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EMPTYING MY STAT BOOK–Opening Week

IMG_7226Here are some Opening Week-related notes I researched, some of which made it onto the broadcast and some of which did not. Throughout the season, I’ll periodically post similar research.

 

IT’S DE JA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Don Mattingly has written out the exact same lineup 1-8 for each of the first 4 games of the season. This is just the 4th time the Marlins have opened a season with the same starting 8 in the same spots in the batting order for at least 4 games in a row. They used the same starting 8 in each of the first 5 games in the inaugural 1993 season and in 2001. Prior to this season, they started the same 8 in the first 4 games in 2003.

THREE FOR DEE: Dee Gordon opened the season with consecutive 3-hit games Tuesday and Wednesday vs. Detroit. The only other Marlin to ever begin a season with 3 hits in both of his first 2 games was Dontrelle Willis, who turned the trick in 2004.

AN ANNUAL TRADITION: Giancarlo Stanton made his 6th consecutive Opening Day start Tuesday. The only Marlins who’ve started more often on Opening Day: Luis Castillo (8), Alex Gonzalez (7) and Hanley Ramirez (7). Jeff Conine and Mike Lowell join Stanton in the 6 season-opening starts club.

IT’S ME AGAIN: Martin Prado became the first Marlin to start consecutive season openers at third base since Miguel Cabrera in 2006 and 2007.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…: Justin Bour became the 15th player to start at first base for the Marlins on Opening Day in their 24-year history. First base and third base are the positions that have seen the most turnover in club annals with 15 Opening Day starters at third base as well. J.T. Realmuto became the 14th Marlin to start a season opener behind the plate, and Wei-Yin Chen was the 14th Opening Day starter on the mound. Miami has used 14 different center fielders, 13 right fielders, 12 left fielders, 9 second basemen and 8 shortstops in season openers over 24 National League seasons.

THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: The Marlins collected 10 or more hits in each of their first 3 games of the season for the first time since 2007 (3 in a row). The only time they started with more than 3 consecutive games of double-digit hits was 1997, when they began the year with 5 in a row.

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: According to Major League Baseball, 27.5 percent of the players on Opening Day rosters across the majors were born outside of the United States. While the Mariners led the way with 13 foreign-born players on their Opening Day roster, the Marlins had 8 representing 6 countries. Jose Fernandez and Adeiny Hechavarria were born in Cuba, and Martin Prado and Miguel Rojas were born in Venezuela, while the roster also includes Marcell Ozuna (Dominican Republic), Ichiro (Japan), Wei-Yin Chen (Taiwan) and Edwin Jackson (Germany).

MAKING HIMSELF AT HOME: Although the Nationals kept Giancarlo Stanton in the ballpark in the 2 games in Washington, he’s hit 15 homers in 40 career games at Nationals Park. 2016 marks the Nats’ 9th season in the ballpark. In that span, only 12 Nationals players have hit more career home runs in their home ballpark than Giancarlo has hit as a visitor since he made his big league debut in 2010.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

2016 SPRING TRAINING BROADCAST SCHEDULE

RDS.JPGWith the start of Spring Training games just around the corner, below is a list of the 15 Marlins Spring Training games Dave Van Horne and I will call in 2016. All of the broadcasts will air on flagship station AM 940 WINZ and MLB.com’s Gameday Audio. Select broadcasts may also be available on Sirius/XM satellite radio.

Tuesday, March 1 vs. University of Miami (1:05 p.m.)

Thursday, March 3 at St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Friday, March 4 vs. Washington Nationals (1:05 p.m.)

Saturday, March 5 vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 8 vs. New York Yankees (1:05 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 9 at St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Thursday, March 10 vs. Atlanta Braves (1:05 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 15 vs. New York Mets (1:05 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 16 vs. Washington Nationals (1:05 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 22 vs. Boston Red Sox (1:05 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 23 at St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Sunday, March 27 vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 30 vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1:05 p.m.)

Friday, April 1 vs. New York Yankees at Marlins Park (7:10 p.m.)

Saturday, April 2 vs. New York Yankees at Marlins Park (1:10 p.m.)

 

Additionally, Kyle Sielaff will call 5 Web exclusive games on MLB.com.

Thursday, March 17 vs. New York Mets (1:05)

Saturday, March 19 vs. Detroit Tigers (1:05)

Sunday, March 20 at St. Louis Cardinals (1:05)

Thursday, March 24 vs. Minnesota Twins (1:05)

Friday, March 25 vs. Washington Nationals (7:05)

 

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And tune in for all the Marlins action all season long on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

PERSPECTIVE ON JOSE’S 40-START DOMINANCE

jose-fernandez-featureAs he prepares to make his 41st career major league start tonight against the Nationals, Jose Fernandez has limited opponents to a .188 batting average, a .253 on-base percentage and a .279 slugging percentage in his career.

To put those numbers into perspective, among all qualifying big leaguers in 2015, only 2 have a batting average below .188 (Chris Carter of the Astros is hitting .184, while Mike Zunino of the Mariners is batting .180). Only 2 qualifying major leaguers have a sub-.253 OBP this season (Kansas City’s Omar Infante is at .244, while Zunino is at .239). And not a single qualifying major leaguer has a slugging percentage lower than the .279 mark Jose has permitted in his career. The 2015 major league low is .291 by Billy Hamilton of the Reds.

Fernandez has allowed a .532 opponents OPS (on-base + slugging) in his big league career. The 2015 major league low: .549 by Zunino.

Since the start of 2013, Miami is 26-14 when Jose starts, good for a .650 winning percentage. In that same span, the Marlins are 154-229 when anyone else starts, a .402 winning percentage.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

JOSE FERNANDEZ: THE PATIENT’S PATIENCE

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at St. Louis CardinalsWith the Marlins tomorrow facing Mets ace Matt Harvey, who’ll be making his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery, I’ve got a conversation with Jose Fernandez coming up on Sunday’s edition of Marlins On Deck.

Jose’s continuing his rehab work in Miami and not traveling with the team, but we sat down to talk at Marlins Park the day the Marlins left town to begin the current 10-game trip.

Among the things I asked Jose is, realizing how competitive he is and how much he loves to pitch, how he’s been able to remain so patient throughout the 11 months (so far) of his own rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

“It’s about being mature. It’s about being mature and being responsible. And it’s about respecting the work the doctor did, the work my therapist Ron Yacoub has done, the work the Marlins have done, the work of my Mom, my girlfriend, anybody who has been there and knows how hard it’s been for myself.

“It’s just more out of respect and being responsible. If you do something crazy, you’re going to just throw away what everybody has done to try to help you.

“It’s tough. It’s not easy. I want to pitch today in the big leagues. People ask, ‘How have you been so patient?’ I have been because I have to be. But I would love to pitch in the big leagues today. It’s just what I love to do—to pitch.”

To hear my full conversation with Jose Fernandez, tune into Sunday’s edition of Marlins On Deck at 12:40 on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT TEAMMATE?

Prior to joining the Marlins this winter, third baseman Martin Prado had spent the first 9 seasons of his major league career earning the immense respect of teammates with the Braves, D-Backs and Yankees as well as the admiration of other big leaguers, like many Marlins, who’d watched him from across the field over the years.Featured image Chipper Jones called Prado the best teammate he’d ever had. Braves executive Henry Aaron has reportedly frequently discussed the high regard in which he holds the 31-year-old Venezuela native, who spent his first 7 seasons in Atlanta. When I sat down with Prado for a conversation that aired on Marlins On Deck earlier this week, I asked him about the reputation he’s earned over the years, and I asked, specifically, what he thinks makes a great teammate.

“You’ve got to be patient first of all. You’re going to have 25 different kinds of (people) plus coaches. And everybody’s got a different personality. “The main thing you’ve got to have is respect. I have respect for all my teammates. I make sure that I keep my distance. You can joke around. You can play with the guys. But always have your distance. If you respect every person that you’re around, you’re going to be fine. “Another thing is you respect the game. You do everything right. You go up there, and they see that, even when you struggle, you’re doing everything you can to show them that, ‘Hey, I’m here no matter what.’ That’s when people start realizing that this guy’s for real. “I’m just making sure that when I walk away from this game I can look back and say that I did everything I could to be a good teammate and a good baseball player.”

So many of the things Prado does that stand out to those around him occur off the field–in the clubhouse, away from the ballpark and away from the cameras. For that reason, it’s sometimes hard for fans to have a true understanding of the kinds of things that don’t show up in the boxscore that a player like Prado can do to help a team. One example is the night this spring when he took every Latin player in the Marlins organization out for dinner. Every major leaguer and every minor leaguer. Nearly 50 players in all. I asked Prado why he felt that was important to do.

“I didn’t have anybody who did that for me, and–believe it or not–that kind of thing can make a huge impact on young players coming up. They (don’t really know) what it takes to be in this position that we’re in now. We’re so lucky to be here. “Every single day I spend in the big leagues is like my first day, and I play and live like it might be my last. “So I want to let them know that there are guys up here that care about them. And at some point in their career, they might do the same thing for guys coming up. It’s like a chain. You return the favor for guys who don’t have the same privilege you have to be here. “Besides that, they’ve got a routine down there. They just eat the same thing everyday. We went to a restaurant, and there were TVs, and we were watching games and talking about baseball. They asked questions, and you can see guys who want to know. They want to learn about the game. I was open to share my experience and make sure they don’t make the same mistakes that I made.”

I thought this was some great perspective from a respected 10-year major league veteran, and I think it helps illustrate why those who know him best—Hall of Famers; future Hall of Famers; and teammates–past, present and even future–respect Martin Prado the way they do. To hear my complete interview with Martin Prado—and other interviews we do on Marlins On Deck—go to Marlins.com/Podcasts. And for more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on AM 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

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