From the second game of the series, the Marlins had an offensive explosion that helped to override the average pitching and defensive performance from the starters. The Fish took the series and finished off the season 10-6 versus the New York Mets, all the meanwhile pulling within six games of the NL Wild Card and 8 1/2 games of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Series Hero: Gaby Sancez (0.486 WPA)
Series Goat: Mike Stanton (-0.291 WPA)
Impressed By: Hanley Ramirez (15 PA, 10 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, 3 SB)
Depressed By: Mike Stanton (12 PA, 0 H, 5 K)
Hanley Ramirez en fuego
Hanley has been mired in a season-long “slump,” in the sense that his performance has been mediocre compared to his typical level of play. This latest performance, however, has really bumped his season marks. Ramirez started the series at a .356 wOBA, but the 10-for-15 performance, including hios 17th home run of the season, brought that total to .365. The home run puts Ramirez on pace for 23 dingers according to ZiPS rest-of-season projections; while that would be the lowest total he has had since his rookie year, it remains a good mark to shoot for.
ZiPS has Ramirez finishing the rest of the year with a .316/.391/.526 slash line, good for a .405 wOBA. This series was an excellent start for reaching that sort of goal. If the season plays out as ZiPS projects, Hanley would finish with 683 PA of .379 wOBA work, worth 31 runs above average to the Marlins. While it isn’t the 40+ RAA performance that we’ve grown accustomed to, it would still be worth around 4 – 4.5 WAR by the end of the season, which would still give the team their money’s worth.
Life without Ross
This was the first series since 2008 in which Cody Ross was not a regular member of our outfield (injury notwithstanding). In his place was center fielder of the future Cameron Maybin, on his second stint with the team this season. He did not disappoint, going 5-for-14, with all five hits as singles. The strikeout habit has not yet gone away, at least in this small sample. Maybin struck out five times in those 14 PA.
While it is very good to see Maybin on his feet and playing decent baseball, I cannot approve of Edwin Rodriguez’ move to put Maybin at the leadoff spot. This goes with the traditional wisdom that you need a speedy hitter at the top of the lineup, but it simply is not correct. What the Marlins need is a good hitter at the top, and Ramirez was doing just fine as that good hitter. Putting Maybin there now might kill valuable PA that could have gone to Ramirez or Dan Uggla, better overall hitters who deserve more opportunities at the plate.
Another odd start for Johnson
I won’t go into great detail about Josh Johnson’s last start, but it did seem odd that he had yet another poor outing this late in the year. In the first game of the series, Johnson was rocked for four runs, striking out four but also walking four along the way. He still did not give up a home run, remaining as stingy as he has all season, but he did let six hits get through in five innings of work. In the last recap, I mentioned a similarly poor start for Johnson, and it seems like the month of August in general has been unkind to JJ. He has a 5.34 ERA for the month, which is not supported by his 3.73 FIP. Still, it is the largest monthly FIP of this season for Johnson, and you can see it not only in BABIP (which could be related to tiring or just bad luck) but also in his strikeouts. Johnson has struck out just 14.9% of batters faced this month in five starts and 30 innings of work. This could be something to watch for.