Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Marlins Return to Winning Ways

The Marlins defeated their rival, Atlanta Braves, 4-0 today. When looking at the schedule, this would be a game you would think the Marlins should win, with their ace, Scott Olsen, facing off against the talented yet inexperienced, Jair Jurrjens of Atlanta.

Scott Olsen was phenomenal, finally performing at the level that all Marlins' fans were hoping him to be at this season. Olsen pitched 7 scoreless innings, allowing 5 hits and only throwing 83 pitches, 61 of which were strikes. Olsen could have pitched longer, as you can see from his low pitch total, but he was taken out for pinch-hitter, Robert Andino, in the bottom of the 7th with Amezaga on 1st base. The Braves only scoring opportunity came in the 6th inning with guys on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. But Olsen forced Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira to fly out and Jeff Francoeur to ground out, ending the inning. Olsen is now 2-0 on the year with an ERA of 3.05.

The Marlins offense was efficient, scoring 4 runs on 7 hits. Two of them came in the 8th inning as insurance on two walks to Wes Helms and Hanley Ramirez with the bases loaded.

It's games like these that make me optimistic about this year's Marlins season and the future of the franchise as a whole.

Pitching-wise, Olsen seems to be filling into the role as the ace in the rotation. Hendrickson (tomorrow's starter) is questionable but could be solid this season. Andrew Miller has great potential (although he has been terrible as of late) and Vanden Hurk, Badenhop, and Volstad are three guys who could be excellent in the majors as they develop.

More importantly, let's not forget about the guys on the DL: Sergio Mitre, Annibal Sanchez, and Josh Johnson. Mitre could be back by June, Sanchez by the All-star break, and Johnson at the end of the year. Yes, it is unlikely that all of these guys will come back and pitch successfully the way they did at their best in the past, but there is a great potential there. The point is that the Fish have excellent pitching in the farm system and on the DL.

Offensively, the team is and will be in good shape. With the stadium having been approved, Loria will be less reluctant to let the "fan favorites" go.

In response to the previous posts about the recovery of the South Florida professional franchises, I agree with ASponge and disagree with Imber and Stanley about the Marlins. This team has a knack for somehow surprising everyone and staying late in playoff races when no one gives them a chance.

1 comment:

Jay Warman said...

When/if everybody gets healthy we will have too many pitchers. A good problem to have though.