Errors plague Miami Marlins in early losses

Greg Fiume

If one overarching pattern can be gleaned from the Miami Marlins first nine games of 2014, it would be that defensive boofs typically lead to Marlin losses as the Fish have committed two or more errors in three of their four losses.

Amazingly, the 2014 Miami Marlins have plated 49 runs in their first 9 games. To say that the Marlins offense has improved since 2013 would be a massive understatement. The 2013 Marlins scored their 49th run in game 22, which coincidentally happened to be the infamous game where Ricky Nolasco was allegedly "asked" at the 11th hour to pitch the second game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins rather than the first.

"So with all of these runs, why have the Marlins dropped 4 of their last 5 games?" you ask? The answer is that the Marlins lead the National League in errors/game and it's not even close.

These errors also seem to rear their ugly heads most often in Marlin losses. In fact, the Marlins have committed at least 2 errors in three of their four losses. Perhaps my memory is colored by my blatant homerism, but it seems like every one of these errors led directly to at least one run.

For example, while the lone Marlin loss which featured only one error was the 5-0 shellacking from the Washington Nationals and Gio Gonzalez on Tuesday, that error occurred on a play where Marlin catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia rifled a ball to second baseman Jeff Baker after Salty corralled an errant pitch by Henderson Alvarez. Baker never had control of the ball as he tried to tag a sliding Adam Laroche for what should have been the third out of the inning, which would have left the Marlins trailing a manageable 1-0 after six innings. Instead, not only did Bryce Harper score from third base on that very play, but the Nationals would also use their reprieve to tack on another run in that inning, staking Gio Gonzalez a three run lead.

Wednesday night's wild back-and-forth 10-7 loss to the Nationals featured the Nationals once again taking advantage of extra baserunners and extra outs, as they took a 10-7 lead on a Jayson Werth grand slam in the 8th inning that followed an intentional walk to the red hot Anthony Rendon which was necessitated by the fact that third base was open after Derek Dietrich flubbed a throw to first base on a Denard Span bunt, which advanced the baserunners. Dietrich, who had moved to third base following a double switch that brought Donovan Solano in to play second base, has been bitten particularly hard by the error bug, even after having one of his earlier errors expunged and assigned to teammate Garrett Jones.

The 162-game season is a marathon and we're still in mile 1, so there is still plenty of baseball left to play and plenty of time for Mike Redmond and his coaching staff to work on these miscues. It would be a shame to waste the Marlins shocking run scoring surge with poor defense. Hopefully the right adjustments will be made and we can look forward to at least being within shouting distance of the Wild Card late into the summer.

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