Marlins must improve away from home to contend
Miami must buck early road woes if it hopes to factor in playoff chase
The Miami Marlins have made their presence felt with their home-field domination this season. They own baseball's best home record, with a 17-5 mark at Marlins Park. This has some speculating that the Marlins could be the surprise team of 2014.
The Marlins, however, have a rough road to contention.
As good as Miami has been at home this season, it went into Saturday with a 5-16 record on the road -- a .238 winning percentage, which is the worst in baseball. Historically, this doesn't bode well for the club.
Of the 214 teams in Major League history that have completed a full season with a winning percentage of .342 or worse on the road, none has even finished at .500. The 1935 Boston Braves posted the worst road winning percentage since 1901 (13-65, .167).
Fourteen teams had a road winning percentage below .238, including the Philadelphia Phillies in four seasons. The Phillies were 16-62 (.205) in 1939, and were 17-60 (.221) in 1927, '28 and '30. The Philadelphia A's, meanwhile, were 13-64 (.169) in 1916, 13-63 (.171) in '45 and 15-55 (.214) in '19.
The 1996 Colorado Rockies were 28-53 (.346) on the road, one of 24 teams tied for the 215th worst road winning percentage in history. The Rockies, however, finished the season 83-79, the only team among the 239 in history to have a road winning percentage of .341 or lower and finish with an overall winning record.
• Phils right-hander A.J. Burnett's 113 pitches in five innings against the Angels on Tuesday matched St. Louis' Mike Busby against Atlanta on April 7, 1996, for the highest pitch count for a starting pitcher in five or fewer innings since at least 1988, according to STATS. The pitch-count stats only go back to 1988. Other pitches who threw at least 100 pitchers in five innings or fewer are Kris Johnson of the Twins (106) against the Dodgers this season on May 1, Mike Judd of the Dodgers (104) against the Pirates on July 18, 2000, and Juan Morillo of the Rockies (100) against the Braves on Sept. 24, 2006.
• Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto has worked at least seven innings and allowed five or fewer hits and two or fewer runs in all nine of his starts this season. The last pitcher to accomplish that was Harry Krause of the 1909 Philadelphia A's, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. What's more, Cueto has worked at least eight innings in each of the last six games. The only other pitcher to match that since 1997 was Cliff Lee, who had 10 consecutive starts of at least eight innings with Seattle and Texas in 2010.
• Houston will have the first pick in the Draft for an unprecedented third year in a row. The Astros will be picking first overall for the fifth time in the 50 years of the Draft. The Mets and Padres have also had a No. 1 pick five times. How have the Astros done with the No. 1 overall selection in the past? They selected left-hander Floyd Bannister in 1976, passed on Derek Jeter -- despite a strong push from within -- and selected Phil Nevin in 1997, took shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012 and pitcher Mark Appel in '13.
• Texas took a 1-2 punch to the gut this week. Matt Harrison could need a spinal fusion and fellow lefty Martin Perez was told he needs Tommy John surgery. Harrison and Perez join fellow starters Derek Holland (left knee injury in an offseason accident) and Tanner Scheppers, who started Opening Day, on the disabled list. The Rangers and White Sox are tied for the Major League lead with nine starting pitchers used this season. Texas also leads the Majors with 16 disabled-list moves this season.
• Rockies pitchers have a ground-ball/fly-ball ratio of 2.06 at Coors Field, the best in the Majors. San Francisco is second at 1.92. It's also the best in Colorado's franchise history. The Rockies had a 1.89 ratio last year, and their third best in the first 20 years of Coors Field was 1.68 in 2009.
• Nine home runs and nine strikeouts for Tigers first baseman/designated hitter Victor Martinez through Friday. The last player to hit more home runs than he had strikeouts in a season was Barry Bonds, who had 45 home runs and 41 strikeouts with the Giants in 2004.
• Nine-game winning streak for Detroit on the road, after a 1-0 win at Boston on Friday night. It's the Tigers' longest road winning streak since they ran off 21 in a row between the final four road games of 1983 and first 17 road contests in 1984.
• Five players have started at first base for San Francisco in the first eight games since Brandon Belt suffered a broken left thumb on May 9: Buster Posey, Michael Morse, Joaquin Arias, Hector Sanchez and Brandon Hicks.
Jon Byrne, stepping in this weekend as a vacation replacement for Ron Kulpa in the Nationals-Mets series, is the first Australian-born umpire in Major League Baseball, the 12th foreign-born umpire, according to info man Bill Arnold.
Four other foreign-born umpires are currently on the active MLB roster: C.B. Bucknor (Jamaica), Manny Gonzalez (Venezuela), Angel Hernandez (Cuba) and Alfonso Marquez (Mexico).
Previous foreign-born umpires and when they worked in the big leagues were: Delfin Colon (Puerto Rico, 2008-09), Nick Colosi (Italy, 1968-82), Tom Connolly (England, 1898-1932), Pete Harrison (England, 1916-20), Ian Lamplugh (England, 1999-2002), Pete McLaughlin (England, 1924-27) and Armando Rodriguez (Cuba, 1974-75).