Series Preview: @Cincinnati Reds

Coming off one of the most successful home stands in recent memory, the Florida Marlins are heading out on an NL Central trip, stopping off first to meet the Cincinnati Reds before heading out to see the St. Louis Cardinals. Of course, the Reds are the defending NL Central champs and boast some excellent young players who are locked up long-term. To some extent, they resemble the Marlins and how they have built this current 2011 incarnation.

Florida Marlins @ Cincinnati Reds (13-12), April 29-May 1, Games 24-26

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 16 8 .667
FLA 15 8 .652 0.5
ATL 13 13 .500 4.0
WSN 11 13 .458 5.0
NYM 11 14 .440 5.5

Stadium: Great American Ballpark
Five-year Run PF*: 1.03
Five-year HR PF*: 1.10
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 329 ft.
Left-Center: 379
Center Field: 404
Right-Center: 370
Right Field: 325

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 29: Javier Vazquez vs. Travis Wood
April 30: Josh Johnson vs. Edinson Volquez
May 1: Ricky Nolasco vs. Bronson Arroyo

ZiPS In-Season Projections

Proj. FIP Win% Marlins Date Reds Win% Proj. FIP
3.76 .544 Vazquez April 29 Wood .563 3.61
2.64 .689 Johnson April 30 Volquez .506 4.09
3.39 .590 Nolasco May 1 Arroyo .477 4.35

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Chris Coghlan .354 .329
2 Omar Infante .317 .326
3 Hanley Ramirez .376 .393
4 Gaby Sanchez
.342 .367
5 Mike Stanton .350 .366
6 John Buck
.308 .334
7 Emilio Bonifacio .298 .298
8 Greg DobbsDonnie Murphy
.314 .308

Quick Hits

This series’s Quick Hits interview is with Steve Engbloom of FanSided’s own Blog Red Machine. He was gracious enough to answer three questions for me in the most efficient manner that he could muster, and for that the Maniac is thankful.

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1. Where does Joey Votto stand among the best players in baseball?
A: Of course, you’re going to get a bit of a slanted answer here. I believe Votto is among the top 20. Some may scoff a bit because before last season, Votto was pretty much an unknown commodity outside of Cincinnati. He has worked his tail off and continues to do so.
2. What does Edinson Volquez have to do to get back on track?
A: Might be a shorter of what he can’t do. After his last outing and despite the HR to Yadier Molina, I am seeing signs of him being back on track as in 2008 back on track.
3. What do you think are the chances of the Reds repeating as NL Central champions?
A: I believe the Reds chances are still good to repeat as NL Central champs.  As easy as 2010 may have looked to some, 2011 will be tougher and not because of the Brewers. It will be the Cardinals that will push the Reds. That’s a proud franchise in St. Louis and they will not relinquish their stronghold on the division so easily.

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I’d like to thank Steve for answering those questions for us in advance of the Marlins / Reds series. Check out his work and the rest of the work of the awesome staff at Blog Red Machine.

Notes

– I reflected the fact that Mike Stanton had officially been moved down in the order, even though this happened a while ago. Ironically, since he’s been moved down, initially to the sixth spot then to the fifth due to Logan Morrison‘s injury, Stanton has hit a whopping .345/.472/.655, bringing his season line to .267/.380/.483. I’ll take it.

– Not that Gaby Sanchez hasn’t been worthy of promotion to the cleanup spot. I have been amazed at how well Sanchez has played; none of his numbers look absurdly off of what we would expect from him, but all those incremental gains have added up to a great .291/.374/.453 start, good for a .366 wOBA.

– I still have Chris Coghlan listed on there at the leadoff spot, but he is going to miss tonight’s game with shoulder tendinitis. We may still see him this weekend. Batting in place of him at the leadoff spot? Emilio Bonifacio. Shoot me, please.

– A lot has been made of the Josh Johnson / Edinson Volquez matchup, but I’m really intrigued by the Sunday battle between Ricky Nolasco and Bronson Arroyo. Did you know that Arroyo has struck out 27 batters in almost 30 innings pitched? He’s whiffed 22.3 percent of batters faced, versus a career rate of 15.6 percent! I’d love to hear what’s going on with his game all of a sudden.

– Speaking of Josh Johnson, I’m going to try to keep an eye out on his performance this weekend on the road in a hitter’s park like the Great American Ballpark. After the whole fiasco about home / road splits, I think it’s worth watching and checking out how much his pitches break when away from south Florida and its humidity.

Tags: Bronson Arroyo Chris Coghlan Cincinnati Reds Edinson Volquez Emilio Bonifacio Gaby Sanchez Joey Votto Josh Johnson Miami Marlins Mike Stanton Ricky Nolasco

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