The Fish have got two series under their belts, and I must say the first six games of 2008 have been quite a ride. Walk-offs, grand slams, Web Gems… Not only are the Fish at .500 for the first time in what seems like forever, they are also tied for first place in the NL East (yes, I know we’ve only played six games. Please just let me enjoy writing this stuff while I can).
It has been very encouraging this first week to see the fruits of the Marlins’ off-season labors. You know, that “serious focus” on pitching and defense we heard so much about from October to March. I was especially impressed yesterday, as Vanden Hurk pitched a solid 2.1 innings, and our team committed a very respectable three errors.
A mere six games into the 2008 season, I can already see the worlds of progress that have been made. Our rotation has averaged 4.1 innings per start, and our defense has committed six errors. At this point last season, our starters had averaged 5.1 innings, and the team had committed two errors. Now, I’ve never claimed to be a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that’s one less inning pitched per start, and triple the errors. Sure, it’s early, but so far we’re on pace to once again have the most overworked bullpen in baseball, and to lead the majors with 300 or so errors. Swell.
There was also plenty of talk this off-season about the fact that the Fish were going to stop living and dying by the home run. That seems to be working out nicely thus far. Let’s see. We won two games this week via the walk-off home run, and one game courtesy of a Mike Jacobs grand slam. It’s nice to know Jim Presley’s pep-talks have been taken to heart.
In a nutshell, so far the Marlins have shown improvement in none* of the areas they set out to improve upon after their highly disappointing 2007 campaign. Yes, it is still just a tad early to judge, but so far the progress is extremely encouraging.
* In all fairness to the Fish, we’ve seen several outstanding defensive plays over the last week. Unfortunately, there are still a few guys who have yet to receive the “better defense” memo. Like our pitching staff.