I'll probably come up with something a little more thorough before the All-Star break is over, but here's a start for the first day of the break. Feel free to add your own thoughts.
- I still can't believe what an odd half this was for the Marlins. After 86 games (a little more than half), the Marlins are two games above .500. They've scored 15 more runs than they've allowed, but that hides the reality of the situation. The Marlins have lost a number of blowouts and they have won a number of blowouts. They have also lost far "too many" close games - mainly courtesy of the bullpen and a spectacular offensive ability to leave runners on the base paths.
- Mike Lowell has been horrific. I really hope the rumors about steroid use in prior years are false. I still think it's his swing. He's either off balance or swinging too hard. It also seems that Carlos Delgado has caught this fault in recent weeks.
- Juan Pierre has also been horrific. I wonder if JP was really more injured at the start of the season than anyone let on - and if that's what's affecting his numbers. I suppose we'll never really know.
- As I've started to mention everywhere, I'm tired of seeing Marlins loaf around the field. This is particularly evident with the outfielders, who jog after everything. Seeing Luis Castillo field pop up after pop up in short right and center field makes me feel ill. Luis is battling through enough and doesn't need to play center and right for guys who can come in on balls much more easily than he can go back.
Miguel Cabrera (link goes to an interview from Sunday's Herald, has been spectacular. In New York they rave and rave about David Wright. If Miguel played in the Big Apple, they'd probably be preparing his plaque in Cooperstown by now. Well as long as defensive effort doesn't become too important.
- I don't know how Paul LoDuca does it. He seems to take a foul ball or a bat off an exposed part of his body in each game. Yes, this happens to nearly every catcher, but it still impresses me. These guys are tough.
- Where did Brian Moehler come from? Can we keep him?
- Where did Alois Leiter come from? Can we send him away? If this was survivor he would have been voted off the island during the season opener.
- The Marlins are 4.5 games back of the Braves for the NL Wild Card. While I expect the Nationals to come back to Earth during the second half (they can't continue to win when they're regularly outscored), the Braves are due for a run. They're winning now while essentially fielding the Richmond Braves at the Major League level. Once Chipper Jones and the pitching staff comes off the DL, this team is going to be tough to beat. In other words, I'm not sure the Marlins can catch the Braves, but they may be able to catch the Nationals. The Marlins may also be caught up in the same dilemma that much of the rest of the NL is - that they're good enough and close enough to make a playoff push. The question is whether or not they should. The Marlins are essentially on the road for the rest of the month. By then they'll have to decide whether to buy, sell, or go with what they've got. Unfortunately, by the time the non-waiver trade deadline rolls around on July 31st, the Marlins may not know much more about their playoff hopes than they do today.