Sometimes it helps to step back for a little perspective. It’s May 4th and the following list of facts bodes well for the 2009 Florida Marlins:
- The Marlins have been in 1st place all year.
- The Marlins, along with 4 other teams, have played the fewest number of home games going into tonight’s home game .
- The Marlins just completed their most difficult stretch of road games for the season.
- 25 year-old Josh Johnson is one of the best pitchers in MLB and has an ERA of 0.4 in 3 starts at home this year. Johnson is starting tonight.
- When 22 year-old Chris Volstad was pulled on April 19th after completing only 4.1 innings, it was the first time he was pulled before completing 5 innings [injury aside] in 20 major league starts. The most earned runs he has allowed in those 20 starts is 4. In 8 of those starts, he has given up 1 or no runs. Did I mention he’s 22? The Yankees would offer Volstad the Kingdom of Tonga if he were a free agent today.
- 25 year-old Anibal Sanchez had 3 good starts to begin the year, and has struggled in his last two. In one of his two bad outings, he gave up 6 runs to the Mets in the first inning and then pitched 5 scoreless innings.
- The Marlins fielding has not been the problem which was feared before the year began. The Marlins rank 8th in National League fielding statistics. Hanley Ramirez has yet to commit an error.
- The Marlins bullpen has not been the problem which was feared before the year began. They currently rank 10th out of 16 National League teams. However, Renyel Pinto, Kiko Calero, Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez all have ERA’s at or below 3.00, and Hayden Penn has been very effective with the exception of one outing against the Phillies.
- The Marlins rank 4th in runs scored in the National League despite Hanley Ramirez not having a home run since April 10th and Dan Uggla’s and Cameron Maybin’s batting averages hovering around the Mendoza line.
- Jorge Cantu, who has continued where he left off last year [the Marlins MVP], is 2nd in the NL in RBI’s and was just named the NL Player of the Week.
- The Florida Marlins currently rank 21st in MLB attendance [there is a 9 team buffer between us and the bottom], with an average of 23,663. This is not a typo or a lie.
So cheer up Marlins fans, with the talent on this team and the new Ballpark on the horizon, these are the best of times. Unless of course, Emilio Bonifacio doesn’t stop striking out, then all is truly lost.