One of the main reasons for the Marlins success this April is that they are winning the close games.
A key difference between this April and last April is the Marlins' record in one-run games. They started the week 5-0 in those contests, whereas a year ago they opened 0-4 and closed out the month 2-5 on their way to a 22-24 mark.
"I think that means your bullpen is pretty good," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez's theory has some merit. Through the first 18 games last season, the bullpen was 0-5 with a 3.94 ERA, 79 hits, 42 walks and 60 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. This year the bullpen is 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA, 64 hits, 30 walks and 46 strikeouts in 70 innings.
Actually the bullpen was pretty good in 2007 with one glaring exception in the early part of the year, Jorge Julio. While I don't want to trigger anything that would bring up the nightmares of the past, Julio was one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, that the Marlins weren't good in one run games.
I could go into how he became the closer, even though he proved over and over again that he wasn't any good at it, but I did that last year. Let's suffice it to say he was the closer in the early part of the season and appeared in 10 games, saving none of them, while putting up an impressive 12.54 ERA.
It is true that Gregg is still searching for his form from last season, but even on his worst day -- he still anchors the bullpen a whole heckva lot better than Julio ever did on his best day as a Marlin.