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The Athletics Travel to Miami to Face an Improved Marlins Club


 

The Miami Marlins have been collecting talent for years, and now that talent is becoming major-league ready. The Oakland Athletics travel to Miami to see just how good this team really is.

The Miami Marlins come in to the series with a 39-39 record, just 2.5 games behind the first place Washington Nationals. Miami started the season off hot, but have cooled down a little since, going 4-6 in their most recent 10. Recently, I asked Andy Salgado of Marlins Maniac a few questions about his team.

Swingin’ A’s: With Jose Fernandez out for the season, who has stepped into the role of ace?

AS: Henderson Alvarez hands down. Alvarez this season has 2 complete game shut outs, and since Jose went down back in May , the Marlins are on an 8-game winning streak when Alvarez pitches. He is also 4th in NL ERA. I’m not taking anything away from Nathan Eovaldi or Tom Koehler but I would want Alvarez pitching a must-win game for the Fish.

SA: The Marlins sit at 39-39, just 2.5 games behind 1st. What are the chances they hang around all season, and is this sooner than expected with all of their young talent?

AS: I think they will hang around all season. A lot of people think what will make or break the Marlins season will be the trade deadline. There has been rumbling in the front office that we are going to be buyers this season and if this true and we get good starting pitching it will be hard to bet against this young hungry team. I didn’t think this was sooner then expected. Before the season started I said it would be a Miami/Oakland World Series and people laughed at me. I mean we are a bit away but this team does have the piece to make it a reality.

SA: What can you tell us about Andrew Heaney? This will only be his 3rd ML start and he has had mixed results thus far.

AS: He has what i like to call the “Summer Catch” problem. In the movie “Summer Catch” the Freddie Prince Jr. character is a great pitcher but without fail he will have one bad pitch and that would change the game completely. That has happened to Andrew so far, but when he is on, no one can hit him. People seem to forget Jose started him career 0-2 too, and look how that season turned out.

SA: Between Yelich and McGehee who is more vital to the offense?

AS: Hits McGehee! The Marlins finally have someone to protect Stanton. Countless times this season I’ve seen pitchers walk Stanton with 2 outs to pitch to McGehee and he comes through and brings home some runs. Among 3rd baseman McGehee in 1st in batting avg., RBIs, OBP, and hits. I like Yelich but McGehee has been vital to our offense.

SAJake Marisnick is up with the injury to Yelich, but is only hitting .182 in limited action. When do the Marlins expect him to break out?

AS: Last season. I agree with what most scout and experts say about Jake right now. In the minors Jake’s batting style has a step to the ball, instead of waiting back on a ball if that makes any sense. If he just waited back a little bit his hits would be a little cleaner and not so many pop flies or ground outs.

SA: Who is the Marlins’ next big prospect to come up?

AS: If we are going with a prospect that has never come up, I’d have to say Justin Nicolino. He is our number 3 prospect, has a 7-2 record in Double A, and a complete game shutout. With all the moves we have been making in there rotation I’d be surprised if we didn’t see him up this year.

SA: It’s happened twice before, with the Marlins building a winner, and then selling off all the talent. They should compete before too long. Do you think management sells the stars again?

AS: Here is the misconception everyone has: yes we sold the 1997 team but that was a different front office than today. The 2003 team everyone says we sold the team, but we really didn’t. Pudge left because he only had a 1-year deal and was offered more money elsewhere. Derrek Lee was traded for Hee-Seop Choi. Not a fair trade, but the rest of the core group was there for 2004. We traded him and Brad Penny to the Dodgers that year anyways and got Juan Encarnacion and Paul Lo Duca. We even had a winning record that year. The team started getting broken up when they weren’t performing to their caliber. Others left when their contracts were up, and others left for certain teams that have very deep pockets. This front office wants a winning team. They will sell only if the trade makes the team better.

SA: Lastly, which NL East team has the worst mascot?

AS: Homer! Sorry Braves fans, but he is a rip off of Mr. Met.

Thank you Andy for the insight, and having a little fun with us!

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