Normally on Monday Mike would be regaling you with stories or possibly intriguing polls but he is winding down his weekend trip, so I am left to fill in.
It was a bad weekend for the Marlins. Forget Saturday, I've watched the ninth inning three times and with all due respect, the pitchers didn't get lit up nor did the Phillies do anything spectacular, the normally reliable Marlins' defense collapsed, plain and simple. That happens, it picked a really bad time in the season to happen but it happens. It's an anomaly.
What is really troubling about the weekend series is the Marlins middle infielders suffered injuries. Easley is out for the season with a severe ankle sprain and Castillo is day to day with an injured hamstring with Gonzalez's return nowhere on the horizon.
The Marlins have 12 games remaining and they are 2.5 back in the Wild Card which normally wouldn't be a big problem with a healthy club but unfortunately the Marlins don't have that. So where do we go from here?
Here is what the club plans to do.
If Castillo can't go the team is planning to use Mike Mordecai at second base. Mordecai hasn't played all year though I am sure he has thrown a lot of batting practice in the minor leagues.
At shortstop the club will go with Andino and back him up with Wilson. both of whom are September call-ups from the farm. Should late inning moves dictate then Cabrera could be used at shortstop.
If the Marlins are still in the hunt come the last week of the season Willis and Beckett will start on three days rest.
If I may, I have a few suggestions.
The first being, forget about complete games. It's late in the season and there is no reason to extend the pitchers in order to log a stat, especially if they are about to go on three days rest.
The second, quit bringing in Todd Jones with the tying run on third with no outs. If the starting pitcher can go eight, fantastic, bring Jones in at the start of the ninth. Stop putting him in impossible situations. Stop expecting him to clean up everyone else's mess. The exception, of course, is if he has to come in the eighth to save the game.
Third, if the club has to go with someone at second who hasn't played it all year, which apparently it may have to do, why not load for offense and playoff experience. Put Cabrera on second and Lowell on third. It improves the defense at third and it doesn't make the defense at second any worse than it is going to be. Alternatively Cabrera could be moved to shortstop and Andino to second if Louie can't go. This may require flying Cabrera's mother, a legendary shortstop, in from Venezuela for personal coaching which shouldn't be much of a problem since I'm sure Miguel has a spare room to house his mom.
Those are my suggestions, you may have better ones.
Given the injuries, assuming Castillo is out for awhile, I have no idea how the Marlins are going to get to playoffs much less have any success in them. The situation appears to be somewhat dire but not without hope.
There are poems, songs, books and movies which were inspired by the over coming of adversities such as these. I can only hope that the Marlins will be the muse to such a verse.