Fine win today for the Florida Marlins against the Washington Nationals — great pitching and timely home runs will do the trick.
When we look at the Marlins today and consider all the bad things that have happened (injuries to pitching staff, strikeouts, errors, all those games Jorge Julio blew) the one stat that stands out is the poor home record (18-26). If the Fish had a decent wining home record, combined with the winning road record (25-22), they would be fighting for first place in the NL East.
So why have we failed? I think it comes down to two things — pitching and defense.
Historically, the Marlins have had good home records even in the worst of years. That has to do with the constant focus on pitching and defense. Starting with the second generation of the Marlins (around 1996), the team has always tried to have a strong defensive presence in the infield while sending out good pitchers. Dombrowski and Beinfest have both done great work bringing in talented arms throughout the years (think of the rotations in 1997, 2003, and 2006) and keeping a solid infield (think of the gold-glove caliber infield for most of this century).
Now, Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin Stadium is a pitchers park. Humid summer air combined with the a good infield, scoreboard in left, deep gaps, and the Bermuda Triangle means fewer home runs and quick outs on ground balls.
The 2007 Marlins are a great offensive team. They have power and speed in various positions. But they also have a crippled pitching staff and the defense has been horrible. So now, instead of us beating offensive teams in our defensive park with pitchers and defense, we are the offensive team without pitching and defense in a pitchers park.
This all brings us back to today’s win. Serio Mitre had 17 groundball outs and the Marlins showed some solid defense. The result? a 5-2 win.