Jon Rauch

Through 19 games, the Marlins are historically bad

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With a 10-6 loss to the Reds this afternoon, the Miami Marlins dropped to 4-15 on the season. Not that it is a shock to anyone, but they are by far the worst-hitting team in baseball: their .242 weighted on-base average (wOBA) is well below the second-worst Mariners’ .279.  The starting pitching has been decent, but the five-to-seven innings of good starting pitching is quickly undone by the bottom-feeding bullpen which includes such luminaries as John Maine and Chad Qualls.

The Marlins’ start through 19 games is historically bad. They have never won fewer than five games in their first 19 in franchise history — they started 5-14 in 1995, 1998, and 1999.

The Marlins, with 43 runs scored through 19, become the 19th team in baseball history to host such an anemic offense and only the fourth to do it in the 2000’s. The full list:

Team Date Wins WP RS RA RunDiff
CLV 5/27/1884 6 .316 42 108 -66
IND 5/30/1884 2 .111 42 133 -91
BSN 5/6/1905 6 .333 39 101 -62
STL 5/5/1907 3 .158 41 88 -47
BRO 5/11/1907 2 .111 21 70 -49
STL 5/10/1908 5 .263 41 57 -16
WSH 5/12/1909 6 .316 34 78 -44
NYG 5/12/1909 8 .421 41 54 -13
SLB 5/12/1910 4 .222 43 78 -35
STL 5/19/1919 5 .263 40 81 -41
CHW 5/16/1943 8 .421 40 51 -11
KCA 5/7/1966 5 .263 36 83 -47
CHW 5/5/1968 5 .263 40 65 -25
MIL 5/13/1972 6 .316 38 65 -27
BAL 4/26/1988 0 .000 36 118 -82
DET 4/23/2003 2 .105 43 100 -57
MON 4/25/2004 5 .263 34 72 -38
PIT 4/27/2012 8 .421 42 57 -15
MIA 4/21/2013 4 .211 43 89 -46

And with a -46 run differential, the Marlins become the 15th team since 1975 to start the season off so poorly and the eighth of the 2000’s. The list:

Team Date Wins WP RS RA RD
BAL 4/26/1988 0 .000 36 118 -82
ATL 4/30/1988 3 .158 50 104 -54
MIN 4/24/1994 6 .316 91 147 -56
BOS 4/22/1996 4 .211 72 119 -47
CIN 4/22/1997 6 .316 69 116 -47
DET 4/24/1998 4 .211 65 127 -62
DET 4/25/2000 5 .263 70 126 -56
TBD 4/22/2001 5 .263 66 121 -55
DET 4/23/2002 4 .211 76 125 -49
CIN 4/20/2003 6 .316 90 144 -54
TEX 4/20/2003 8 .421 77 125 -48
DET 4/23/2003 2 .105 43 100 -57
PIT 4/26/2010 7 .368 65 147 -82
MIA 4/21/2013  4 .211 43 89 -46

If the team gets any worse, Jeffrey Loria will have to find another fan or two to alienate.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.