Series Preview: @Atlanta Braves

The Marlins face their first big divisional test in the Atlanta Braves. This week the team faces both the Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies, unofficially beginning the quest to win the NL East. The Braves have been underachieving their expected performance, but they might very well be due a bounceback, and the team is sending two of their best starters against two of the Marlins’ best to try and kick start that comeback.

Florida Marlins @ Atlanta Braves (4-6), April 12-14, Games 10-12

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 7 2 .778
FLA 5 4 .556 2.0
WSN 4 5 .333 3.0
NYM 4 6 .667 3.5
ATL 4 6 .333 3.5

Stadium: Turner Field
Five-year Run PF*: 0.98
Five-year HR PF*: 0.98
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 335 ft.
Left-Center: 380
Center Field: 401
Right-Center: 390
Right Field: 330

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 12: Chris Volstad vs. Tommy Hanson
April 13: Josh Johnson vs. Tim Hudson
April 14: Ricky Nolasco vs. Brandon Beachy

ZiPS In-Season Projections

Proj. FIP Win% Marlins Date Nationals Win% Proj. FIP
4.39 .472 Volstad April 12 Hanson .614 3.20
2.72 .678 Johnson April 13 Hudosn .534 3.85
3.36 .594 Nolasco April 14 Beachy .591 3.38

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Chris Coghlan .346 .322
2 Omar Infante .326 .336
3 Hanley Ramirez .382 .399
4 Mike Stanton .348 .364
5 Gaby Sanchez .337 .361
6 Logan Morrison .368 .343
7 John Buck .317 .343
8 Donnie Murphy
.291 .313

Notes

- One particularly interesting aspect of this series will be the pitching matchups involved. As you can see, ZiPS sees Nolasco and Beachy as quite similar in projected FIP and actually in ERA as well. Beachy did not work a whole lot as a starter in the minors, but he’s been able to go a decent 12 innings in two starts, so it seems he is sufficiently stretched out for starting work. Nolasco is looking to continually improve on his early season exploits; he’s once again begun the season light on strikeouts, but he has also done a great job in limiting his walks, as he has not allowed a free pass. It should be an interesting rubber game this Thursday.

- The matchup between Johnson and Hudson should also be fun. Hudson throws in the low 90′s and depends on grounders, while Johnson does it all and with a 94 mph fastball to boot. Two very good pitchers, but the edge goes to Johnson and the Marlins.

- If the Braves continue their hitting woes, it won’t matter which of the Marlins’ starters get thrown out there. The Braves are hitting a collective .229/.287/.343, a pathetic .279 wOBA. The Fish, on the other hand, are hitting .266/.333/.409, a more bearable .325 wOBA. It is interesting to see that the Marlins are excelling less in the slugging category than they are in the on-base category. For years, the team’s MO has been power on offense, but with Logan Morrison and even Mike Stanton drawing walks, the club has been able to get on base.

- Hanley Ramirez should be back in the lineup after missing two games from the slide by Houston Astros Bill Hall. Ramirez had just a leg contusion / bruise, but he’ll give it a go tonight. Hopefully he can get back on his horse soon, because the team’s offense needs his production; Morrison and Gaby Sanchez cannot continue their .460 and .383 wOBA paces respectively.

Bold Prediction: Marlins win two of three games.

Topics: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins

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