A few Marlins related things and then a few general baseball items.
- Dontrelle Willis will do something tonight that no other Marlin has ever done: take the hill with the chance to win his 20th game. Willis already holds the franchise record with 19 wins (notched in his last start). Including tonight, the A-Train will likely take the hill six more times this year, so his chances are good. In addition to potentially becoming the first Marlin to ever win 20-games, Dontrelle would also become (with his next win) the 13th "Black Ace".
- The Herald had some nice prospect tidbits in Barry Jackson's story today (you'll have to read through some nonsense from UM o-line coach Art Kehoe to get to them). Since so many of the players mentioned have seen major league time this year, hardly any of the names are "new". What I found to be the most interesting is the shortstop situation. Robert Andino (just up from AA) and Josh Wilson (AAA) are now both with the big club. With Alex Gonzalez's impending free agency, one of those two players is likely to assume the starting role next season. But with Gonzalez hurt (and likely out for the week - at least), one or both of those guys could see some signficant playing time now. It's one thing to give those guys some playing time - it's another to throw them into the playoff race. I suspect we'll see Easley - especially because if the Fish make it to the post-season, we may be seeing Easley at short out of necessity.
- Todd Jones is having a second half that makes his All-Star worthy performance in the first half pale in comparison. For example, in the first half Jones had a 1.42 ERA and 13 saves. So far in the second half, Jones has a 0.73 ERA and 21 saves. Jones has simply been lights-out for the Fish; his dominance has inspired some talk of MVP consideration - and from sources outside of Florida.
- Going into last night's game, Julio Franco had faced 1,050 different major league pitchers. That's simply more amazing. Possibly even more amazing is that Pedro Martinez was not one of the pitchers he had faced. That changed last night.
- It seems like Barry Bonds could be back any day now. I'd link to that "news", but I'm sure you've seen it everywhere. Some of the other SB Nation blogs have had interesting takes on it: over at McCovey Chronicles they had this to say. The Gaslamp Ballers said this.
- I've almost finished Scouts Honor, which is almost the scouting community's response to Moneyball. Scouts Honor is a good read, but parts of it read like a transaction log ("the Braves won this trade and they are so smart" would summarize many of the chapters). But there are also definitely many highlights: stories are told throughout the book about players we normally take for granted (like Charles Thomas). It's tough to read many of them without becoming a fan of the specific player being discussed. There are also some interesting observations where the author seems to try to polarize the stats vs. scouts debate, but I really think the stat-heads and the scout-people are saying the same thing (go after the resources that you identify which are under-valued) but in very different ways.