BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
During hockey season, the Florida Panthers were referred to as the Cardiac Cats because they were in a lot of close games and won many of them en route to a Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance.
Going into the season, it’s no secret that the strength of the Miami Marlins has been the pitching staff. When you have hurlers such as Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers, Sandy Alcantara anchoring your staff, this tends to keep you in ballgames.
Entering their game on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Miami was sixth in MLB with a 3.38 ERA.
The Marlins record was 31-41 but here are the statistics worth noting.
Of their 41 losses, 16 have been decided by one run and 27 have been decided by two or less.
The last place Marlins are eight games behind the NL East leading New York Mets. Therefore, there is plenty of time to right the ship to make a return visit to the playoffs. The task to get in as a Wild Card is considerably tougher as the Fish are 11 games back of the San Diego Padres (44-32).
Why are the Marlins struggling with close games?
The offense has been very anemic.
The team is averaging 3.9 runs per-game which is tied for 26th in MLB.
They average 7.7 hits per-game which ranks 17th.
Miami’s batting average stands at .232 which ranks 19th.
Miami’s On base percentage is .301 and ranks 22nd.
Miami’s slugging percentage is .369 and ranks 27th.
The team has 68 homer runs which is 26th. The bulk of these home runs have come from Adam Duvall (16), Jesus Aguilar (12) and Jazz Chisholm (8).
Duvall leads the team with 52 RBI while Aguilar has 50. Chisholm his third on the team with 27 RBI and he’s played in 51 contests.
Aguilar leads the team with a .264 batting average.
You’re not going to win games with these numbers especially with the pitching numbers we’ll mention.
The team has allowed 3.7 runs which is tied for 3rd.
Miami 7.4 hits allowed is tied for 9th.
The opponents batting average is .227 which is 11th.
The team ERA is 6th in MLB at 3.38.
They are 1st in home runs with 55.
Let’s examine Lopez, Rogers and Alcantara.
Lopez is 3-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 85 innings and 85 strikeouts.
Rogers is 7-4 with a 2.08 ERA in 86.2 innings and 101 strikeouts.
In the top of the fifth inning of the Marlins 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, June 23, he strike out Teoscar Hernandez for his 100th strikeout of the season.
He became the fifth Marlins pitcher to strikeout 100 batters in his first 15 games of the season and the first rookie to do so.
Alcantara is 4-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 101.1 innings and has the teams lone complete game with 90 strikeouts.
If you dig deeper into the numbers of Alcantara, Lopez and Rogers, they have a combined 2.64 ERA, 273 Innings Pitched, with 273 strikeouts. Only six times this season have those three allowed more than three earned runs in a start in 46 combined starts.
After the Marlins scored 10+ runs in back to back games in Chicago over the weekend, Miami has now scored just two runs in its last three games going into the opener vs the Washington Nationals on Thursday Night.
There is definitely a lot to digest and we’re only 74 games into the season.
If these numbers continue to spiral in the wrong direction, leave little doubt that the Marlins could be sellers at the July 30, 2021 trade deadline.
That’s the last thing that Marlins fans want to hear especially when you consider that names such as Starting Marte, Adam Duvall, and Corey Dickerson could be talked about plenty during the next month.
I can’t imagine Manager Don Mattingly and his career average of .307 coming out of retirement rescuing this offense.
To date, after the Marlins 7-3 loss to the Washington Nationals, Miami is now 31-43.
Chisholm did hit his ninth homer of the season in the loss and increased his RBI total to 27 with his three-run blast.
Sixteen of those losses have been decided by one run and 29 by two runs or less.
The Marlins have scored five runs in their last four games.
There is no way that I would blame Mattingly for the team’s won, loss record especially since he’s had to deal with injury issues all-season long.
But, The Numbers Don’t Lie and that’s why the Marlins are in their current predicament.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
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