It's always nice to beat a division rival on the road - especially to open up a series - but what was involved in last night's win might cause Jack McKeon to compare the game to one of his Phyrric victories as a soldier in ancient Greece.
I say this because we learned (as mentioned in the comments in last night's open thread) that Guillermo Mota is back in Miami (by now) to have tests done on his ailing arm and that Luis Castillo might not have just gotten the night off. Normally this wouldn't be such big news, but the Fish aren't due back in Miami until Friday. If Mota's on the shelf for any significant amount of time, it could put some serious pressure on the bullpen, where roles have already been juggled.
Brian Moehler was supposed to be a long reliever, but with Ismael Valdez's leg injury, Moehler has moved into the starting rotation, where he has excelled. This also caused Nate Bump to move from being a setup guy to being a long relief guy.
It goes on from there. The point is that guys are pitching in roles they weren't originally slated to be in. That affects the depth, and likely the effectiveness of the Marlins bullpen. While the minors are stocked with talented young arms, they aren't ready to come up now - particularly not for a team with pennant hopes.
So for the time being, Todd Jones is the closer... In an effort to find some silver lining in that chilling statement, here's what I was able to come up with: a) at least the Marlins have fabulous starting pitching, so maybe we won't have to count on the pen too much; b) all of this shuffling will give guys who otherwise might have been buried in the pen an opportunity to prove themselves.
Since Jack wasn't going to find out on his own, the current state of the pitching staff will force Jack to use most/all of the arms at his disposal. This should help GM Larry Beinfest determine well in advance of the trade deadline what type of arm he needs to add.
I'm starting to keep an eye on the Tigers. With Troy Percival (who's struggled some) and Ugueth Urbina at the back of the bulpen, the Tigers may be willing to deal one or both for some talented prospects if they're not in the race near the deadline. That sounds like a match for the Marlins - as they could offer some prospects that are near ready for the majors and/or highly regarded at lower levels in exchange for someone(s) to put them over the top.
The most concerning injury though could be Luis Castillo's hip. He's had hip issues in the past and some have even described the problem as chronic. Here's a story with more details. Again, the Marlins have been fortunate so far in that the replacement - in this case Damion Easley - has filled in admirably.
- ESPN has a cool Cy Young Award winner predictor (based on analysis by Rob Neyer and Bill James). Of course the standard "it's still too early in the season" disclaimer applies here, but it's nice to see Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett in the top two spots, and last night's starter, A.J. Burnett, not far behind at number 5.
- There are many advanced measures for what the standings "should" look like. Essentially, these boil down to looking at the number of runs a team has scored and allowed in aggregate. Conventional wisdom also says that good teams win in blowouts and that it's more luck than anything as to who wins the close games. When looking at a small sample size - like the first 20 some games of the season - it's tough to draw conclusions, but the previous two thoughts should give Marlins fans cause for optimism. The Marlins have won a lot of blowouts - which has been both a factor of scoring runs in bunches and strong pitching performances. All that said, ESPN's expected standings say the Marlins should be 16 - 5 instead of 13 - 8. Hopefully they'll catch up with those three extra wins sooner rather than later.
- Our friends over at Gaslamp Ball have a special feature (which even gets its own blog) about what Jerry Coleman does each day. It's laugh out loud funny. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Padres announcer, he's a quote machine. Here's one of my favorites:
"(Dave) Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to second base. This is a terrible thing for the Padres."
In case you're wondering, Winfield was fine. It was the ball rolling back to the infield, not Winfield's head. The rules of grammar are such a beautiful thing sometimes.
- Someone wtih an opinion on the new stadium.