Every offseason, the Grand Gills of the Miami Marlins go inside the home run sculpture to look at the organization’s WAR leaderboard in advance of putting their best player(s) on the trade block for pennies on the dollar.
Two offseasons ago, that meant giving away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Last offseason, it was J.T Realmuto and Kyle Barraclough. They also non-tendered former Giants killer Justin Bour go as well as masher Derek Dietrich, who’s still hurting the Giants, just with Cincinnati.
They don’t have the look of Marlins of years past — no sense that there’s a death fog the Giants will need to cut through over these next three games — but then neither do the Giants. They’re just four games better than the Marlins, who just broke a three-game losing streak this afternoon with a 3-2 win over the Nationals to raise their record to 17-34.
If you look through the list of Marlins Death Fog atrocities, then you know that the fog doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t discern team records. It doesn’t matter how bad either team is, shenanigans are always afoot when the Giants and the Marlins get together.
The Marlins don’t have the worst record in baseball, but CEO Derek Jeter is still mad that the team isn’t better. Last year, he was frustrated by their performance. Earlier this month, he vented:
“I’m not happy,” Jeter said. “[President of baseball operations] Michael Hill’s not happy. [Don Mattingly’s] not happy. I’m sure the players are not happy. I think everyone knows we’re better than this. There shouldn’t be a person in this building that’s happy with how we’re playing.”
That’s right. Don Mattingly is still managing in Major League Baseball and he’s still managing the Marlins. More importantly, Jeter’s annual statement of frustration about the losing team that he guts every offseason comes without a trace of irony or even a knowing wink. We can’t get even one wry smile, Jeets?
The Giants probably don’t have any room to talk at this point. I’m not happy. Farhan Zaidi’s not happy. Bruce Bochy’s not happy. I’m sure the players are not happy. I think everyone hoped the Giants would be better than 21-31. There shouldn’t be a person on this blog that’s happy with how the Giants are playing. And they should be even more miserable about these next three games than the last three, because reader, let me tell you, the Marlins are just the absolute worst.
Last year, the Marlins broke Evan Longoria’s hand and broke Hunter Strickland. The Diamondbacks already went to work pounding on what was left of the Giants’ legacy over the weekend, so while the Giants don’t really have anything that can be destroyed or used against them as a sort of embarrassment, don’t put it past the Marlins to exploit some weakness we didn’t even know was there.
And they’ll probably do it with someone you’ve never heard of.
Pitcher to watch
Sergio Romo has 10 saves already. That’s 10 saves for a 17-win team. He’s also 10/11 in save opportunities. His walk rate is an astounding 12.5%, but his pitch speed and spin rate has remained consistent. He still has that slider.
Hitter to watch
They still have Brian Anderson and Starlin Castro, but this year, they have veterans Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson. The 33-year old Walker might be one of their best trade chips, and after a 3-for-5 day against the Nationals, he’s raised his OPS to .815 on the season. That would lead all Giants’ regulars.
We know baseball well enough to know that if the Diamondbacks can end a five-game losing streak by going on the road, cracking the Giants’ heads open, and feasting on the goo inside, then it’s theoretically possible the Giants could go on the road and do the same.
The Marlins’ record is no mirage. This should be a level of competition the ghosts of Giants’ past should be able to handle or at the very least use all available energy and effort to stay even with. So, please know that I don’t come by my the Giants will get swept prediction easily. The Giants shouldn’t get swept, but then again, who cares? The Giants are not playing for anything. Even if you’re pulling for a Bruce Bochy miracle in his final season, Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News laid it all out there for you to reconsider that hope:
Manager Bruce Bochy is in the midst of a nightmare final season, as the Giants must win 53 of their final 110 games to help Bochy reach 2,000 major league victories. The milestone appears increasingly unlikely with each passing day.
That’s 53-57 the rest of the way or .481 ball. The Giants are 188-260 (.420) since July 2016. They’re 26-52 (.333) since last September. It’s not going well now and it’s not going to end any better, so instead of predicting how many games the Giants might get in a given series, this space will be used to talk about something else unrelated to wins and losses.
Did you know the Marlins have not hit a triple this season? Last year, they hit a triple in their very first game. They had two triples in seven games against the Giants. They’re the only NL team without a triple (Cleveland also has zero). The Giants’ three starters this series — Samardzija, Bumgarner, and Pomeranz — have allowed five triples combined (2, 1, 2, respectively). The Marlins will hit their first triple of the season at some point in this series.
If that’s the weirdest or worst thing to happen to the Giants on their way to getting swept, I’ll take it.