective bullpen (yep, Heath Bell blew another one). Spotty defense. It all added up to one atrocious 0-5 road trip for the Marlins. I was riding down the press box elevator after the game with one of the national writers and his words to me were, "I picked them to make the playoffs. What was I thinking?"

     Bell was abysmal this afternoon, laboring through a 46-pitch inning in which he walked four of the first five batters he faced. He didn't give up a hit until his 46th pitch -- the game-winning hit -- which prompted a friend of mine to write me asking, "What's the most pitches a pitcher has thrown in an inning before giving up a hit?" I thought it was a good question and sent it along to the great folks at Elias Sports Bureau. They came through for me earlier this week when I asked if a team had ever walked four batters in an inning with four different pitchers (Answer: No -- not until the Marlins did it Tuesday), so hopefully we'll hear back from Elias tonight on the latest query.

     The story of the trip wasn't Bell or the bullpen, though. It was the offense. The lineup produced a grand total of six runs in the five games. That's not bad. It's awful.

      And it all starts at the top, meaning the top of the order. The Marlins' 1-2-3 hitters -- Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez -- combined to go 4 for 57 -- let me repeat that, 4 for 57 -- over the five games. Ramirez didn't have a hit, and in typical Ramirez fashion, didn't want to discuss it afterward. Bonifacio and Reyes did, however, and said it was unacceptable. Reyes is hitting .205 at the moment. Add in his five fielding errors and it is hardly the player the Marlins were hoping to see when they signed him to a six-year deal.

      The rotation is doing its part. The five starters posted a 1.82 ERA during the trip. But they don't have a single win to show for it.

       So there's my take. What's your's? Where do you place the greatest blame for the 7-11 start?