The Miami Marlins have lost nine of their last ten games and there seems to be no end in sight.
The team has been outscored 48 to 26 over that span and are spiraling to irrelevance in the NL Wildcard standings. Sitting at 4.5 GB and two teams behind the last wildcard spot, the Marlins are on the brink of losing out on what only a few weeks ago looked to be a promising end to the 2016 season.
Sure, the injuries to Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Conley and Justin Bour were all significant factors, but there is a reason Don Mattingly and the Dodgers parted ways after the 2015 season. Despite his success in the regular season (3 NL West Division Titles) the team was downright awful when it mattered most. None of the playoff teams advanced beyond the NLCS, and that is with the best pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw.
Some of those losses can be attributed to Kershaw’s terrible playoff performance, but Mattingly just can’t seem to hang in the big spot. In no instance is this more evident than when Mattingly and the Marlins coaching staff failed to tell pitcher Nick Wittgren to stay the hell away from Yoenis Cespedes in the 10th inning of a game last week. With the count 1 and 1 and nobody on, Wittgren was instructed to throw an inside fastball to the only legitimate power threat in the Mets’ lineup that evening. While the pitch missed, right down the middle, one must wonder what the Marlins were thinking throwing a fastball to Cespedes in that situation. Even Cespedes looked shock as he stomped on home plate while celebrating his walk-off bomb.
The Marlins have issues, I get it. But the team is losing a number of close games, the bullpen is used poorly (just who exactly is the closer?) and the team lost to the Phillies, at home, this afternoon. The Marlins committed three errors today and scratched out a mere six hits.
Mattingly and the Marlins are not contenders, they are baseball chum.