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The Marlins are better than the Giants

It’s important to remember that after they come from behind to win, 5-4.

MLB: Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have had 10 leads against the Marlins over the last 52 innings and blown 9 of them. Blown is a perfect word in this situation because it’s a synonym of “screwed up”, and that’s definitely what’s happened here. They’ve screwed up against the Marlins so much that you have to take luck out of it and just declare that the Marlins, a team with a far worse record than the Giants, are actually a much better team.

In my series preview, I figured it had to do with some kind of sorcery. Early in tonight’s broadcast, I thought my theory had been proven:

Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. They’re 20-9 at AT&T Park since 2010, and they swept the Giants here last season. They nearly swept them last week, too. The Marlins’ best players have come through in every situation against the Giants’ very best, and you can’t help but think that the Marlins’ very best — and even their average or worst — is simply much better than the Giants’.

It’s not even a dramatic statement to make. Only six losses separate the Giants and the Marlins and the Marlins play in a much tougher division. Their roster is all upside with high ceilings. The Giants’ roster is predominantly in its decline phase. They’ve lost 7 of their last 11 games. The exciting return home to begin a 20 of 26 at AT&T Park begins with a Warner Bros. cartoonsesque backfire.

All of that gets in the way of a very strong starting performance from Andrew Suarez. 6.1 innings pitched with 7 strikeouts and only 1 walk is a fantastic bounce back from his last start. He’s pitched better AT&T than anywhere else, and tonight, he even managed to avoid surrendering a home run, something he’s shown a propensity for in his early career. Of course, none of that would matter because the Giants wound up blowing the game, but every time he starts to look shaky, he has another strong performance to remind you of his potential. He’s the most Marlins player on the roster right now.

His pitching stats the second time through a batting order has been his weakness (.333 / .356 / .529 coming into tonight), and from what I’ve seen, it’s never because of the stuff or sequencing, it’s always about control and command. He just seems to lose it, delivery-wise, once that 3rd or 4th inning hits, and it takes him a few batters or the whole inning to work his way back into a comfortable rhythm.

4 of the 5 hits he allowed, including both runs and the sole walk he allowed, came during this stretch tonight. Still, he managed to get ahead of hitters for the most part, and when he couldn’t spot with his fastball or breaking ball, he managed to do it with the opposite pitch, and then he was able to come back to the one that wasn’t working before to get it to do what he wanted. His fastball was more 91-92 all night but we’ve seen him 93-94 for the most part. Either there’s a little fatigue there or maybe he realized he could be more consistent with that command if he didn’t try to throw it quite as hard.

In case it hasn’t been clear on this website, I’m intrigued by Andrew Suarez and I’d very much like to see him continue to pitch on the major league team for the rest of the season.

Sam Dyson relieved Suarez in the seventh inning after he walked Lewis Brinson, the greatest player the Giants have ever seen, on 4 pitches. Dyson got the double play on one pitch, came back out for the 8th and got two groundouts before blowing a 94 mph fastball by Starlin Castro.

All in a night’s work, perhaps, but it was the exact performance the Giants expect from him. Bochy dialed up Dyson and got exactly what he needed. It’s exactly what Dyson needed, too, after the Marlins roughed him up last week. When he looks how he did tonight, it’s understandable why the Giants have opted to keep him on the roster all season.

Giants were 31-0 when heading into the ninth inning with a lead until tonight. There are different rules of decorum and behavior on a baseball field. When you have a lead but you didn’t like how someone got to you last week, it’s okay for you to gamble on that lead.

I don’t know if Hunter Strickland is a bad person who has terrible ideology and treats people like they’re sub-human animals or carries a lot of anger in his heart that he can’t express for some reason, but when you’re trying to hold a 1-run lead and there’s a runner on third base, going out of your way to start off a key at bat like this

suggests that there’s something going on inside your head. Hard not to read that as a reaction to last week’s 9-pitch battle between these two players that ended in a game-tying sacrifice fly. In tonight’s matchup, Brinson went on smack the crap out of straight fastball a little bit up but in the middle of the zone to tie the game, and once Strickland blew the save and was finally pulled, Strickland made it a point to walk past him at third base to spit some more of that rage out.

Brinson did the right thing by rolling his eyes at him, and I say that as a fan of the Giants. I suppose real fans are supposed to defend every little thing about their favorite team, no matter how bad it gets — take, for example, the fact that there are still Marlins fans out there who defend the team no matter what that franchise does to the roster and the fans — but that’s just not me.

This is the same psychology behind the Bryce Harper throw-at. No matter what you think of him, you can’t deny that he puts himself ahead of the team, and as someone who’s not one of the best players on the team, it’s hard to justify. Adding insult to injury, he has looked weak and easily beatable over the past couple of weeks. Sam Dyson can blow it by more hitters with fewer mph on the gun, and so can Tony Watson and Will Smith.

Blown saves happen, but sometimes they’re avoidable.

If you didn’t read Doug’s brilliant post about the Marlins from this afternoon, go do so now, and then go to bed dreaming of how the Marlins will do something amazing to beat the Giants tomorrow night.