Losses, meetings have Ozzie exasperated

Losses, meetings have Ozzie exasperated

MIAMI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen often says, "Bad teams have meetings, good teams win ballgames."

In the past five days, the Marlins have had three separate meetings, including a players-only get-together after Saturday's disheartening 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Marlins Park.

"Bad teams have meetings," Guillen repeated after the team's sixth straight loss. "Winning teams kick [butt]. That's why we've had three meetings in the last five days, because we're not a good team right now."

The Marlins have a 4-16 record in June. Saturday was especially disappointing, because Josh Johnson threw seven strong innings, striking out seven and allowing one run and just two hits.

The game was tied at 1 in the ninth when the Blue Jays erupted for six runs. Edwin Encarnacion hit a home run off Steve Cishek to open the frame, and Colby Rasmus broke it open with a grand slam off Edward Mujica.

Through the struggles, Guillen has remained relatively calm. In his first season managing the club, he is being patient to fully understand his players, their moods and their abilities.

Saturday's performance certainly is trying the manager's patience.

"Maybe it's a lack of experience," Guillen said. "Maybe they weren't in that situation before. But it's time for us to go out there, look ourselves in the mirror and play better."

As for meetings?

"I already had one last week. I look like [President] Obama, have a meeting every day," Guillen said. "I'm not that type of manager. Then they can see how I can get. That's why I've been patient. I'm very normal here [talking to the media]. But what I see is terrible. What I see is pathetic, including myself. I do take the blame."

Embarrassing and unacceptable were words being tossed around in Miami's clubhouse.

"Right now, we look like we're dead," shortstop Jose Reyes said. "We have no energy. It's embarrassing the way we're playing right now. We have to get better, starting with me, and everybody. That's not good the way we look out there. We're way too good as a team to play the way we've been playing.

"We've got talent. But talent doesn't win games. We need to put it together on the field and help each other out and go from there."

Saturday's ninth-inning collapse seems to be a breaking point for some.

"What else can happen right now, worse than this?" Reyes said. "That's the worst you can play in a big league game. We will get better, hopefully, starting tomorrow, because it's almost July. It's not acceptable to play the way we've been playing right now."

Guillen didn't address the team after Saturday's loss, because he noted he might say something he would later regret.

"I've got a lot of kids in the clubhouse," the manager said. "All of a sudden, you're going to say something not proper, and then it will get worse. Maybe they'll get scared.

"Let them go and have a little meeting by themselves. I respect that. If we are the problem, the coaching staff or myself, then speak up. That's easy."

As the players got together, Guillen was in his office with his staff.

"I was in my office talking to a couple of coaches about how to make this team better," the manager said. "When I said, 'How can we make this team better?' They rolled their eyes. That's not a good sign. A lot of people are blaming coaches, blaming moves we make. We are doing everything we can to make this better."

The lackluster effort on Saturday was captured by two women who were asleep at the ballpark. The ladies were pictured on the giant video scoreboard in the late innings, and the image wasn't lost on Guillen.

"Did you see the two ladies sleeping up there?" Guillen said. "That's the way I feel. I don't blame them a bit for sleeping there. I think sometimes you second-guess talent, you second-guess managing, you second-guess the coaching staff.

"You can second-guess everything you want. Not just us. I second-guess myself a lot of times. Why? Because baseball is about second-guessing people after the fact. But right now, we should be embarrassed. I think we played tight. I think we waited for something bad to happen. This game is about making things happen, not making the bad thing happen."

In recent weeks, Guillen has tried everything. He's changed the lineup and given players opportunities to step up.

In times of trouble, the ballclub is looking for leadership. But from his view in the dugout, Guillen isn't seeing any on the field.

"It's easy to lead the team when you're hitting .390 and have 100 home runs and pitching shutouts every day," Guillen said. "Right now, we don't have any of those. It's easy to lead a team when you're a great player. But when you're down on your knees begging for help, it's hard to be a leader.

"I don't need leaders, I need good players. I need them to go out and perform the way they should. Everybody here, I think they have good enough talent to compete at the big league level. I believe in myself. I believe in my coaching staff, and they should believe in themselves too. If we're not playing well, then do something about it. I hate these words, 'We'll get 'em tomorrow.' [The heck with] tomorrow, just get it now, get it done. I don't believe in tomorrow, because you don't know what's going to happen."

The losing streak has the fiery manager running out of patience.

"In the meanwhile, I want to see something different," Guillen said. "I think there are a few people here who feel a little too comfortable. That is going to change. That has got to change. I'm getting paid to win games. And I'm not doing my job right now."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.