Series Preview: Atlanta Braves

The Marlins are coming off one of the most disappointing weeks of their season, continuing their home stand versus the Atlanta Braves. The Braves and Fish are in a virtual tie for second place, but neither team is playing particularly well. Still, the Braves will throw their best pitchers out there to salvage a mediocre offensive effort, and the Marlins will attempt to do the same.

Atlanta Braves (32-28) @ Florida Marlins, June 7-9, Games 55-58

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 36 24 .600
FLA 31 27 .534 4.0
ATL 32 28 .533 4.0
NYM 28 31 .475 7.5
WSN 26 34 .433 10.0

Stadium: Sun Life Stadium
Five-year Run PF*: 1.01
Five-year HR PF*: 0.97
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 330 ft.
Left-Center: 361
Center Field: 404
Right-Center: 361
Right Field: 345

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

June 7: Brad Hand vs. Tommy Hanson
June 8: Ricky Nolasco vs. Derek Lowe
June 9: Chris Volstad vs. Jair Jurrjens

ZiPS In-Season Projections

ERA Proj. FIP Win% Marlins Date Braves Win% Proj. FIP ERA
Hand June 7 Hanson .642 2.99 2.82
3.99 3.29 .603 Nolasco June 8 Lowe .535 3.84 4.07
5.67 4.36 .476 Volstad June 9 Jurrjens .584 3.44 1.75

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Chris Coghlan .289 .343 .310
2 Omar Infante .278 .314 .324
3 Logan Morrison .400 .375 .349
4 Gaby Sanchez .392 .349 .374
5 Mike Stanton .385 .356 .373
6 Greg Dobbs / Wes Helms .365 / .266 .329 .301
7 John Buck .294 .310 .336
8 Emilio Bonifacio .303 .297 .297

Notes

- Tonight the Marlins will debut Brad Hand, who is filing in for the injured Josh Johnson. Hand was ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Marlins minor league organization by FanGraphs’s Marc Hulet and eighth in the organization by Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein. MM’s own John Herold ranked him ahead of Chad James as the best pitching prospect in the organization, as Hand combines solid numbers and an above average lefty fastball to go along with a nice curveball. He received the promotion to Double-A this season, where he posted a 3.53 ERA to go along with an uglier 4.57 FIP. We’ll see him hit the mound tonight against Tommy Hanson.

- Speaking of pitchers, here’s the pitching matchup of the series:

Player IP K% BB% GB% ERA FIP
Nolasco 79 19.2 4.8 41.9 3.99 3.46
Lowe 73 19.0 9.0 56.2 4.07 3.58

Nolasco is pitching well, the last start notwithstanding, and this matchup should be the Fish’s best chance of winning a game in the series. Lowe has lost ground on his ground ball rate each of the last two seasons, down to 56 percent this year after being in the 60′s from the start of his career into 2009. His strikeout jump from earlier in the season also seems to have fallen by the wayside.

- This is Dan Uggla‘s homecoming game after being traded to the Braves. Don’t expect a happy welcome from Fish fans, and don’t expect to see the same Uggla. He is hitting just .172/.240/.312 with no semblance of the old Uggla’s patience and diminished power.

- Hanley Ramirez will continue to miss time with his lower back injury, and the Fish keep hitting poorly without him. As bad as Ramirez was when he was in the lineup, the Fish were hitting .251/.323/.387 with him and so far have hit .248/.318/.399 without him. Part of the problem is the continued slump of Emilio Bonifacio, who is regressing to the mean in a big way. His current .256/.330/.353 slash line is exactly the sort of thing we might expect from a player of his caliber.

Bold Prediction: Marlins win one of three games.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Brad Hand Dan Uggla Derek Lowe Hanley Ramirez Miami Marlins Ricky Nolasco Tommy Hanson

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