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Can the Marlins prevail in the challenging NL East?

     The San Diego Padres' victory over the Nationals earlier this afternoon aside, it is starting to become clear that -- as we approach the one-quarter mark of the season -- the National League East is superior to the other NL divisions. Four of the five N.L. East members have winning records, and the one team that does not -- the Phillies -- has won the past five division titles and cannot be discounted.

     Going on winning percentage alone, the East (.559) tops all divisions -- N.L. as well as A.L. The N.L. East has gone 32-22 against N.L. West teams and 36-25 against the N.L. Central. Within the division, the Mets have the best record at 14-7. The worst? The Marlins at 3-8.

     Asked Ozzie Guillen what he thought would decide the division, and he pointed to pitching.

     "Whoever stays healthy the most and whoever pitches better," Guillen said. "If you look at each team's lineups, we're pretty strong. We're not showing it yet. I think at the end of the day is who pitches better because the hitting is almost equal (from one team to the next)."

      Do you agree? How do you think the Marlins rank in what could be the toughest division in the majors?

Comments

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I'm Right

No, they can't. They will finish in last place. Because they stink.

flagstafffishfan

Although I wouldn't say they stink as stated above I would say that with this team currently assembled they will fall short. I do believe that they will have a winning record however which is always good.

Guillen said. "If you look at each team's lineups, we're pretty strong. We're not showing it yet. I think at the end of the day is who pitches better because the hitting is almost equal (from one team to the next)."

Sorry Ozzie but I think that when it comes to lineups, once the Phils get healthy, they along with the Braves look tough. Unless our 1st baseman, 3rd baseman, Shortstop and Catcher turn it around it will be really hard to score runs. How many hitters do we have batting at or near .300?? Great pitching however with the Fish so far gotta give them kudos for sure!!

Stan M

It is hard not to pick the Phillies. However, Halladay has been beatable upon occasion that that could be more telling than either Howard or Utley. The team is old and injuries tend to pile up later in the year for the 33 and above crowd. They are playing better so I'd pick them for second.
Atlanta wasn't supposed to hit, but they have. Their pitching was supposed to be great; it's good but not great. How can a contending team run Livian Hernandez out there every other day? But they have the on the field leadership that we lack in Chipper. Unless injuries change things around, I'd pick them to win the division.
Washington is coming back to earth. Too many injuries to sustain their present position. I'd pick them for 4th. But watch out next year!
The Mets have surprised everyone but they too are very young and still need a year. I'd love them to keep it up and win it all if the Marlins can't, but it's not realistic. Last place.
That leaves our beloved Marlins. Sure I'd love to see them win it all but that too is no longer realistic. We can't expect a complete turnaround by both Bell and JJ. And the rest of the starters are pitching a little over expectations. The bullpen has been exposed, we let too many relievers leave. Hanley is now a good player, but no longer a great player. One can't realistically expect more of Buck or Gabby. LoMo is out of position and has a troubling knee. Stanton is fun to watch, but can be an easy victim of good pitching. Reyes, Bono and Infante should be fine but there are still too many holes in that batting order to expect tremendous improvement. Third place would be my unfortunate guess. Hope I'm wrong...very wrong!

Flagstafffishfan

JJ 1 run 2 hits in 1st. Not a good start. Guy just isn't the same.

Flav C

For all that was said previously, I will pick the Marlins to win the Division.
The Braves, as Stan mentioned, have good rotation, not great. Jurjjens is already out. Minors was not great last year and this season he's been worse. Hudson, after his injuries, is not the dominant pitcher of last season. They are hitting well, but their hitters are very streaky.
The Mets don't have the depth to keep it going.
Nats have good rotation, but that's about it. They are relying on a 19-year old to bring offensive power now. Also, their ace is on an "inning count" program. As soon as he approaches it, they will shut him down. Look at the Nats also limiting the number of innings he pitches per game.
The Phillies are still relying on a comeback of two players that no one knows how they will be physically. Utley, even when he comes back (If he does) will not be an everyday player. And they have the Hamels dilemma: If the team is not performing well by July, he will be gone. Others may follow (i.e. Victorino). Teams are already keeping Amaro's cell phone busy. Their immediate farm system is depleted because of their last trades (i.e. Pence).
I still think we have the pieces to make it happen and some others to use as trade bait (Gaby) for relieve pitching.


Flav C

Interesting match-ups during the Inter-league games for the NL East teams:
Marlins at Indians
Nats vs Orioles
Phillies vs Red Sox
Mets at Blue Jays
Braves at Rays

Tough match-ups. No walk in the park to anyone.

bob

The Marlins can win it. The Nationals have been counting on Strasburg, but they have said that they will shut down Strasburg once he reaches a certain number of innings pitched. Taking that kind of arm out of a rotation will do something for a team's chances of winning. Just look at the Marlins and Josh Johnson.

The Marlins will be leading with pitching later in the season. Besides Johnson, the rest of the rotation has been dependable the past few seasons in terms of playing time. Anibal, Nolasco, and Buehrle have been consistent (even if Nolasco has been streak-prone), and Big Z turned it around in a big way. Only question marks in terms of pitching for the Marlins are JJ and Bell, and JJ at least has turned in a couple of good starts recently.

With the Nationals, there is no question mark. Strasburg WILL be gone by September, whether by injury or by innings pitched. In crucial September, the Nationals will be giving away 5-6 games. If the Marlins can keep the current pace and enter September at most three games behind the Nationals, the Marlins will catch up. The Mets will fade by September, the Phillies will be too far behind to do anything, and it will be either the Marlins or the Braves doing the one-game playoff. Given Fredi's inevitable late-season collapse, the Marlins will win the division.

bob

@Flav, those are definitely interesting matchups. The top of the NL East is facing the top of the AL East, and the basement of the NL East is facing the basement of the AL East, and then the '97 World Series rematch between the Marlins and the Indians.

Roger

Yes... pitching is very important. But as Harry Cary via Cubs once said on the topic,"No one has figured out how to win the game of baseball with out scoring runs."

Flav C.

One thing I didn't understand was bringing Choate to pitch the 9th. He had already pitched on the night before. The Braves has plenty of lefties so we will end up probably needing Choate late in the game, so we might as well have rested him. Maybe it would had been a good opportunity to leave Bell or Dunn pitch, since we had 4 runs advantage. Well, the coach knows what he's doing.

?

no he doesnt

Stan M

Flav, you hit the nail on the head. Bell could have pitched the 8th and 9th just to give him work in a non-threatening situation. And your point about Choate is also well taken. But Ozzie did bench Gabby and that was a plus.

Nepotism  Cant Hit w/RISP

Angels take a page out of the Marlins 2011 book and fire hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. Pujols aint hitting so they make Mike Scioscia's 13yr hitting coach the scapegoat. Unlike the Marlins,the Angels could not find a relative of any front office employees to give the job to.

richiej

I love the team. However, there are issues...Stanton not very smooth in Right Field, Lomo not very good in Left Field. But both are giving Maximum Efforts. Infield seems to be pretty good.

Offense, wow. Not very good so far. Rich and Tommy keep talking about how hard Eduardo is working with the hitters. Eduardo is not getting inside anybody's head with any good hitting ideas. It seems like the younger guys hitting all went downhill after the prior hitting coach was fired last year.

Flav C.

The Marlins has to put a big effort tonight if they want to split this series. Minors is not as good as Beachy. And Buherle is the perfect pitcher to try to contain Bourne and Prado. Gotta win tonight because tomorrow we have Ricky pitching and we know the Braves owns him big time. He will probably give up HRs to Jones and McCann as usual.

daveC

HAVE SOME FU*&$G FAITH!!!
I think we will emerge as one of the top teams when it all settles... (BIM)Believe in MIAMI!

.

(KSW} keep smoking weed

.Ozzie, Comfortably Numb

When is Ozzie gonna wake up and realize that Lomo is no clean-up hitter???? Hello...is there anybody in there?...Just nod if you can hear me...is there anyone home?

laurelbowie

Numb,
Whom do you suggest?

.Ozzie, Comfortably Numb

Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton...why wait? It's inevitable. Lomo's stats batting clean-up are embarassing.

laurelbowie

Numb,
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but Stanton didn't do any better batting fourth. I think flip-flopping hitters is like rearranging deck chairs. It's going to take one more bat from somewhere to keep the Fish afloat.

Stan M

There is more to hitting cleanup than swinging the bat. Stanton started the year at cleanup and it wasn't working. Of course he will eventually end up there, but right now he is beginning to do well with less pressure at #5 or #6.
Special to LB
I didn't go to the "do dah deh". As a dirty old man I thought of a girl names Carol Doto. She was an exotic dancer in Chicago (I think) and was one of first to have a certain part of her anatomy enhansed...and I mean enhansed. Read about her in Playboy, never saw her. Got to think more about baseball!

.Ozzie, Comfortably Numb

Stanton started the year and didnt hit because he hadnt gotten enough reps in ST. Now that he's swinging a hot bat,with the Marlins moving in to the tough part of the schedule,is the time to make the change back to clean-up. Maybe they should move Lomo down to 5th...too much "pressure",he's choking like a labrador at clean-up. In 20 games hitting clean-up Lomo has 69AB's and is sporting a .246BA with 7RBI's, a .167BAw/RISP and a .391 SLG%. Talk about woofing under pressure.ARF,ARF. Give Lomo a bone a send him home to hit 5th, where he produced the most in his career thus far.

spitballer

The Marlins will be in the "play in" game. I havn't seen the Braves play at all this year...so this 2 game series will give some clues as to how good they are. IMO...the Marlins have yet to peak...which is good for now...maybe the Braves are peaking now....

Camptown Races

@Stan M..you must be refreing to Carol Doda, and her 44's, known as the twin peaks of San Francisco...Ah,yes.remember them well. Dodaaa,Dodaaa.

laurelbowie

To hell with baseball for a minute.
Stan M,
It was Carol Doda and she had 44Ds — at least 10 inches of which were silicone, or whatever passed for silicone in those days. The bad news is, you and I are both really, really old and you've completely ruined "doo-dah" for me.

laurelbowie

Camptown,
You must have beaten me to the punch by about 60 seconds. Glad to know that Stan M and I aren't the only dirty old men around here. Ah yes, the old Condor Club. I remember it well.

Camptown Races

Used to be a special sighting, now it seems they're on every street corner...I call that progress

laurelbowie

I hope all the young guys are taking notes.

Nacional

Stan M, stop picking on Gaby

Glags

Old guys are pervs!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha.

Granny Goodwench

There's no perv like an old perv

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