Series Preview: @St. Louis Cardinals

The Fish are coming off an offensive explosion against the Cincinnati Reds, but they’ll have to travel to St. Louis to face the St. Louis Cardinals and their strong bats now. The Marlins face their first four-game series against the Cardinals, who are sending a hot lineup, decent starting pitching, and one of the worst late-game bullpen choices in baseball our way.

Florida Marlins @ St. Louis Cardinals (16-12), May 2-5, Games 27-30

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 18 9 .667
FLA 17 9 .654 0.5
ATL 14 15 .483 5.0
WSN 13 14 .481 5.0
NYM 12 16 .429 6.5

Stadium: Busch Stadium III
Five-year Run PF*: 0.97
Five-year HR PF*: 0.92
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 336 ft.
Left-Center: 375
Center Field: 400
Right-Center: 375
Right Field: 335

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

May 2: Chris Volstad vs. Kyle Lohse
May 3: Anibal Sanchez vs. Kyle McClellan
May 4: Javier Vazquez vs. Chris Carpenter
May 5: Josh Johnson vs. Jake Westbrook

ZiPS In-Season Projections

ERA Proj. FIP Win% Marlins Date Cardinals Win% Proj. FIP ERA
5.32 4.34 .478 Volstad May 2 Lohse .541 3.79 1.64
3.86 3.54 .571 Sanchez May 3 McClellan .503 4.11 3.23
6.39 3.83 .536 Vazquez May 4 Carpenter .575 3.51 3.89
0.88 2.58 .697 Johnson May 5 Westbrook .487 4.26 6.58

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Chris Coghlan .359 .354 .324
2 Omar Infante .258 .317 .327
3 Hanley Ramirez .254 .375 .395
4 Gaby Sanchez .363 .340 .365
5 Mike Stanton .357 .351 .368
6 John Buck .306 .315 .341
7 Emilio Bonifacio .365 .301 .301
8 Greg Dobbs / Wes Helms .433 / .300 .323 .311

Notes

- Since the first month of the season is over, I figured I would add on this year’s current stats for each series preview. The Marlins obviously have some confusing numbers listed, so there are still obvious sample size problems, but I think at this point it would be interesting to see how various players on the Fish have progressed as the season rolls forward. For current season numbers, I chose to include the starting pitchers’ ERA and the batters’ wOBA. If you guys have any other requests, let me know.

- It appears my worst nightmare has come to life; with Donnie Murphy heading to the DL with right wrist inflammation (the same wrist that he dislocated last season), the Fish appear to be set to run a platoon of Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms at third base. The following are the career numbers for those two hitters:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Dobbs 1231 .264 .312 .417 .315
Helms 2931 .259 .320 .412 .316

We’re sending out two guys with a career wOBA of around .315 to play third base for us. One of those two players, Dobbs, is an awful third baseman by any account. The other, Helms, is at least a decent defender at third base, but is now known more for his “veteran presence” than any of his baseball skills. The Marlins intentionally chose to go after guys like Dobbs and keep players like Helms in the hopes that Matt Dominguez would be ready to take over third base, but with his injury it is unlikely that that will happen this season. This tandem has a good chance to be a replacement level crew, and the Marlins could have picked up additional assistance by signing someone like Joe Crede. Instead, the Fish tossed a win or so out the window by going with this backup plan.

- Hanley Ramirez had a decent series against the Reds, including hitting his first homer of the season. He hit .214/.267/.500 in the series, but that only brought him up to a season line of .200/.294/.289. He’s actually hitting slightly worse than Omar Infante is right now, which is hard to believe given the insults thrown Infante’s way. If you think Hanley’s BABIP will remain south of .250, then someone needs to smack some sense into you, but the power concerns are still troubling. Hanley’s ISO has dropped for two consecutive seasons.

- This is the second straight Josh Johnson Road Start Watch after Saturday’s strong outing. So far, Johnson has thrown 14 2/3 IP (54 batters faced) and struck out 15 while walking six. Not a bad set of stats so far, but let’s see how he continues to do as we go forward.

- The projection systems have yet to catch up to accurately predicting Javier Vazquez‘s performance, but I’m pretty sure he is no longer a true-talent 3.80 ERA pitcher. He still has more walks than strikeouts through almost 26 innings and 120 batters faced. He should get his share of starts, but if he continues to struggle as badly as he has he will be dropped. Remember, the Marlins kept Nate Robertson around for just about 18 starts before they gave up on him and his 5.47 ERA. The Fish may not be as lenient on Vazquez, whose peripherals look a lot worse.

- In lieu of a Quick Hits interview with one of the fine members of FanSided’s Redbird Rants, I instead offer two Cardinals-related links. First, Alex Brown of RR discusses how awesome it’s been to have Lance Berkman on an absolute tear. Also, over at Viva El Birdos, tom s describes why Ryan Franklin and his curveball currently suck.

Bold Prediction: Marlins win two of four games.

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Tags: Donnie Murphy Greg Dobbs Hanley Ramirez Javier Vazquez Lance Berkman Miami Marlins Ryan Franklin St. Louis Cardinals Wes Helms

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