Miami manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected from Tuesday night's game against the St.Louis Cardinals for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Dan Bellino. Fresh off of a loss that saw the Marlins give up a five run lead, Guillen knew that the 3-2 pitch was indeed strike three. Why did he continue to argue? Simply because he has witnessed his team drop from first to last place in a span of about two and a half weeks.
"After I saw the replay, I think I was wrong. At least I'm honest," Guillen said after being ejected for the 28th time in his career, but for the first time with the Marlins. "I don't think he understood what I said. He looked at me like I was an alien or something."
Prior to the start of the season, most agreed that the National League East was going to be a tough division to win. Three months into the season, it appears that way. The Washington Nationals, who few picked to lead the East, currently sit in first place, with a three and a half game lead over the Atlanta Braves and the surprising New York Mets. Miami and Philadelphia find themselves eight and a half and nine games back, respectively.
With a 35-40 record, the Marlins are still not out of contention (5 GB in the Wild Card). However, a poor June has shown that they cannot play well consistently. Emilio Bonifacio is still noticeably absent from the starting lineup, which is having a hard time putting together one big inning. The team batting average is .240, with an on base percentage that is slightly over .300. Before he was put on the disabled list, Bonifacio was batting .268 with an on base percentage around .350. Lack of production from the bottom of the order continues to be an issue, as John Buck is not having the year at the plate he thought he might have.
Pitching wise, a healthy Josh Johnson has done his job, and the rest of the rotation has been decent. When a team is not scoring runs, though, three runs might be too many. Through 85 games, Miami's rotation has a 4.21 ERA. 50 of the 85 starts have been quality starts (6+ innings pitched, three or fewer earned runs).
Ozzie Guillen said in the spring, "Only bad teams have meetings." Hanley Ramirez was the most recent Marlin to call a meeting.
-As the trade deadline gets closer, the common question of "Should the Miami Marlins trade Hanley Ramirez?" has appeared once again. Ramirez has not been a favorite of Dan Uggla, Fredi Gonzalez, or even of Jeff Conine or Andre Dawson. Ramirez has played a solid third base, though.-Prospect Jose Fernandez made his Florida State League debut on Thursday night. Pitching for the Jupiter Hammerheads, Fernandez gave up four runs on five hits, and struck out four while only walking one. He also touched 98 mph with his fastball.
-Logan Morrison and John Buck both homered on Wednesday night at Marlins Park to give the Marlins just their sixth victory in the month of June. With the win, the Marlins improved to 6-17 in June and snapped an eight game losing streak to the Cardinals.
-Giancarlo Stanton was selected by Matt Kemp to participate in the Home Run Derby. Third base coach Joe Espada thinks the young power hitter has a good chance. "This guy has got the best chance to win this Home Run Derby. He could miss-hit a ball and go over the fence. In my opinion, he's the strongest in raw power," Espada said.
-Second baseman Omar Infante is not satisfied with the number of errors he has committed in 2012. Infante committed his eighth error in 336 chances on Monday, as many as he totaled in 734 chances last year. "The errors I've made have been stupid, errors I need to try to avoid," Infante said.
-Christian Yelich had one of the best nights of his young professional career on Thursday, as he went 4 for 5, with one of those hits being a grand slam. The Marlins' front office now has something to cheer about, as Yelich and Fernandez both had big nights.
-Heath Bell is just the latest Marlins closer to give fans a reason to "boo." Kevin Gregg and Juan Carlos Oviedo are only two of several closers in franchise history that haven't had an easy time recording three outs in the ninth inning.
-The Phillies and Marlins will begin a three game series on Friday night, with Josh Johnson pitching against Cliff Lee. Miami and Philadelphia have the two highest payrolls in baseball, and both sit at the bottom of the National League East.
-Miami will look to bounce back in July, after yet another disappointing month of June. The month started and will end with the Phillies in the opposing dugout. Owner Jeffery Loria still has expressed confidence in the team he has put together though, saying, "I love our chances."
-Several Marlins' executives recently returned to Miami to discuss the state of the team after a disappointing June that has seen the Marlins come out on top only six times with two more June games to play. The major points of discussion are unknown, but could be related to possible trades or roster moves.
-Sports Illustrated has featured Giancarlo Stanton in a four page spread after he was named the NL Player Of The Month in May and will be participating in the Home Run Derby.
Around The League
-The San Francisco Giants have thrown four consecutive shutouts, a franchise record. Madison Bumgarner most recently threw one on Thursday night.
-Although All-Star voting has ended, things are just beginning to get exciting. The selection show will be held this Sunday, which is followed by the Home Run Derby and the All-Star game days later.
-Mike Trout of the Angels continues to impress. Earlier in the week, Trout made a catch that could be considered the best defensive play of the year.
At Fish Stripes
-Jose Reyes is the lone bright spot for the Marlins in a month that, for the second consecutive year, has not treated them well.
-Momentum, something the Marlins haven't had a lot of in June, hasn't lead to success in June for the Marlins.
-Carlos Zambrano was pitching well in a Marlins uniform in April and May, but June has not treated him well.