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View From the Other Side: Florida Marlins

I sent some questions to Craig from Fishstripes, SB Nation's Florida Marlin blog. I have to apologize to Craig because I sent the questions just last night and he was nice enough to get me the answers quick. 

You guys have what must be the best middle of the infield in baseball, though ours isn't bad, in Haney Ramirez and Dan Uggla, is only hitting .222 at the moment. What's happened to his bat? Ramirez is the best SS in baseball right?

Dan Uggla is doing fine despite the BA. He has a .341 OBP and a .440 SLG. He is second amongst NL 2B in HR with 11 and third with 40 RBI. For the month of June his BA is, at the moment, .294 with a .455 OBP and a .500 SLG. Danny is a streak hitter and when he gets hot he can carry the team.

Hanley Ramirez is the best hitting short stop in baseball. However, when you start combining in defensive stats with the offensive ones the issue becomes a little cloudy.

I know almost nothing about your manager, Fredi Gonzalez, what are his strengths and weaknesses?

Fredi is a protégée of Bobby Cox. His strengths are the players really enjoy playing for him, which is important on a team as young as the Marlins. He never criticizes the players to the media or in front of teammates. All problems are discussed behind closed doors. Weakness, most will tell you handling the pitchers, but I'm not sure I agree. When three of five starters can't go three innings and the bullpen is overused, exactly what are you suppose to do? (Note: that was problem earlier in the year and the starters are going deeper now.)

You have a lot of young pitchers but Ricky Nolasco has an ERA of 8.17, how does he stay in the rotation hitting like that? Who is your favorite Marlin starter to watch?

Because he has too. Nolasco threw a grand total of 21.1 innings in 2007 before being shutdown with an elbow injury. Ricky started the season in 2008 in the bullpen after missing most of spring training due to the injury. Once Nolasco joined the rotation he threw a total of 212.1 innings. So let's see, that is an increase of 191 innings after an injury and people are surprised he is not as sharp this season. Ricky throws a lot of breaking pitches and pounds the strike zone, it just so happens the breaks aren't quite as sharp this year due to the increase pitching load from a year ago. It is just something he has to go through and the Marlins don't have a better starting pitcher ready for the majors.

Matt Lindstrom is your closer despite a 5.92 ERA. Who is the reliever you want in there with the game on the line?

Kiko Calero is doing the best job out of the pen at the moment. But if things keep going the way they are, his arm should fall off around mid-July.

Who has been the Marlin's biggest surprise?

I guess Ross Gload. I had no idea he was such a good situational hitter off the bench.

Just a personal thing, as an old Expo fan, I grew up listening to Dave Van Horne, he's doing radio for you guys now. Is he as good as I thought he was, as a kid or is it nostalgia that makes me think so?

I love Dave Van Horn he has that old style of voice and describes the game with a mixture of old baseball stories relating the happenings on the field. If he doesn't win the Ford C. Frick award within the next few years, they need to quit giving it out.

Anything else us Jay fans should know about the Marlins?

I haven't looked up the hotel the Marlins are staying at in Toronto, but if they have to take public transportation to get to the stadium, only about half the team will be there by batting practice. They really aren't that good at urban life. When they play in New York, it is always entertaining to hear how they got to the Mets home park via Coney Island.