The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The week in Preview

After struggling through another week on the road, the Marlins return home for six games this week, followed by a three game set in Cincinnati, and then back home for six more games. This is a relatively winnable stretch of games for the Fish, well, once the Astros leave town after Thursday’s game. The Diamondbacks (this weekend’s opponent) are struggling, have lost last weekend’s series at home to the homeless Expos (lost in recent news was the encouraging signing by Montreal of Jose Vidro to a 4-year, $30 million extension; it’s rare for the Expos to be able to keep one of their superstars, particularly when their future is so uncertain).

After four games with the D-backs, the Fish will play three against the Reds and then quickly return home to play three with the Mets and three more against the Reds. The game on the 28th against the Mets will, unusually, be the Marlins first game against a division opponent since April 25th.

Also of note, given the relative struggles of the pitching staff of late, yesterday was the Marlins last off day until June 7th. Beginning today, the Marlins are scheduled to play 20 games in 20 days without an off day. Optimistic forecasts have former ace A.J. Burnett returning to the fold around the time of that next off day. Burnett is scheduled to pitch in a single-A game in Jupiter today. Hopefully his arm will hold up for that performance.

Looking at just the games for this week, the Marlins appear to be catching a break in that Roger Clemens will not be pitching for the Astros while they are in town. Unfortunately for Fish fans, the Astros will put Roy Oswalt on the mound Thursday night, where he likely will face Marlins ace Josh Beckett. Whether good Josh or bad Josh pitches that night is still questionable.

Over the weekend, Marlins fans will likely be treated to an appearance by Randy Johnson on Sunday. Last year, Johnson faced off against a Marlins rookie lefty in a memorable matchup that drew a huge crowd, including a huge walkup. By the way, that same pitcher, you know - HIM, pitches again tonight.


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