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Miami Marlins on cusp of baseball history for ineptitude

     WASHINGTON -- The Marlins wake up this morning on the brink of baseball history. They haven't just lost their first two games. They've been blanked in both. And, according to Baseballreference.com, no team since 1916 has started a season by coming up completely empty in its first three games. EVER.

      As it now stands, the Marlins are one of only 11 teams to suffer shutout losses in their first two games. They've played 18 innings and the closest they've come to crossing home plate was when Giancarlo Stanton was tagged out about 10 feet shy of the dish in Monday's 2-0 setback.

      Believe it or not, there actually exists a silver lining -- a tiny thread of hope -- in their early struggles. The St. Louis Cardinals of 1943 also hung up all zeroes in their first two games but managed to finish with 105 victories and a trip to the World Series.

      More often than not, though, putting up a pair of doughnuts to start the season is a sign of things to come. The 1963 Mets would go on to lose 111 games. The 1974 Padres lost 102. And so on and so forth. It's not a pretty picture.

      In reverse chronological order, here are thumbnail sketches of the 10 teams that stumbled out of the starting gate as anemically as the Marlins have:

      2002 San Diego Padres -- The Padres were done in by the Arizona pitching one-two punch of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling before breaking through in the first inning of their third game when Ron Gant's sacrifice fly plated his team's first run. Scoreless innings to start season: 18. Final record: 66-96.

       1994 Pittsburgh Pirates -- Barry Bonds bolted the Steel City following the '92 season, which also happens to be the last time the Bucs posted a winning record. In '94, the Pirates failed to score their first two games against the Giants' John Burkett and Bill Swift. Not until Andy Van Slyde homered off Mark Portugal in the fifth inning of the third game did they end the drought. Scoreless innings to start season: 23. Final record: 53-61.

       1980 Atlanta Braves -- The Braves fired blanks in their first two games, losing to Cincinnati's Frank Pastore and Mike LaCoss, though the second of those two shutouts was called after six due to rain. Not until Biff Pocoroba drove in Chris Chambliss with a RBI single in the 7th inning of the third game could the Braves breathe a bit easier. Scoreless innings to start season: 21. Final record: 81-80.

       1977 Seattle Mariners -- The Mariners came up all goose eggs to the Angels' Frank Tanana and Nolan Ryan to start the season before Dan Meyers drove in Dave Collins with a RBI double in the third inning of the season's third game. Scoreless innings to start season: 21. Final record: 64-98.

       1974 San Diego Padres -- Hey, it's the Padres again. The Dodgers' Don Sutton and Tommy John shackled the Padres' lineup to start the season, and Andy Messersmith kept the scoreless run going before Willie McCovey ended the drought with his RBI single to score Bobby Tolan in the 6th inning of the third game. Scoreless innings to start season: 23. Final record: 60-102.

       1968 Los Angeles Dodgers -- The Dodgers came up short against the Phillies' Chris Short in the season opener before falling to the Mets' Jerry Koosman in the second game. Thanks to Don Drysdale, the Dodgers eked out a 1-0 victory in the third game, scoring their only run in the second inning on Ron Fairly's solo home run off Don Cardwell. Scoreless innings to start season: 19. Final record: 76-86.

        Time out for a trivia question: Ron Fairly hit his first major league home run at the age of 19 and his last when he was 39. Only two players (CORRECTION: three players) in major league history have hit homers as teenagers and in their 40s. Who are they? (Spoiler alert: "Answer Man" has produced the correct answer, and even corrected the original question, down below.)

      1963 New York Mets -- This team was awful, so taking shutout losses in their first two games came as no great surprise. The Cardinals' Ernie Broglio did them in in the season opener while Ray Washburn took care of them in the second game. Duke Snider homered in the second inning of the third game -- off Warren Spahn, no less -- to get the Mets on the board for the first time. Scoreless innings to start season: 19. Final record: 51-111.

        1947 Cleveland Indians -- The Indians opened with shutout losses to the White Sox and Eddie Lopat and the Tigers and Virgil Trucks (who just died a couple of weeks ago) before scoring their first run in the first inning of the third game. Lou Boudreau was the first to touch the plate for the Tribe. Scoreless innings to start season: 18. Final record: 80-74.

        1943 St. Louis Cardinals -- The '43 Cards opened the season with a couple of tough 1-0 losses, losing in 11 innings to the Reds and Johnny Vander Meer in the opener and in 10 innings the following day. Ray Starr started for the Reds. Stan Musial scored the Cardinals' first run in the sixth inning of the third game. Scoreless innings to start season: 26. Final record: 105-49-3.

        1940 Washington Senators -- The Senators were blanked by Boston's Lefty Grove and Jim Bagby in the first two games before scoring off the Yankees' Lefty Gomez in the second inning of the third game. Scoreless innings to start season: 19. Final record: 64-90.

        So pull up a chair later today and see if the Marlins can do what no team has ever done before. Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound for the Nationals.

Comments

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answer man

A silver lining? A tiny ray of hope? HaHaHa.. The 1943 Cardinals had ,among others,HOF'er Stan Musial and one of the great SS's in Marty Marion. The only similarity between the 43'Cards and the 13' Marlins might be their attendance. The actual in seat attendance for the 43 Cards at Sportsmans Park was 517,135 which will be closer to the actual turnstile attendance for the 13' Marlins. Other than that ,keep dreaming.

answer man

Trivia answer..3 players have hit HR's before they turned 20 and after they turned 40. Ty Cobb,Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield. As Casey use to say "You can look it up"

Mr. Unhappy

Hey Mr. loria-- Please sell the marlins so a new owner will at least get a # 1 starting pitcher and a proven hitter with power behind Stanton. Call Micky Arison and get er done!!
You dismantled the team at least add some quality starting pitching back, don't be stupidly stubborn. If you're not going to sell the team at least give em back some weapons, it's lunacy not to..

Sunny Dee

It's shocking that this powerhouse lineup came up empty in the first two games. I'm glad you pointed out the 1943 Cardinals, because otherwise I would have given up my hope that the Marlins will win the World Series this year.

ex Marlins fan

hoping that Loria sells or drops dead soon,whichever comes first.

Jeffrey "Madoff" Loria

Screw you Loria, you blood sucking scum bag. I never wish bad things upon anyone, but Loria sure does fit the bill for my first..

Clark Spencer

Thanks, Answer Man, for coming up with a third player. This is one of those questions I've been asking for a few years and needed updating to include Sheff. Notable close calls on the teenager/40s home run club: Al Kaline and Willie Mays. Mays hit his first big-league homer 22 days after turning 20. -- C.S.

deadfish.com

Marlins should have a contest on their web site to guess what inning of the 13' season they will score their 1st run. Winner would get tickets to the home opener. On second thought ,they might want to give away something of value,that people might want.

c u later , Loria

Hey deadfish...you're assuming they score before Opening Night at Marlins Park. With this bunch ya just cant assume anything.

Disgusted

Marlins are on track to have the lowest attendence in Major League Baseball. Worst record? Lowest attendence.

Seth

The Marlins, despite not having scored yet, are playing great baseball so far. I love what I am seeing from this team! Let's not forget they are playing the World Series favorites right now. Mike Redmond has the pitching and defense looking solid. Only allowing 5 runs in 2 games to that lineup is outstanding! The hitting will come around. Just some unlucky bounces so far. I still see a Wild Card berth and a possible World Series appearance for the Marlins this year!

bert

Loria please sell the team and move back to Canada and take that damn midget with you. This team is no better than a AA team. FU Loria.

The way of the Master

Who is dumb enough to pay to watch a 2A team being whipped by "Big Boyz" ?;)

Sunny Dee

Seth - Wait until LoMo gets back. This team will surge to the top of the standings.

Poz

Go FOR IT!

Glags

I assume Seth and Sunny Dee are being facetious. I can't tell anymore.

Does anyone else find it laughable that John Buck alone has 4 more RBI than this entire line up. Not mad that he's gone, I've gotten over that, or that its a sign of things to come for ol' JB. Just go to shows how bad this team can be offensively.

flagstafffishfan

And Kotchman is now on the DL. That was predictable. He looked like a softball player coming up lame after pulling his hammy running to 1b. Baseball purgatory is where we're at with the Miami Marlins.

Dr. Demento

Seth snuck into the computer room unsupervised again at the Rehab facility

laurelbowie

Flags,
Purgatory, hell!

Ugo Colombo CMC

It may not be the best season for the Marlins but who knows what will happen next. Thanks for posting.

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