Miami Marlins

Could these Marlins actually be worse than the awful ’98 team? In their own way, yes.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 08: Wei-Yin Chen #54 of the Miami Marlins walks off the field in the fifth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 08: Wei-Yin Chen #54 of the Miami Marlins walks off the field in the fifth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Marlins aren’t just losing. They’re losing badly.

The Mets beat them 13-0 on Wednesday. Two days later, the Phillies shelled them with five home runs in a 14-2 bashing.

These Marlins won’t surpass the 1998 Marlins’ club-record 108 losses.

But all of their lopsided defeats could add up to the worst Marlins season ever in terms of negative run differential, breaking the ’98 team’s mark. And if the blowouts continue over the season’s final two weeks, these Marlins could become just the second major league team in the last 25 years to score the fewest runs in their league while giving up the most.

Since 1993, the year the Marlins joined the league, only the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates managed to do that.

The endless drubbings are taking a mental toll on the Marlins.

“Losing is one thing,” said All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. “But the games that get out of hand -- where we’re down by two and then we’re down by eight in a matter of a split-second -- those are the games that weigh on you.

“And those games have happened all too often this year.”

Have they ever.

The Marlins have lost seven games by 10 or more runs. They’ve lost another 24 by five to nine runs.

The Marlins (57-90) not only possessed the worst record in the National League entering play on Saturday, but had also been outscored by 221 runs to give them the worst run differential in the NL.

The 1998 Marlins were outscored by 256 runs.

But even the ’98 Marlins, as bad as that team was, managed to outscore three other NL teams: the Diamondbacks, Pirates and Expos.

These Marlins haven’t outscored anyone.

What’s worse, their pitching hasn’t been any better than their hitting, at least relatively speaking. Only the Cincinnati Reds have given up more runs, but it is close.

The Reds have given up five more runs than the Marlins. But they’ve also played one more game. The two last-place teams will meet in Miami at the end of the week, the final home series of the season for the Marlins.

About the only thing that’s kept the Marlins’ record from being worse than it already is has been their ability to hold their own in close games.

They’ve gone 18-18 in one-run games and are 8-5 in extra-inning games.

“I feel like if we keep the game close in the last two or three innings, we have a chance,” Realmuto said. “But the games where we’ve been down by two or three, we then seem like we get down by five or six in a hurry, and that just can’t happen. That’s not fun for anybody.”

The Marlins have suffered so many lopsided defeats that they should really be 51-96 based on a run-differential formula used by Baseball Prospectus.

It all adds up to a dismal first season for new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. Not that expectations were high after the new regime traded off many of their top players and engaged in an organizational rebuild.

But the losses of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon have taken a heavy toll. The Marlins went from the fifth-best scoring club in the league last season to the worst in 2018.

The Marlins are expected to offer a multi-year contract extension to Realmuto after the season. But if he doesn’t accept, he could be the next player out the door if the Marlins decide to cut their losses and trade him for prospects.

Realmuto doesn’t like the losing anymore than anyone else.

But the way in which the Marlins are losing, by lopsided margins oftentimes, grates on him.

“You can handle getting beat when we’re at the stage we’re at as an organization,” Realmuto said. “But there’s no reason to go out there and be non-competitive. That’s something we need to take more pride in and kind of stay in ballgames a little bit better. I feel like we haven’t done a very good job of that.”

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