Are The Florida Marlins For Real ?
Welcome to Florida’s new roller coaster. Florida Marlins baseball.
The Marlins started the season with an impressive 11-1 record. When all the national media took attention of their streak they suddenly lose their touch and they have forgotten about the winning column.
It’s true it is only April. A very long way to October. However questions are starting to arise whom are the true Marlins for this 2009 season.
Every major national media outlet mostly agreed in the pre-season that the Marlins could be great or not so good depending how it starting pitching rotation was going to be. Most of the so-called experts coincide that the combo of Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad and Andrew Miller is the best rotation in the National League. Possibly, in the whole Major Leagues.
They are young. Really young. Nolasco, 26, is the elder of manager Fredi Gonzalez squad.
The problem is that not much if known if they can keep healthy and go long distances in innings pitched on a full season. Also they are realizing they are getting extra pressure as often they are compare with the Marlins troupe from the 2003 World Champions of such names as Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett and Brad Penny. They won the October Classic that year but in 2002 it is forgotten that with the high expectations that same trio and their team faltered and finished with a record of 79-83, fourth in their East Division.
This year Marlins improved in the middle with such names as Kiko Calero and Leo Nuñez. However there are many questions about young Matt Lindstrom if he’s ready for primetime as a closer.
A lot of questions there are also about the lineup. When they are red-hot they are but when they go cold their bats get frozen. The only way they can beat inconsistency is that such names as Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu and Jeremy Hermida finally demonstrate they can be productive over the course of a whole year. Also, they need rookies Emilio Bonifacio and Cameron Maybin to improve their batting right now faster than you can say the month of May.
So far the battles against the World Champions Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets have not been won. Again, it is only April but sometimes the beginning of a season can be a glimpse of things to happen.
The Marlins if they want to win the National League East pennant they need to win the battles and the whole war. It is true that their 84 wins last season were good. That was the same total of wins the Los Angeles Dodgers needed to win the National League West. However, the East it is a lot better and they have pretty stiff competition from the Phillies, Mets and the Atlanta Braves.
Right now their division’ first place it’s looking like a miracle. Such as many still do not believe good present streaks such as the ones of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres or the ones of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners in the American League.
If the Marlins want to be in the race they have to answer their own questions really fast right now if they want to be a real contender.
This column was also published as a special by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary