Disclaimer: The game settings are set, to slightly tweak from reality and to give a bit of a more level playing field. I set the options to equalize cities to control the difficulty a little bit. Game simulations will be in one month intervals or when a player gets injured for 14 + days (whichever one comes first)
2004 Florida Marlins Real Life Record: 83-79
Farm System (2nd)
1-Juan Pierre- CF
2-Luis Castillo- 2B
Pretty light offensively. Pierre and Castillo are players who would be more useful if they ever made it legal to steal first. Conine is a bit over the hill. Mike Redmond is great against Tom Glavine, not so much against everyone else. That is more than you can say about Gonzales and Aguila. If these bizarro-Marlins have any hope of contending, Lowell and Cabrera will need to step up. The Bench leaves a lot to be desired.
Not bad....not bad at all. With the pedestrian offense, the rotation needs to justify the hype.
Closer- Armando Benitez
Set Up- Chad Fox
Short Relief- Toby Borland
Short Relief- Matt Lindstrom
Middle Relief- Michael Tejera
Long Relief- Darren Oliver
Nothing to write home about. This team only goes as far as the rotation, Cabrera and Lowell takes them........now time for some games.
2nd place 2 GB of Atlanta
1 GB Houston and Milwaukee for Wild Card
Juan Pierre to Padres for Ramon Hernandez and Sean Burroughs
It looks like there isn't enough room for two light hitters in my line-up. Juan Pierre moves cross-country. For now, there is a downgrade at center field to Abraham Nunez. Ramon Hernandez is an upgrade at catcher for the Marlins. He's 27, has more pop in his bat than Redmond and gives some protection in the 5-spot behind Cabrera. Sean Burroughs is 23, a young but unproven talent at this point. Since third is already accounted for with Mike Lowell, his role for the Marlins is to strengthen the bench.
27-23 3 GB Atlanta, 3rd Place
2 GB Philadelphia for Wild Card
May wasn't great, May wasn't terrible. May was more about treading water than anything else. Ramon Hernandez had a hot start for the Marlins and a big part of the Marlins keeping pace in May (.402/.444/.707). Thus far Burroughs (4 for 17) has been a non-factor.
June 1: Amateur Draft
Pretty uninspiring except for Butler, not expecting too much out of this crop.
June 5: Josh Beckett goes down for two weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
Definitely a set-back for this team. Beckett followed up his epic 2003 post-season by starting 6-2 2.82 era.
3rd place 2 1/2 behind Atlanta
2 GB Cincinnati Wild Card
June 20: Toby Borland out 26 Days with Ankle Stress Fracture
He may not have a higher profile than Beckett and expectations are lower for him than Beckett, but Borland has had a positive impact on the bullpen thus far. He has been 2-0 with 2.73 era in 27 games (most games he's pitched in a season since 1996)
3rd place 5 1/2 GB Philadelphia
5 1/2 behind Cincinnati for Wild Card
June has been unkind to this team, they are slowly losing their grip on the season and they need to get hot soon to be in the post-season discussion.
4th place 6 1/2 GB Philadelphia
8 GB Houston for Wild Card
Good News: The Marlins went a month without any injuries
Bad News: The Marlins treaded water losing a game in the NL East (plus a drop from 3rd to 4th). Also, the Wild Card is more or less a pipe dream as they are 8 games out of the Wild Card.
Armando Benitez out 22 Days with chipped Knee Cap
A bigger loss on paper than in reality. He is 5-6 3.08 era on the season but this is a bit misleading. He has blown a ghastly 8 saves and when you factor out defense he has a DICE almost twice as high at 5.90. Chad Fox takes over closer duties while Benitez is out, if Fox does well enough, Benitez could become trade bait
55-55 5th place 12 GB Philadelphia
6 1/2 Behind Atlanta for Wild Card
110 games into their title defense, the Marlins find themselves in dead last. In all fairness, the NL East has been pretty tough. On the bright side, they have chipped away at the wild card by getting to within 6 1/2 of the Wild Card. There is still hope, just not much.
August 20: Alex Gonzales out two weeks with sprained kneck
Adequate defender, offensively inept. .254/.293/.352. It's a good thing his contract is off the books after '04. Mike Mordecai takes over temporarily
62-58 4th place 10 1/2 GB
5 GB of Wild Card
September looks to be interesting, let's see how this unravels.
September 3: Jeff Conine out 17 days with Pulled Groin
Conine is up there in years (38) but still a capable player to the tune of .275/.336/.436 with 14 Homers and 67 RBIs. Wil Cordero .229/.282/.346 takes over for now. Cordero needs to improve like two months ago.
67-67 4th place 10 GB
8 1/2 GB of Wild Card
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future............
September 7: Brad Penny out 45 Days with dislocated hip
Brad Penny's season ends here (barring a miracle run). Even in this bizarro universe win-loss records are useless. Despite a 3.80 era and 3.20 DICE and nearly a 3:1 K/BB rate, he had little run support and a 9-13 record. Time for Penny to recover for the injury, can't wait to see him contribute in '05. In the meantime, 21-year old Ricky Nolasco gets an extended audition in the rotation.
Record 82-80 4th place 9 GB Philadelphia
6 1/2 GB San Francisco for Wild Card
Well, the first season has come and gone. So far, this parallel universe is close to reflecting reality (one more win IRL) has the Marlins showing that they at least can compete.
Armando Benitez 200th Save (May 1)
Miguel Cabrera 22-Game Hitting Streak (June 7)
Miguel Cabrera 23-Game Hitting Streak (September 1)
Luckily for Benitez, the don't track blown saves mile stones (he had 10). Cabrera began to show his potential by going on a couple extended hot-streaks. Despite not being an All-Star, Cabrera celebrated his 21st to the tune of .286/.362/.514 and 35 homers.
Ramon Hernandez: 2nd All-Star .298-15-63 .356/.440
Hernandez came over from San Diego in the Juan Pierre trade. Carried a hot start in Florida to become the Marlins lone All-Star Representative.
Best Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
Surprise: Chris Agulia .292-9-55 .345/.420
Disappointment: Mike Lowell .269-15-80 .336/.424
Best Pitcher: Josh Beckett 13-6 3.07 era
Surprise: Ricky Nolasco 2-2 1.96 era 2 saves
Disappointment: Dontrelle Willis 10-14 4.35 era
Cabrera followed up the strong promise of his rookie year by showing he was the real deal. Agulia seemed nothing more than filler at the bottom of the line-up. I expected nothing out of him but he proved he could play. Lowell wasn't that bad but considering how thin the Marlins offense was, he was expected to step up bigger than he ded.
Beckett lost time to injury but still had a strong year. Nolasco made his debut in '04. He pitched well out of the bullpen and showed that he has a bright future in this league. Like Lowell, Willis wasn't bad per se but considering his strong rookie year, expectations were much higher than reality for the Marlins.
Well, that ends the pilot episode of this series, hopefully this idea works out. If not, at least I gave it a shot