Five Reasons Why The Mets Can Beat The Marlins
The Mets and the Marlins are similar in the fact that their two biggest concerns are their bullpen and their rotation health. Who finishes above who will largely depend on which team fares better in those two areas.
1) Health: The Marlins have Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett and Al Leiter who have each spent time on the DL over the past few seasons. In 2003, all of the Marlins current starters innings added up and averaged out come too 124.1 innings. In 2004 they averaged out to 163.2 innings. Not one of their current starters registered 200 innings as the D-Train came the closet with 197 innings. The next closest person was Al Leiter who did not even reach 181 innings in 2003. This will become a large problem for the Marlins at some point during the year. The durability is not there and there are three guys with Victor Zambrano size injury concerns. If Beckett or Burnett go down again it will be trouble. Big trouble (see #5).
2) Bullpen: Amazingly enough, I found a team that has a worse bullpen than the Mets on paper and on paper, the Mets bullpen looks very bad. I think the Mets bullpen will perform better than expected, but much to the chagrin of Marlin fans, their bullpen may be worse than expected and they are expected to be bad. Guillermo Mota could be dominating, but he's never been a full time closer before. He only has five career saves, but he's good so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. The rest will be put together by the following:
Tim Spooneybarger? Matt Perisho? Antonio Alfonseca? Todd Jones? Jim Crowell? Frank Castillo? Bryan Corey? Bart Miadich? Travis Smith? Nate Bump? John Riedling?
Don't wait for Enter Sandman or For Whom the Bell Tolls-type songs to come blaring over the PA system when any one of those guys run onto the field. Only three guys, including their Closer Mota who was not exactly solid after coming over from the Dodgers with his 4.81 ERA in 33.1 innings, had a sub 4.00 ERA. Jim Mecir, Guillermo Mota, and Antonia Alfonseca. So let's review. No starter has pitched over 200 innings and only two of the starters pitched over 180 innings in the last two years with a bullpen that only had three guys with a sub 4.00 ERA. I see big problems. Really big problems.
3) Pro Player Stadium: No doubt Carlos is a masher and will do some damage, but his homefield will be playing against him. The SkyDome could be deemed cozy in comparison. It's almost 20 feet longer right down the line, 10 feet deeper in the power alleys and the wall comes to 404 feet about 10 feet to the right of center before jetting out to 435 feet. Opposite field becomes tougher for the big guy too. Overall, he is coming from an AL East with three stadiums tailor made for lefties and another that he called home that was pretty fair to hitters and was domed to boot. In the SkyDome and Camden yards, he hit 22 of his 32 homers and average 1 every 12.4 at bats. Everywhere else he hit one once every 18.5 at bats. He'll hit some, but they will not be as easy playing in an NL East with two pitcher's parks, a presumable pitchers park in RFK as many football turned baseball fields are spacious, and Turner Field, which is a pitcher's park but very close to neutral. Carlos, you are not in the AL East anymore.
4) David Sloane: The man is sleazy and cursed. The Mets had enough bad karma lately and David Sloane and the way he does business with the pettiness he seems to exude can only mean bad karma for the Marlins. Not only that, he just helped fuel the Mets fire and desire to beat the Marlins every chance they can.
5) Lack of pitching depth: Right now, their fifth starter is Ismail Valdez. Yes, he of an ERA north of 5.00. If he is your fifth starter, then that tells me there is depth problem. Yes, it is ONLY their fifth starter and by far not a big point right now. He'll be skipped when he can, but what happens when (not if) someone goes down? If Ismail Valdez is your best choice at #5, the sixth option will be downright scary. What if two go down?
Yes, I know the Mets are in this boat too.
"You know, you get back from the park, you're go upstairs and you say, 'We'll meet in the lobby.' Now there's no one to do that for David. I remember reading that [former Dolphins coach] Don Shula used to go for a walk every night with his wife. Every night. Then she died, and he had to walk alone. It doesn't matter how old you are, it's hard."
Uh, yeah, it sucks. But fortunately the dude's not dead.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
Redding - No, is he really much better than Ginter? I think it is debatable whether he would even present an upgrade.
Munro - Good choice to stay away, but a minor league contract could not hurt.
Koch - Worth a shot. His fastball flies as straight as can be and not so fast, but you never know.
The article also mentions the Nationals as a potential trading partner but that is not happening anytime soon.