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Could closer Heath Bell be the first struggling Marlin to slip out of a job?

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't a happy camper after watching his team lose for the eighth time in nine games Monday. 

Heath+Bell+Miami+Marlins+Photo+Day+QiW4D4-duFflI couldn't get everything he had to say in the paper, but you caught the gist of it with his parting shot to reporters: "I’m glad we’re heading to the West Coast where nobody can [expletive] see us."

Guillen has tried throughout the Marlins struggles not to make an example out of anyone in particular because aside from Omar Infante, Logan Morrison and four-fifths of his starting rotation (Josh Johnson would be the odd guy out) the entire team has been struggling. But the first fall guy might turn out the be closer Heath Bell, who aside from converting two saves in five chances has done just about nothing right since signing that 3-year, $27 million deal.

The 34-year old right-hander entered Mondays game with the Marlins trailing by two and gave up two more runs. He's now allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on 10 hits and eight walks over just 6 2/3 innings, bringing his ERA to 10.80 on the season.

"The reason we brought him in was because he got three or four days without pitching," Guillen said. "We put him in and he had the same trouble. That's what I'm talking about when I say adjustments."

Oh yeah, adjustments. Guillen went on and on about that after Monday's loss, saying he couldn't blame fans for booing the Marlins over their last two games because "I was booing too, they just couldn't hear me though."

"This game is about adjustments and we're not making any adjustments. Day in and day out we're seeing the same swings, the same approach at the plate, same mistakes. It's going to be tough to get out of that," Guillen said.

"I think [the] people [who] survive in this game, people have better careers and better years [are the] people who make the adjustments quickly. We have to start making better adjustments. If you will not make an adjustment, I'll make it for you. That's my job.

"Sometimes you have to be patient. Sometimes you try to go different ways to go about your business. But right now, I think if the players don't start to make adjustments you start to make different things [happen]. I'm going to make very drastic changes. I don't know which ones yet. But I've got a long way to go -- a six hour flight to make an adjustment. But I will make an adjustment. I'm pretty good at that. I know what [makes] a good ballplayer."

Back to Bell. Steve Cishek, who served as the closer some last year when Juan Carlos Oviedo was deported, would be any easy replacement. Cishek has looked good in April, going 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

MORE FROM OZZIE

Among some of the other funny lines from Guillen on Monday, here's what he said about the possibility the Marlins aren't hitting because of the large field dimensions at Marlins Park:

"If they don't want to hit here, call your agent and get traded," Guillen said. "Because they're going to play here. We're not going to play here and hit somewhere else. I don't see a problem with the other team. They're kicking our butt pretty good. We played in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Cincinnati and they didn't hit many home runs there either. They've got the wrong manager if they think that's going to be an excuse. That's unacceptable if they're making that excuse. The ballpark's too big? Too bad. Bunt. That's the way I play."

Moments later, he continued: "If that's going to be their excuse, they've got 450 at-bats to clean up this crap. That's it. They've got to clean it up. If not, I will find out how to clean it up.

As for the job Diamndbacks rookie pitcher Patrick Corbin, who beat the Marlins Monday in his first start about Double A: "He threw pretty good," Guillen said. "But if you face the Marlins right now, that's a pretty good opportunity to get a W and great opportunity to look good."

Comments

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richiej

seems like Ozzie is defending the coaches. Defensively, there are fundamental mistakes being made, things you don't even see in Little League World Series Games. Offensively, it seems like there are some who don't know how to recognize the strike zone, or how to swing just to make contact...too many pop-ups. Much of the short comings responsibility has to be placed on the coaching and not just at the major league level. minor league coaches have responsibility to get guys prepared for major leagues.

Stan M

I fall into the same category as LB with his comment yesterday. I'm more than discouraged; more like disgusted. Nevertheless tonight I too will watch the game; although I must confess that I've turned off the TV on 2 occasions when there was no hope. As a fan, I don't want to hear of possible changes or that maybe Bell will be replaced. I want to hear of definite changes and of Bell becoming the patron of lost causes for a while. Can't believe Perez is still around. There must be more than skill involved in his keeping his job. Buster Onley had quite an article on how the team is blowing its chance to turn things around with the potential Florida customers. He plainly stated that if May doesn't show improvement, then all that's been done so far will be for nought. This fan agrees with his assessment completely.

Flav C.

...or maybe some of them really aren't good hitters.
One thing I know for sure: not even the best hitting coach in the world can fix that at-bat aberration called John Buck.

Flav C.

correction:

"...hitting coach CAN'T fix that..."

Stan M

Richie, your points are well taken. Flav, while it is impossible to do anything with Buck except bench him, we must also remember that this lineup has 2 batting champions, a young outfielder recognized be all as a furure mega star, a 2B that has hit well over .300 in the past, a rookie of the year who now can't even maintain a major league job, a model of 1st half consistence in Gabby who has done little, LoMo whom every major league team would love to have, and a CF who had one of the better OBP in the majors last year. Most of whom are not performing anywhere near expectations. The heck with Buck, someone must get most of these other fellows hitting up to their major league past performances. Only Infante is really there. Here would be my lineup for a few games: Reyes, Bono, Infante, LoMo, Stanton, Gabby, Hanley, and Hayes

Flav C.

Stan. agree 100%. Its just that Buck gets on my nerves.
Richie is right, but we can also sense that Ozzie is sending a message to the players, much like Valentine did with the Red Sox when he criticized Youkilis in an interview. After that, Youks was on fire and so was the team: the Red Sox won 5 or 6 in a row. The Marlins has enough talent to come back from the West with a 5-4 or even 6-3 result. Heck, we will play the Padres and the Astros, they better get something going.

Flav C.

My lineup for 3-4 games: Boni, Reyes, Infante, LoMo, Hanley, Stanton, Petersen, and Hayes.

rbleigh

Some thoughts: tweaking a lineup here and there doesn't do much. Hanley is your star he has to hit 3rd, even with a low avg at this point and last year's pitiful performance he is still Hanley. Unfortunately Hanley has a light switch mentality, "hum, I think I want to hit today" and just like that he can go on a 2 week tear. Last July ring a bell with anyone or mid April this season as well.
Closer - Heath Bell has that Jarrod Washburn effect, diminishing assets, K/BB, K/9inn type ratios and the Marlins highly overpaid for a guy who accounts for 1/2 inning a game.
Reyes - just be healthy.
Stanton - I'm quickly coming off the Stanton bandwagon because I just don't believe he has that Cabrera like ceiling. Maybe the org does which is why the espn rumors/wants to lock this guy up. Essentially Beinfest and Mgmt never wants to make that mistake again but if they don't he just doesn't have that same ceiling to recognize pitches, control the strike zone and hit for a high average while putting the ball in play on a more consistent basis. Yes, Cabrera is that amazing as a hitter & its very difficult to compare the two.
And lastly JJ, well I hope he just has to build up that arm strength.

Flagstafffishfan

Gotta agree with all the posts on here. I do like the fact that Ozzie is hot now. I think he's a little gun shy after the fallout from the Fidel comments and would have liked to hear this last week.

Would you send out Bell tonight with a 1 run lead? Or....do you send out Cishek? Maybe have both warming up? They can't afford to really give anymore games away right. I mean to hell with hurt feelings. New month, time to turn it around.

Stan M

Flav, Great idea on Pererson over Gabby. I just didn't think of it. But I'd still drop Hanley another place or two purely to send a message. Maybe we have to turn the switch to get Hanley's light on, rbleigh. Bet we all agree on Hayes though. If, and it's a big if, we can take 2 out of 3 in SF, the next two series are with also rans and we should, and again it's a big should, take 4 or 5 out of 6. Prayers are called for.

Jesus C.

Just like crying, no praying in Baseball

Flav C

rbleigh- do not lose faith on Stanton. I just posted on another web site a full analysis on why his numbers are not good. The fact that he is playing injured on both the knee and on his wrist plays a big aspect of his bad performance.

Glags

Fellas, all good line ups. However, during the off season they were pretty emphatic about this being Hanleys team. No way is he batting anywhere but 3rd. Unfortunately.

Flav, the Padres owned us last year and it doesn't look like the fish can beat anyone right now. I wouldn't be so upbeat about facing them. To add insult to injury Maybin played really well against us.

Lastly, Peterson was brought up to "give the team a spark" but I don't see how he can do that riding the pine. There are enough guys struggling that he should be able to get at bats. Meaningful ones too because I don't see how a player can spark a team hitting in the eight hole.

Flagstafffishfan

Did Buck have the night off as scheduled or is this a move starting Hayes?

Flagstafffishfan

If this continues who do you bring in to close?

Flagstafffishfan

Bonifacio should be fined for that bunt attempt. If they lose this game it will be because of the 8th inning. How predictable was that inning? The three Dominicanos! Conyo!

Flagstafffishfan

Why would Ozzie not bring in a pitcher after Ricky was running the bases?

Glags

2-1 and they just showed Bell warming up. My stomach turned a little.

bob

Bell back in the west coast and NOW he has a 1-2-3 inning.

Flav C.

It cracks me up!

LA Angels has always been one of the elite hitting teams in the leagues, and Hatcher considered a top hitting coach. Now for the first time in a long time, they are not within the top 10 hitting teams and on the bottom of their Division. "FIRE THE HITTING COACH", scream the fans. On top of that "Albert Pujols Is So Awful Right Now He's Dealing With His Frustrations By Throwing His Coach Under The Bus", says the headline of an online article.

SF Giants fans before the game last night were saying "the bats are hot", "we are on a good streak", "Posey, Bell, Pagan will fry the Fish". After the game: "FIRE BAM BAM", "FIRE THE HITTING COACH". Posey, a very good hitter, with a .320 bat avg this season, hits on a double play last night. Why did that happened? "IT IS THE HITTING COACH", scream the fans.

Cubs, one of the teams who year-after-year has had horrible performances on the hitting stats, brought in Jaramillo, a legend among hitting coaches. Worked with the Rangers for 15+ years. The Cubs continue to struggle on the batting stats. "FIRE THE HITTING COACH", scream the Cubs fans.

It cracks me up.

flagstafffishfan

Nice Flav...good post. Baseball is brutal as a player and a fan. I thought for sure that when Mujica came in that was it..game over, and then a twin killing and into the ninth with Bell and again I thought...game over but a few bad hacks by the Giants and it's a win!! I suppose if I had it my way there would be no hitting coach or manager or third baseman or closer or catcher!! lol. Still think that Boni needs a few days off. The Fish should have scored in that 8th inning.

Flav C.

flaggs, agree..i would give both Boni and Gaby 3 days off during the series against the astros.

Baseball Stew

Think you are trying to say it aint the hitting coach,it's the crappy hitters on the Marlins. That's a fact.Fans should face reality. This team cant hit well and score runs. Most games they win will be low scoring pitching duels. That makes them a .500 team. Not a play-off team. All the pre-season hype was B.S. And their defense is horrible,and it's not going to get better. Wait till the June swoon,when the schedule gets tough.

Flav C.

Hey Stew, what I was trying to say is that the hitters can be better than what the numbers show and what they are producing. I really don;t care if they win games by 1/2 a run, as long as they win.
As far as being a playoff team, I would say that under other circumstances, I would agree with you. But this season in particular, the Mets will start sinking to the bottom of the Division. The Nats has worse run power than the Marlins. The Phillies are having a hard time to stay health and with power. The Braves probably has the best balance between pitching-hitting. And I will dare to say: The team in the NL East that ends .540 by the end of the season, will go to the playoffs.
Called first. Any team in the NL east with 14-15 games above .500 will make it.

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