Sunday, May 11, 2008

Marlins Are Doing It Without Key Starters

The Fish have now won 7 games in a row, along the way sweeping the Brewers and the Nats. They now find themselves at 23-14, and, as ASponge stated in the controversial previous post, they have the best record in the entire league, having passed the D-Backs today.

But they're doing it with a lineup that is missing Josh Willingham (sore back) at LF and Mike Jacobs (quad) at 1B. Willingham has been an absolutely essential contributor to the Marlins offense for the last two seasons. This season, Willingham was .341, .406, .637 with 6 HRs in just 25 games. Jacobs was batting .271 with 9 HRs, including a walk-off against the Pirates in the first week of the season.

Filling this gap in the lineup have been two veterans: Luis Gonzalez and Wes Helms. Gonzalez has been phenomenal in replacing Willingham, having come through in many crucial situations over the last week. In addition, Wes Helms has managed to cover the 1B role, providing excellent defensive play. He also hit a walk-off HR against the Brewers last week.

So if the Marlins are winning with these guys, just imagine how much offensive production there will be with the return of Willingham and Jacobs. Think about this lineup:

1. Alfredo Amezaga (quick with a solid OBP)
2. Jeremy Hermida (good average, consistent production)
3. Hanley Ramirez (Hanley is Hanley)
4. Mike Jacobs (Power will always be there)
5. Josh Willingham (great all-around player, clutch hitter)
6. Jorge Cantu (a pleasant surprise)
7. Dan Uggla (starting to really heat up, 11 HRs)
8. Matt Treanor (well..he's on a 5 game hitting streak)

If I were another team, I sure as hell wouldn't look forward to facing this killer squad.

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