The Miami Marlins may have won on an offensive explosion of nine runs in yesterday's 9-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, but the Fish also set a record in offensive futility by breaking the team's scoreless innings streak that was previously set in the inaugural season of the Marlins in 1993. The Fish had been shut out for three consecutive games for the first time in team history and had gone scoreless for the first three innings of yesterday's game against Roy Halladay, thus extending the team record streak to 30 innings.
We all know that the Miami Marlins of 2012 never got a chance to complete the season together before the offense was dealt two major blows in trades of Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez. Add onto that injuries to Emilio Bonifacio and Logan Morrison and the current iteration of the Miami Marlins was a far cry from the team they fielded on Opening Day. Still, the Marlins were bad offensively before all those moves, having performed below expectations all year long. So it should be no surprise that an undermanned Marlins lineup would be bad enough to score no runs in 30 innings straight.
But how this does bad compare to the Marlins of 1993, who failed to score a run 27 consecutive innings spread over four games between September 11 through 15. Let's take a look at the lineups both teams boasted at the time.Past Futility
Here are the players that saw time at the plate for the Marlins during that set of games in 1993. What is listed is the number of PA they had during that stretch and their 1993 season totals.
Yikes. That team was so bad on offense, it was not even funny. If you thought watching the Marlins of today was bad, imagine being a 1993 inaugural season fan and watching Bret Barberie bat cleanup for your team (actually, not that much different that watching Dobbs, isn't it?). The 1993 Marlins, during that scoreless streak, only had two position players with more than one PA end the season with a batting line better than league average, and one of them (Gary Sheffield) was on the bench for all four games! Sheffield was presumably benched for something related to an injury or his legendary big mouth, though we cannot rule out both. The only other above average performer who got a chance to hit in that streak was Jeff Conine, who was in his first full season in the majors after being taken in the expansion draft.
Bret Barberie and Orestes Destrada were at least close to league average, although "close" here is defined as seven percent worse in 1993. The Marlins' leadoff hitter in all four games, Chuck Carr, had a .327 OBP that season and boasted a career OBP of .316. Conine and Destrada both broke a .400 slugging percentage, but no other player with more than 10 PA in that stretch had more than a .371 slugging percentage or hit more than five (!) home runs that season. Benito Santiago, Conine, and Destrada were the only Marlins that made it past 10 homers in that list.
Of the players listed above, only Alex Arias, Conine, Santiago, Sheffield, and Walt Weiss ended up getting more than 200 PA past 1996. This team was terrible. But it was our inaugural year, so you will still hear folks waxing poetic about Orestes Destrade. No? You're right, no one does that.
Here is that same list, except in 2012 form. Which Marlins saw playing time during the scoreless streak and what are their batting lines as of now in 2012?
This Marlins team was more on the extremes to either side than the old 1993 squad. Four of the team's six players with more than 10 PA during the streak's games were having better than average seasons at the plate. Better than average! Yes, they were Marlins hitters! Of course, we knew Carlos Lee, Jose Reyes, and Giancarlo Stanton would be better than average, but Justin Ruggiano being crazy good was a shocker. Dobbs and Solano were starters out of necessity, as the Marlins have been crippled by injuries to many of their usual starting players.
Of course, the problem is that those injuries have really wreaked havoc with the Marlins' bench, leaving the remaining players at extremely low quality. Guys like Gorkys Hernandez and Nick Green are clearly nothing more than minor league filler, and Brett Hayes, Scott Cousins, and Bryan Petersen are heading in that direction with their awful 2012 seasons. It does not help that John Buck has also been terrible all season; among the regular starters on either the 2012 and 1993 seasons, Buck actually has the worst batting line.
We know the Marlins were not supposed to be this bad, and the fact that they still have three or four better than average regulars (they all project around league average or better going forward) shows that the team is capable of scoring more runs. But with the rut that the bench players have had, combined with the fact that they have been pressed into duty due to injury, has made the whole team look awful, at least for the last three-plus games. The 2012 Miami Marlins are not as bad as the 1993 Fish offensively, but the fact that they set the record for consecutive games of offensive futility just adds pathos to the team's struggles. They were not like the scrubs and leftovers of 1993, but for a little more than three games, they played like they were.