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Miami Marlins face June gauntlet -- as do others

    PHILADELPHIA -- With the best regular-season month in franchise history now behind them, the Marlins turn the calendar page to arguably the most challenging stretch of their schedule -- June.

    Beginning tonight with the start of a three-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins face nothing but winning teams the rest of the month. For that matter, there are really no soft spots for them until after the All-Star break. The only sub-.500 opponent the Marlins are scheduled to face between now and July 17 are the Brewers (23-28) in early July, and they're no cupcake.

    But here's the thing: nobody in the National League East is getting off light in June. The Mets and Phillies each have 15 games against first-place teams this month (the Marlins have six). Because the NL East is matched with the AL East in interleague play, the June waters are shark infested for everyone.

    Taking a look at overall strength of schedule, here's how the NL East stacks up based on the collective winning percentage of each team's opponents this month:

     1) New York Mets (.543) -- The Mets face the Yankees six times. They also see the first-place Nationals, first-place Reds, first-place Dodgers and the AL East co-leaders, the Orioles and Rays.

     2) Atlanta Braves (.541) -- Like the Mets, the Braves also face the Yankees six times. Here's who else they'll be playing: Nationals (5 games), Marlins (3), Blue Jays (3), Orioles (3), Red Sox (3) and Arizona (3).

     3) Marlins (.535) -- The Marlins are facing only six different opponents this month, but they're all beasts: the Rays (6 games), Red Sox (6), Blue Jays (3), Phillies (5), Braves (3) and Cardinals (3).

     4) Philadelphia Phillies (.526) -- The Phillies have eight different opponents, and three of them (the Twins, Rockies and Pirates) are very beatable. But they've also got the Dodgers, Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays and Marlins.

     5) Washington Nationals (.525) -- With the exception of a 4-game series against the Rockies, the Nationals don't have any breathers in June. They'll be seeing the Braves, Mets, Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays.

     Just looking at it overall, I'm thinking this could be the month where the Mets drop out of it. And, with all their injuries, how much longer can the Phillies hang on? Anyone else have an opinion?

Comments

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Flav C

Time to separate the wheat from the chaff

Ken

I'm a Phillies fan, and have to say you're thought of how long can they hang in is reasonable. About 10 seconds before Doc went down, Harold Reynolds voiced the opinion that the division hadn't put the Phils away when they maybe could have, and that was newsworthy. So now, maybe we have to revisit the thought further out with the extra challenge. But I do think that there's enough ability on the club that they can hang in. It wouldn't be a bad idea for the division to put them away while they can. Looking forward to the weekend even though I wish I ciould be more optimistic.

flagstafffishfan

I have to agree Ken. I think the Marlins and Braves will be there at the end of June but the Phils will still be waiting in the shadows. They have an experienced team with a great manager. Can't count them out even with the injuries. Don't know if the Nats have enough offense but their pitching is phenomenal and will keep them close. The Mets...cya but nice run. The Marlins have to simply maintain and not go on some horrific slide. The NL East is tough with quality teams...too bad we aren't in the NL Central right?

Bob

I wouldn't count the Mets out. It could go either way for the Mets and the Yankees. The Yankees have to face either the Mets and Braves 12 times, so it will be rough for them. The Braves have a slightly easier schedule for the month than the Mets.

The Marlins have the most challenging month, facing the top of the AL East for 15 games. If Stanton can keep the homers rolling, Hanley can keep up his offensive, the Marlins can keep up the running game and several Marlins improve offensively (looking at you, LoMo, Buck, and Gaby), they'll keep up with the Braves and Mets.

The Phillies have the easiest schedule of the month, so they'll at least hang out through June.

The most interesting month is for the Nats. They are facing the Mets, Marlins, and Braves, the three teams chasing them for 1st. But if I were the Nats, I wouldn't worry until late-August/early-September, when Strasburg's pitching number is up.

I still think at the end of it, the Phillies will be a distant fifth and the Nats will fade without Strasburg, and both wild card teams will come from the NL East.

laurelbowie

Gaby had a home run in four at-bats last night for New Orleans. He's now hitting an even .300 since going down. Scott Cousins was 2-4 with a home run. He's hitting a little over .280.
Looks like Ozzie is going with the exact same lineup tonight. Guess he thinks Buck is on a roll, since he's hitting a mighty .200 in his last 10 at-bats.
Clark,
Nobody thinks the Brewers are a cupcake. We all know they are those big weenies and beer.

Stan M

Flav, thanks for pointing out that very comprehensive article on Keys. What I find especially illuminating is his walk/K ratio. That is seldom seen in a 21 YO.
We fans have much to be thanful for. Everyone (except Buck) is either hot as the devil, or showing signs of breaking out. As a young man, I was educated by Dominican Friars and if nothing else, they tried to make us think with logic above all else. For that reason, I have trouble with the stat heads who seem to have their heads buried in some ledger instead of watching the game on the field. It seems like they have forever told us how awful Coghlan is in the OF. That catch a couple of nights ago shows how much effort, hustle, and heart can't be measured with mere statistics. After his first few weeks learning the position, I have never seen him throw to the wrong base or miss a cutoff man. Can that be measured? The bottom line is; are the Marlins better off with Coghlan in LF (orCF) and LoMo at 1B, or is LOMo in LF and Gabby at 1B the better alternative? I think the answer is obvious. Earlier this year the FO said they were more worried about LoMo's knee than Stantons. It seems as if both are fine now, so with Coghlan also contributing...watch out NL East!!!

Flav C

Stan, thank you so much for sharing the same opinion I have about Coghlan. Either as a CF or LF he excelled in it. As a CF in previous seasons, he had 100% fielding accuracy, including several tough assistance, throwing runners out. As a LF he is even more accurate with his throw and reading the ball right off of the bat.
I'll go with you: Coghlan in LF and LoMo 1B.

spitballer

26 games scheduled for June....provided that there are no rain outs. I’m predicting Marlins 18 wins & 8 loses.

Glags

Stan, why are you so high on Lomo. He's average at best at first and he's had good spurts of hitting but not consistent enough to think he'll be any better than what he is now. Right now he's the biggest whole in the line up, more so than Buck, since he bats behind Stanton. Someone here basically said that the season is over once they stop pitching to Stanton; while thats probably an exaggeration today's at bat with the bases loaded is probably a scenario that will be played out throughout the season.

Nacional

There you go. Lomo with bases loaded = double play

Fed Up

Hanloaf's gonna Hanloaf.
It's June, all right.
Maybe this June will make last June look brilliant in comparison.
The real Marlins showed up tonight.
Worst team in the league.

Glags

Aaaaand welcome back. By the way no reason why Buck should've stayed on the base paths in the 8th.

Glags

Could IT be upon us?!!!

Stan M

The manager could be at fault for this debacle. Infante should have been given the "take" sign with that 2-0 count. Then again maybe he was and ignored it. We'll never know.
Glags, it sees to me that an awful lot of teams had asked about LoMo when he was in disfavor. In my opinion, the man is fundamently sound and with such skills, he is bound to succeed. According to many reports, he is a sound firstbaseman. Granted he is still getting his feet wet after the recent move. We know he has power because he demonstrated it last year. We know he has good ball/strike ability because he has demonstrated it throughout his career. And we can be pretty sure he can hit for average for he did in the minors and in the majors as well...but in limited spurts to date. With that swing, I see him as a Keith Hernandez but with more power. Again I repent...the guy was playing on one leg for much of this season to date. Who would you replace him with...Gabby? Gabby has demonstrated over two full years that he would rate sommewhere about # 20 to 25 among all major league 1st basemen. Go around the majors and see how many would replace their current 1st baseman with Gabby. As I see it, his only chance to remain a meaningful Marlin would be if he went back behind the plate. As a catcher, he would rate in the upper half as a hitter. Defense? I haven't the slightest idea, except he was moved from the position.

Flav C

I saw that Gaby left the game in NOLA on the 1st inning. Might be heading up to Philly.
Or then again, he is just hurt because he had been hit by a pitch.

Glags

Stan, thanks for the response. I asked because I had a conversation with a stranger at Starbucks of all places and he basically said the same thing. Does anyone else think the team would be better server with Lomo batting second and infante hitting behind Stanton.

Stan M

No matter how the FO covers it up, or Ozzie stands behind him, this team cannot go all the way with a regular hitting .160. We have 2 auutomatic outs every second or third inning in the pitcher and Buck. Isn't this apparent to eveyone? I was looking around for any catcher who might be available for virtually anyone would be an improvement. The team would never admit a mistake and bring back Martin or Paulino, that's for sure and too bad. But how about Soto of the Cubs. He is in disfavor there and for good reason. But a change of scenery might help and he is certainly available and even in his current state, he would be an improvement. Then there's that ex-pirate, Doumit, who is currently on the Twins and going nowhere. He is supposedly a below average catcher but I'll take him and they can bring in Buck for defense late in a game. The guy can hit, that'a a given. Something simply must be done and now, not later.

laurelbowie

Glags,
I've said before that I think with the roster we have now, Stanton should bat third, with Hanley cleanup and Infante fifth. If that moves Lomo to second, that would work for me. It's worth a try, especially if the team starts to struggle. Last night was truly frustrating.

Clark

Clark here. No sight of rain in Philly, thankfully. Saw the comment above about the idea of moving Morrison into the No. 2 spot, and it makes some sense given that he hit .320 in that lineup position as a rookie in 2010. He's certainly not demonstrating a knack for driving in runs, last night being a perfect example of that. He's hitting .146 with runners in scoring position this season, and he's a career .194 w/RISP. When we head down to talk to Ozzie Guillen in a bit, I'll ask him if he's given any thought to putting LoMo in the No. 2 hole. -- Clark

laurelbowie

Wonder if Ozzie will start Ruggiano today to break up that logjam of lefties at the bottom of the order.

Stan M

Who was that guy, Stan M, who called Ruggiano an Astro retred? Must be some other Stan M...I wish. Actually there seems to be a trend in major league ball of late. That being to try career minor leaguers as fill ins rather than veteran major leaguers. Financial considerations are one main reason, but it also seems to be working. Each day I try to check all of the box scores. More and more come across names I never heard of , but who are playing for good teams. So maybe trying this Ruggiano is a better bet than signing a much more expensive veteran.
LB, your idea of switching LoMo to number two in the order must be a bad one...because I never thought of it!. Actually, it's a great idea and hope Ozzie sees it as such, too.

laurelbowie

To give credit where credit is due, that was Glags who first mentioned moving Lomo to the two spot. I just kinda seconded the motion.

Alex

Asmuch as I love the Marlins, several things are extremely worrisome:

1) We often play really STUPID baseball. Too many guys getting picked off, two many guys getting thrown out by a mile trying to take an extra base when it makes no sense to do so, too many guys swinging at pitches like Infante did last night when even Little League players know to "make the pitcher throw a strike". These "brain farts" by the Fish are starting to hurt.

2) Our Outfield Defense continues to be TERRIBLE. We have not had a Bona Fide Center Fielder since we gave Cody Ross away for FREE. Peterson is lousy, and Coughlan's arm is a joke. How many times does the ball have to bounce before it reaches home, Cogs? This is EXACTLY the reason why good teams DO NOT PUT INFIELDERS TO PLAY THE OUTFIELD. But the Marlins are always gerry rigging a line up together, putting guys to play positions they never played before.

3) Eduardo Perez must go. Lomo, Gaby, Coghlan, Peterson, Buck, Murphy; all these players are having their WORST OFFENSIVE SEASONS IN THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. There is a reason for that: poor hitting coach. How many times do I have to hear about "all the hours Perez is spending in the cage with Buck", LMFAO!

Still, our starting pitching is what is keeping this team going strong. My biggest worry is this: what happens if the starting pitching goes into a slump? That is our worst nightmare.

Here's another peeve: why does Ozzie continue to let SLOW GUYS run the bases? It absolutely blew my mind that he let Buck run last night! Any other runner would have scored.

Oh well, enough of the complaints! I still love this team. Go Fish!

Alex

Flav C, I agree with most of your posts, but what you just said about Coghlan's arm is ridiculous, my Marlins brother. All ANYONE needs to know about Coghlan's arm in the outfield was on display yesterday as he tried to throw out Pence and BOUNCED THE BALL HOME ON THREE HOPS. His arm in Left Field is bad; in CF it is TERRIBLE.

Alex

However, he DOES get to a lot of balls; you are right about that, Stan! I think we can tolerate Coghlan's weak arm in LF because of all the ground he covers, but I do not like him in CF. Yesterday showed us bad outfield play by both Peterson (who obviously has trouble tracking balls hit at him) and even by Cogs, both of whom took really bad routes to balls hit near them which dropped in.

Oh, and who knew Reyes was such a sloppy SS?

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