After some searching, I have finally found this gem of a picture of your Marlins opening day starter Mark Hendrickson, who was recently cemoted to bullpen duty along with fellow starter Ryan Tucker. Anyway, before I get sidetracked, here is Mark Hendrickson in all his pre-MLB glory. Allegedly this poster [minus the text, I assume] currently hangs in the Marlins clubhouse.
Why the transition to bullpen duty, you ask? For starters, opposing batters have been going all MJ on him as Hendrickson sported a 7.20 and 7.77 ERA, respectively, for the months of May and June. Yes, that’s ERA’s of seven-plus from the man deemed by the coaching staff to have been the best available pitcher at the end of spring training – a 6’9″ former NBA journeyman. Does he even have a major league pitching job if Randy Johnson wasn’t so tall?
Filling the roles? Mediocre prospect Chris Volstad and Minneapolis native Josh Johnson, who returns after a year and a half of missed time thanks to Joe Girardi’s Baker-esque abuse (see: Anibal Sanchez) and a little thing I like to call “oh fuck me another Marlins pitcher is visiting James Andrews who will deem that he needs Tommy John surgery.” You might remember Josh Johnson as being the dude who came onto the scene in that magical 2006 season and posted a 3.10 ERA in 157 innings – a figure which would have been good for 4th in all of baseball had he had enough innings to qualify.
I know I should set moderate expectations for Johnson’s return, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Between his return and Anibal’s possible August return – expect the Marlins to actually have some pitching and potentially end the year at .500 or above. And hell, with no teams in the NL East displaying any desire to pull away with the division, could the Marlins even make a push for the playoffs? Oh, and for those of you who are already firing up your calculators to comment on Florida’s pythagorean numbers and the fact that they’ve allowed more runs then they’ve scored: fuck you. Please just let me enjoy my blind bliss for at least a couple days.
Also, I would just like to say that all of these other pitchers could be moot of Ricky Nolasco keeps playing like he has been.