Results tagged ‘ Marlins Park ’

PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF IT

As the Marlins near the end of a historic May, here are a few statistical tidbits I’ve put together to hold you over until gametime tonight:

MAY IT NEVER END: With a win tonight or tomorrow, the Marlins will establish a franchise record for most victories in a calendar month. They’re a major league-best 19-8 in May, having previously won 19 games in August of 1997. They’re unbeaten (6-0-3) in 9 series this month and would finish 7-0-3 with one more win against the Nats. By winning both remaining May games to go 21-8 (.724) in May, they’d set a club record for the best winning percentage in any calendar month. They were 18-7 (.720) in June of 2006.

COMFORTABLE ANYWHERE: En route to a 27-22 record, the Marlins are 14-10 at Marlins Park and 13-12 on the road.  They’re one of only 4 NL teams and one of only 8 in all of baseball with better-than-.500 records both at home and on the road. The other 7: the Cardinals, Dodgers, Indians, Nationals, Orioles, Rangers and Yankees.

MAN OF THE MONTH: Only 3 Marlins have ever won an NL Player of the Month award: Jeff Conine in June of 1995, Hanley Ramirez in June of 2008 and Emilio Bonifacio in July of 2011. This month may be Giancarlo Stanton’s turn. Here’s a look at the top contenders for the honor through yesterday’s games:

Giancarlo Stanton, MIA:  .324 AVG, 9 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 27 RBI, .410 OBP, .735 SLG, 1.146 OPS

Carlos Beltran, STL: .310 AVG, 3 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 30 RBI, .400 OBP, .713 SLG, 1.113 OPS

Jonathan Lucroy, MIL: .388 AVG, 8 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 22 RBI, .409 OBP, .659 SLG, 1.068 OPS

POWER SURGE: Giancarlo Stanton’s 11 home runs in May with 2 games to play leave him one shy of the club record for a calendar month.  Dan Uggla hit 12 homers in May of 2008. The only other Marlin to hit 11 in a single month was Gary Sheffield in April of 1996.

Major League home run leaders in May:

Giancarlo Stanton, MIA 11

Josh Hamilton, TEX 11

Adam Dunn, CWS 11

Carlos Beltran, STL 10

Josh Reddick, OAK 10

Major League RBI leaders in May:

Carlos Beltran, STL 30

Josh Hamilton, TEX, 28

Giancarlo Stanton, MIA 27

Nelson Cruz, TEX 23

Albert Pujols, LAA, 22

Jose Bautista, TOR 22

Jonathan Lucroy, MIL 22

ONE-MAN WRECKING CREW: Stanton has hit more than half of the Marlins’ total of 21 homers this month…he’s hit as many home runs in May as the full rosters of both the Padres (11) and Giants (11).

PICKING UP THE PACE: In going 8-14 in April, the Marlins averaged only 3.3 runs per game. Their total of 73 runs scored was 15th out of 16 NL clubs and 28th out of 30 teams in all of baseball. In May, however, they’re averaging 4.6 runs per game. Their total of 123 runs in 27 games are 5th-most in the NL and 11th-most in MLB.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: The Marlins have 3 pitchers in their rotation who have thrown no-hitters (Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano), and tonight’s Anibal Sanchez-Edwin Jackson match-up marks the 2nd time one of them has faced off against another pitcher who also has a no-no on his resume. Mark Buehrle beat Matt Garza of the Cubs April 18 at Marlins Park.

LOOKING FOR A SUPPORT SYSTEM: Speaking of Anibal, he was the Marlins’ tough-luck pitcher a season ago, winning only 8 games despite a 3.67 ERA over 32 starts.  In 2011, he allowed 2 runs or fewer in 16 of his 32 starts, but got a loss or a no-decision in 10 of those starts. This year, he’s allowed 2 runs or less in 6 of his first 9 starts and has a loss or a no-decision in 4 of the 6. The Marlins have lost 8 games this month and Anibal Sanchez has started 4 of the 8.  He’s 1-3 in 5 May starts despite a 2.97 ERA.

GIMME 5: The Marlins are one of only 7 ML teams that have needed only 5 starting pitchers to this point in the 2012 season.  The others are the Angels, the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the Mariners, the Nationals and the Reds.  The Nats will fall off that list tomorrow when Chien-Ming Wang replaces Ross Detwiler to start against Miami. Here’s a look at the Marlins’ record in games started by each member of the rotation:

Josh Johnson: 6-4

Mark Buehrle: 6-4

Ricky Nolasco: 6-4

Carlos Zambrano: 5-5

Anibal Sanchez: 4-5

FASHION SENSE: The Marlins have worn their black jerseys in 27 of their first 49 games this season. How they’ve fared in each jersey:

Black: 15-12

White: 6-5

Orange: 4-3

Gray: 2-2

For more on the Marlins, follow me on Twitter @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please “Follow” the blog above. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on 790 The Ticket and the Marlins Radio Network.

BALLPARK RANKINGS

It dawned on me as I woke up in San Francisco this morning, that this 9-game trip we start tonight against the Giants will take me to 3 of my personal favorite ballparks around the major leagues.

With all the praise many, including me, have been heaping on Marlins Park, I’ve gotten the question a lot of late: “What’s YOUR favorite ballpark?”

While I’ve seen regular season major league games in 48 different ballparks over the years (including every current park with the exception of Target Field in Minneapolis) that’s a VERY complicated question to answer. For one thing, I think it’s hard to compare a Fenway Park or a Wrigley Field—old historic parks—to a Marlins Park or any of the other new-wave parks that in many cases have amenities and conveniences you just didn’t have 100 years ago when Fenway was built.  Having those amenities adds to the experience. And while many of the new parks have done a remarkable job simulating the charm and the intimacy of a Fenway or a Wrigley, at the end of the day, you just can’t simulate the histories of those 2 parks or an old Yankee Stadium. So they have inherent advantages as well as disadvantages when being compared to other ballparks.  It’s like comparing players from different eras. Unfair to even try to do.

I also have a tough time separating the ballpark from the city itself and the area where it’s located, because—in my opinion—the best ballparks are the ones that mesh perfectly with their city, ballparks like Marlins Park for example, that are designed in such a way that they could ONLY have been built in the city where they are.  To me, Marlins Park LOOKS and FEELS and SMELLS and TASTES like Miami.  It is a hip, contemporary, fun, colorful park in a hip, contemporary, fun, colorful city.  It works perfectly in Miami and ONLY in Miami.

To that point, red brick and green steel works magnificently at Camden Yards in Baltimore because Baltimore is a red brick and green steel city.  Red brick and green steel may be beautiful, but it wouldn’t have made any sense in Miami.

There are some parks—yes, even some of the new ones–that feel like they could have been plopped down in any city in America. Whether the architecture doesn’t blend in with the surroundings or the parks themselves simply have a generic feel to them, that detracts from the experience for me.

I want to be able to sit in a park—or see a camera shot or two on television—and know EXACTLY where I am.  Again, that speaks to the magnificence of Marlins Park.  Whether it’s the aquariums behind home plate, the color of the outfield walls, the Home Run Sculpture or the views of the Miami skyline, if you sit in Marlins Park and think “This may be Kansas City,” we’ve got to get you some help.

With the original question of what my favorite ballpark is in mind, and considering some of the criteria I’ve just laid out, what I’ve tried to do is put together my personal ranking of the major league parks.

You may agree with all or some of what I have to say. You may disagree with everything I have to say. I’m not trying to be right. You may say, “Well you’re biased in your opinions.” Well, yes, that’s actually what opinions are. They take into account personal biases, good and bad. I’m not telling you my list has to be your list. I’m just offering my personal opinions based on my travels over the course of my career in baseball.

These opinions are based on how I judge ballparks AND the individual experiences I’ve encountered at each one. You may judge a ballpark differently, and that’s great.

I’ll offer my thoughts over the course of the next few days, working my way up from the bottom of the list to the top.

Note that, I will not include Target Field on my list because I’ve not yet been there (although I’ve heard great things about and don’t miss the Metrodome). I will not include Marlins Park because I think my passion for the ballpark speaks for itself, and I‘d imagine most of you have seen it by now.  And I WILL include Kansas City despite the fact I have not been to the renovated ballpark there.  I absolutely loved Kauffman Stadium before the renovation, and I can only imagine it’s even better now.

I’ll roll out my rankings in 3 parts over the next few days, with part 1 coming up a little bit later today. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, what’s YOUR favorite ballpark? Feel free to chime in in the comments section below.

For more on the Marlins, follow me on Twitter @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please “Follow” the blog. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on 790 The Ticket and the Marlins Radio Network.

THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE MIAMI MARLINS (Full Preview Episode)

In its entirety, here’s the full 32-minute preview episode of Showtime’s “The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins.” Enjoy it. Then let me know what you thought of it.

THIS AND THAT

A few numbers I’ve thrown together as we get set for a 12:40 first pitch at Marlins Park, with the Marlins looking for a win to close out a 5-1 homestand:

With a win today, the Marlins would sweep the Cubs in a series of 3 or more games for the first time since 2007.

A look at the Marlins’ home-road offensive splits, having now played 6 games at Marlins Park and 6 games away from home:

HOME: .275 AVG, .341 OBP, .415 SLG, 5 RPG, 5 HR

ROAD: .236 AVG, .274 OBP, .404 SLG, 3.5 RPG, 6 HR

The Marlins established season highs with 9 runs and 14 hits in last night’s 9-1 win over the Cubs.  They’ve scored 5 runs or more in 4 of their last 5 games after scoring a total of 20 runs through their first 7, averaging fewer than 3 per game to open the year.

The Marlins have gone deep 5 times in the last 3 games, after connecting for only 6 homers in their first 9.

Having homered in 3 consecutive games for the 6th time in his career, Hanley has run his career long ball total to 138, tying Miguel Cabrera for 3rd in Marlins history. He trails only Dan Uggla (154) and Mike Lowell (143).

With 9 hits in his last 15 AB’s (including 3 homers and 10 RBI in that span), Hanley is batting .283 with 4 homers and 12 RBI through his first 12 games.  A season ago, he batted .200 in 23 April contests with no homers and 9 RBI.

With Emilio Bonifacio leading the way with 7 steals in 7 attempts, one shy of NL leader Dee Gordon of the Dodgers, the Marlins are tied with the Braves and Phillies for the NL lead with 12 stolen bases, while being caught only 3 times.

Bonifacio has reached base at least once in all 12 games this season. He’s 8th in the league with a .444 OBP and has 5 multiple-hit games, including a pair in the last 2 nights.

No Marlins pitcher has a sacrifice bunt yet. The Marlins’ only successful sac bunt was dropped down by Chris Coghlan.

Up next: a 6-game trip to Washington and New York.  The pitching match-ups for the Nats series are Carlos Zambrano-Ross Detwiler Friday night, Anibal Sanchez-Stephen Strasburg Saturday afternoon and Josh Johnson-Gio Gonzalez on Sunday.  Looking ahead to the Mets series, which begins Tuesday night at Citi Field, we should get Mark Buehrle-R.A. Dickey on Tuesday, Ricky Nolasco-Jonathan Niese on Wednesday and Carlos Zambrano-Mike Pelfrey in the Thursday road trip finale.

Then, it’s home for 4 against the D-Backs before we hit the road for 9 games in San Francisco, San Diego and Houston. So after today’s game, the Marlins play 15 of their next 19 away from Marlins Park.

Gonna miss this place!

For more on the Marlins, follow me on Twitter @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please “Follow” the blog above. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on 790 The Ticket and the Marlins Radio Network.

PLAYING THE FIELD

There’s been a lot of discussion as to how Marlins Park will play. Will it be a pitcher’s park, a hitter’s park or—like the old football stadium—will it be essentially neutral?

Some nationally jumped to bold conclusions after seeing the Opening Night game. Remember, we’ve been saying all along the ballpark ought to be MUCH more pitcher-friendly with the roof open, as it was last night. For those who are saying this park is way too big, way too pitcher friendly, it’s important to know the roof will only be open about 10 times per season, when the heat and rain (or threat of rain) aren’t an issue.

Any South Floridian who has braved ballgames at the old football stadium (or who chose to stay home because of the heat and rain) knows nights like last night will be few-and-far-between.  That’s why we have this retractable roof.

Beyond the somewhat superficial roof-open, roof-closed, how-will-the-ball-carry talk, however, I got some interesting insight about a few other ways Marlins Park may affect the game on a nightly basis from Marlins third base coach Joe Espada earlier in the week based on his early observations.

First, Joe talked about the playing field itself, which I haven’t really seen discussed at length anywhere with most folks having focused, at least to this point, on the outfield dimensions. The plan is for the Marlins to grow the infield higher than what they had at Sun Life Stadium. Even an additional quarter of an inch makes a big difference in slowing batted balls down on the infield—giving your defenders a little extra range and giving a team with speedsters (and bunters) like Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio an added edge in beating out hits.

At Sun Life Stadium, where the Marlins were tenants and the football teams wanted the grass to remain extremely short, the infield may have been the single fastest in all of baseball. This did the Marlins no favors, particularly prior to last season when the ballclub was, shall we say, defensively challenged.

The Marlins made huge defensive strides last season (the topic of another upcoming blog). Still, they yearned for a little more height on the infield grass.

Well now, with their own ballpark–where they call the shots–they can have it…eventually.

The playing field is made of Bermuda grass, a strain known as Celebration. While the field was planted in January, Bermuda grass flourishes during the warmer summer months, so the expectation is it will play much differently in June and July, once it’s able to grow taller, than in the first couple of months of the season.

Right now, the playing field is actually very similar to the speedy putting green-like surface the Marlins had at Sun Life, again as fast as any in Major League Baseball. That will change in a couple of months, and when it does, the slightly taller infield could offer the Marlins a literal home-FIELD advantage, the likes of which they’ve never had before.

A couple of other things Joe said that are worth keeping an eye on about how the ballpark may influence the game. As third base coach, he’s working hard to master all the nooks and crannies in the outfield and gain an understanding of how balls will carom off the various surfaces on the outfield walls.

To this point, whether balls hit the padded green parts of the walls; the see-through fences in front of the bullpens, the Clevelander and the group hospitality area in the right-field corner; or even the out-of-town scoreboard in left-center field, he hasn’t really seen anything come off the wall hard. Most balls are dropping to the ground quickly.

The longer it takes the outfielder to retrieve the ball, the better your chances of advancing an extra base, so Joe see an opportunity to be aggressive with his base runners.

Along those same lines, he’s also made note of the size of the power-alleys in left-center and right-center. They’re significantly deeper than most ballparks, leaving Joe to think that virtually any Marlins position player—not just the burners at the top of the order–ought to have a pretty good chance to score all the way from first base on doubles to the gap that roll to the wall, as was the case with Omar Infante scoring from first on John Buck’s gapper in the 8th inning last night.

It’s a long way to the 386 sign in left-center and the 392 marker in right-center. Assuming good jumps, expect to see the Marlins try to take advantage of that and try to score runners from first on doubles with some frequency when the game situation dictates the aggressive move makes sense.

We’re playing in a couple of bandboxes in Cincinnati and Philadelphia on this first road trip of the season. While we still have a lot to learn about Marlins Park, it already seems safe to say the ballpark and the playing field itself will dictate a very different style of play.

For those of you who’ve been out to the park, or even if you’ve just seen it on TV to this point, I would love to hear your initial impressions. Let me know below.

 

For more on the Marlins, follow me on Twitter @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on 790 The Ticket and the Marlins Radio Network.

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