Saturday, April 20, 2013


She can't bear to look...but she
can't turn away, either.
We alluded to the situation in Miami a little while back...something about owner/sadist Jeffrey Loria possibly needing to stay hidden from view during the course of the 2013 season. We've now got a ninth of the season in the books (can you imagine?), and while that's still too early to call, we must dutifully report that we may well be in for a world-historical level of dreckitude.

It might be best to avert your eyes from both the field and the fish tank at ever-controversial Marlin Park, where all relevant life forms are facing holocaust-like conditions.

Tell the truth and get "asked to leave": this
fan did not get to stay and see the Fish
flop in their 2013 home opener...
Tonight at Marlins Park, the troublingly toothsome televangelist Joel Osteen (no relation to our old friend Claude) will bring his "Ministry of Hope" to what will without doubt be the only sellout crowd at the stadium in 2013. Osteen, who dipped his toe onto the pitching rubber in DC last year before cozying up to another baffling pseudo-religious figure (Mitt Romney), will be hard-pressed to bring a credible message of "hope and encouragement" to any Marlins fans who may be in attendance.

For the Fish, as we've always liked to call them, just lost a hard-fought 3-2 game to the Cincinnati Reds. They are now 4-14 on the season. Teams have had worse starts, to be sure. But what makes this situation so ominous is that the Fishies have lost thirteen of these games while scoring two runs or less.

Here's a stat that might give you pause. When teams allow three or fewer runs in a game, they tend to win a sizable number of those contents. In MLB so far in 2013, for example, teams that allow three runs or less in a game have a .763 winning percentage (167-52).

The Fish are now 2-7 in those games.

Bogie and Liz in the appropriately entitled
"Dead Reckoning"...location shooting,
alas, was in Tampa, not Miami.
Over the first ninth of the season, they've averaged 2.05 runs per game. The record low for runs scored/game in baseball history is 2.42, which was set by the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals.

Last year's fire sale looks as though it has set up a long season of death by drowning.

Why is this man smiling?? $2.75m for
playing on what might be the worst team
since the '03 Tigers: hey, life's a beach!
Now, to be fair, Miami has been playing without its best hitter (Giancarlo Stanton) for about half of the season. But even "Mike" (his former name, and with this team he might want to take on yet another new identity--we'll stick to our dark film noir roots and suggest that he go for a good ol' classic like "Dusty," which just happens to be the one Bogie pinned on Lizabeth Scott when he thought she was a conniving vixen) can only do so much when he has Placido Polanco, a 37-year old banjo-hitting third baseman, hitting behind him.

Sticking with the Lichtenstein theme--
manager Mike Redmond, alum of the
'03 WS champs, will ask to trade places
with N'awlins manager Ron Hassey...
The frightening part is that the Fish just don't have anything resembling offensive help in their farm system. Wisecracking veteran Nick Green, profiled in these pages awhile back, has escaped from New Orleans again and is now starting at SS while the kid with the ungainly name--Adeiny Hecheverria--recovers from a fractured fetlock or something (OK, OK, he's got a bruised arm...24 years young and he goes on the DL for a bruised arm??). We love Nick, but he's not going to turn around a jalopy of a franchise that's had its brakes cut. The guys they have on the DL--Logan Morrison and (Mighty) Casey Kotchman--aren't going to make much difference in the scheme of things when they come back (if there's anything to come back to, that is).

The Fish have hit just five homers thus far. They've not gotten many men on base (.266 OBP), and when they do, they manage to hit into DPs (second highest in the NL, behind the Giants).

We call this one the "Race to Retchedness"...
The possibilities for world-historical badness are right here, right now. The Fish have a little bit of pitching, enough to keep them in games against some teams, but it's hard to see how they will get to three runs a game, even with a healthy, homer-hitting Stanton.

As always, we provide a little historical (or is that hysterical?) context in the chart at right.

Stay tuned (where have you heard that before??) for more adventures below the replacement level...this could be fun, in a supremely morbid kind of way.

[UPDATE: Fish hit a home run! Fish score six runs! Fish...lose anyway. Something about an eight-run seventh for the Reds. The other 26 teams that have started the year 4-15 have combined for a year-end WPCT of .380...only three of these teams have finished the season at .500 or better.]