Will the Real Marlins Please Stand Up?

April 28, 2009

If the Florida Marlins weren’t still sitting atop the NL East division by the slimmest of margins, last night’s 7-1 victory would most likely be nothing more than a tune-up for the Mets as they prepare for their three-game series this weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Since starting the season with an 11-1 record, the Marlins have found themselves losers of seven straight. After being touted as this year’s Tampa Bay Rays, the only truth be told for the Marlins, who are fading fast, is that their payroll hovers near or below Alex Rodriguez’ single-season salary. Not only is Florida hanging by a thread, their All-Star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, has been listed as day-to-day after being handcuffed by a John Maine fastball. Ramirez was struck on his right wrist in the first inning and immediately taken out of the game.

The Mets however were much more fortunate. The back-up to the back-up catcher, Omir Santos, put the Mets ahead in their bottom half of the first inning, 6-1, with his first career homerun, a grand slam. John Maine had a very strong outing in which he lasted six innings with an unearned run as the only run he allowed. Mets third baseman David Wright showed signs of coming out of his slump by going 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI, his seventh of the season. The Mets did have their share of negatives. First baseman Carlos Delgado was a late scratch stemming from a sore hip he experienced while running out yesterday’s three-base hit. Second baseman Luis Castillo had to come out of last night’s game with what was diagnosed as back spasms.

Livan Hernandez will take the hill tonight for the second installment of this current three-game series. His start will conclude the latest turn in the Mets starting rotation. If Hernandez can replicate Maine’s performance against the Marlins last night, perhaps Oliver Perez’ previously disappointing outing may not seem so dire.

For further reading, check out this post entitled An Emerging Threat in the NL East.

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