Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marlins Not Hanging Around...?

No sooner did I claim the Marlins postseason hopes were on the rise did the Fish do what they do best; prove me wrong. On August 14th, I proclaimed hope for the home town boys. The Marlins went on to lose 3 of the next 4 games and fell from a game and a half out to where they currently sit 4 games back of the division leading Mets. An optimist might point out that if you were looking for a team to collapse late in the season, you'd simply have to look to last season's historic Mets' failure to garner hope.

Here's the problem. The Marlins bullpen has been awful, at best. In 3 of the last 4 losses, a reliever has been the losing pitcher of record. Included in those are a Kevin Gregg blown save and a complete collapse of Renyel Pinto, who gave up 5 earned runs in Sunday's loss to the Cubs. After Gregg's blown save Friday night, he did come back Saturday night against the same Cubbies to redeem himself and earn a save.

Now, the new outlook. Tonight, the Marlins start a 9 game road trip, starting tonight with 3 out west against the struggling San Francisco Giants. Ricky Nolasco returns to the mound looking for his 12th win of the year. The starting pitching matchups have to favor the Marlins, as the Giants starters combine for just a 10-16 record, and none of the 3 probable starters for San Fran has a .500 record. Scott Olsen and Josh Johnson are the listed pitchers for the final 2 games of the series. After San Francisco, the Marlins head to Arizona. The Diamondbacks are in a battle for the division with Man-Ram and the streaking Dodgers, so this should be a tough fight for the Fish. After a day off, the Marlins head back east for a 3 game set with the Braves. If the Marlins can handle this trip no worse then 6-3, then the weekend series with the Mets will be a season changer. Leaving August no further back then a couple games, and the dreamers can continue to dream.

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