After twenty or so games into the MLB season and a month in the books, there are a few observations that have taken effect during the early days of the new look Miami Marlins. Here are six randomized thoughts in regards to this enigmatic and colorful team.
VI: Pin the record on CP Heath Bell.
I hate scapegoating anyone. Never in any sort of professional, athletic, or academic pursuit have I been the “goat,” but I cannot think of a worse responsibility. The entire team has their crosses to bear. SS Jose Reyes has started slow, 3B Hanley Ramirez has not been on base, and RF Giancarlo Stanton just found his groove. However, the closing pitcher should bleed frost and have a heart of darkness. Nothing should be sweeter to Heath Bell than the whoosh of air coming from the fans as their rally caps are scorned and their sighs collected after a save. Bell has blown multiple saves, including P Carlos Zambrano’s first start as a Marlin. More on Zambrano later.
V: RF Giancarlo Stanton will have a huge May
I swear! I told my fiance on April 30th that RF Giancarlo Stanton will begin to find his stroke. The man is one of the few who can simply will a ball out of the park. To me, a “power surge” is hitting five or six home runs in a two week span. In a tough park against an even tougher pitching staff, Stanton hit some laser beams out to left. I could rave about this guy for ages! I always told my Grandparents as we watched Stanton come up that if anyone were to die from a baseball it would come off of Stanton’s bat. In an early ’90s game I attended, a foul ball flew over my then evasive mom and struck a lady square in the head. From that point on both the little leaguer and fan in me decided to never take my eyes off the diamond. Stanton’s laser beams are as stupefying as his moon shots. His extra bases are going to pile up in May.
IV: RHP Carlos Zambrano may be the best starter the Miami Marlins have right now.
The man reeks of intensity. While RHP Carlos Zambrano may be a man of a monstrous disposition, his commonplace with Coach Ozzie Guillen has garnered a collected state as Zambrano takes the mound. This acquisition offsets what seems like an at least sensationalist poor signing in Heath Bell. Zambrano cannot buy a win, but he has pitched marvelously. The ‘pen persists in their quest to deny Carlos Zambrano any sort of pleasure in pitching. His most recent crusade, blanking the San Francisco Giants through seven before yet another extra inning affair courtesy of Heath Bell.
III: The team is more clutch than they have been in years
The Marlins always (at least since 2005 or so) either tie the game late and lose or bow down in the 9th inning. This year, the big hits have come at the best times. LF Logan Morrison crushed a ball to tie the Washington Nationals during a Stephen Strasburg start, and most recently had a beam from Giancarlo Stanton save the day for Heath Bell.
II: Ozzie Guillen is finally using team speed!
The top three hitters on the Fish Reyes, Bonifacio, and Ramirez are likely the fastest players at their position. Having aggression on the bases is one of the easiest ways to give the big guys behind them a pitch to work with. Having relentless pace on the bags keeps pitchers and catchers on edge and presents many more RBI opportunities.
I: It will take time, but RHP Josh Johnson will find his groove.
Right now staff ace Josh Johnson is languishing in a shroud of rust. He shows no signs of residual injury concerns, but is clearly giving up too much. His fastball is still down in velocity, but his slider is of the most worry. Josh Johnson will figure things out, but he will need time to shake off the rust. If the drop in speed is permanent, then Johnson will need to work to compensate with deception, as every great pitcher does in their career turning points.