Fish Cap: Improvement in Marlins series loss to Angels

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The good news is that the Marlins avoided the worst record in one calendar month in baseball history with a 5-2 victory two nights ago. The Marlins now have no chance of beating out the 1988 Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in one month of baseball. And it should be encouraging to see that the Fish actually outscored the Los Angeles Angels despite losing two games in the series. The truth is that this series was probably the best played series since the set versus the Milwaukee Brewers which ended in four losses, three of them of the one-run variety. Of course, none of that will matter if the Marlins continue to pile up losses anway.

Series Hero: Mike Stanton (0.373 WPA)
Series Goat: Logan Morrison (-0.246 WPA)
Impressed by: Anibal Sanchez (7 IP, 1 R, 8 K, 0 BB, 0 HR)
Depressed by: No one in particular, which is surprising given the series loss

Play well, lose games

The last few series for the Fish have been tough to watch, because the team was dominated by its opponents. The Philadelphia Phillies dominated the Fish on either side of the ball, and the offense was not awake during the Tampa Bay Rays series. But against the Angels, the Marlins were at least present.

Team PA R AVG OBP SLG
Marlins 112 11 .282 .309 .350
Angels 121 10 .307 .342 .439

Hey, I said they scored more, not that they deserved to score more. Nevertheless, that .282/.309/.350 line is far better than the sort of line that the Fish had been delivering in previous series.

Marlins vs. Team PA R AVG OBP SLG
Rays 105 6 .177 .229 .260
Phillies 139 6 .155 .210 .225

The Arizona Diamondbacks series went well offensively, but the Marlins’ pitching staff prevented more than one win. Nevertheless, it was good to see the Marlins scoring some runs after posting seven games with a total of 12 runs, even if the results came against some of the best pitchers in baseball. After all, the Fish did at least face Jered Weaver in this series.

Anibal Sanchez continuing to impress

If I showed you this stat line before the season began:

Player IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Player 99 1/3 25.2 7.0 2.90 2.91

You would probably point out that this would be the midseason line of Josh Johnson. While Johnson has performed at a superhuman level (1.64 ERA, 2.58 FIP in 60 1/3 innings), he has been injured. In fact, that is the line for Anibal Sanchez, who has done his best 2009 Johnson impersonation this season. In an amazing turn of events, Sanchez has pitched at an ace level this year, marking the third starter the Marlins have who could presumably lead a rotation. Part of that may have something to do with his increased velocity; at 91.7 mph on his fastball, Sanchez has reached a career high in average velocity even though he is two years removed from recovery from a torn labrum.

Sanchez exhibited more of the same in his last start, the 2-1 loss in the first game of the series. Sanchez threw at an average of 91.5 mph on his fastball and mixed in an astonishingly high 43 sliders into the mix of his repertoire. It worked out however, as he forced through 16 whiffs in his 103 pitches, including 13 from the aforementioned slider. Sanchez was scattered around the strike zone, but he was smart about it, eliciting 12 whiffs outside of the traditional zone. All told, it was another impressive performance from a player who is fast emerging as one of the team’s best players and a sure-fire lock as the Marlins’ All-Star representative.

Vazquez Velocity Update

From his start on Wednesday versus the Angels, the game we actually won:

Sure, this could simply be because fastball velocity increases as the season passes due to the heat. But you know what, this has to be encouraging for the Marlins. Again, here is the comparison between his first eight starts and his last seven:

Vazquez IP FB Vel ERA FIP
First eight starts 39 1/3 88.2 7.55 5.52
Last seven starts 37 90.4 5.11 4.40

That’s a drastic but believable change in performance. And that doesn’t take into account that his last seven starts include a home run rate that is almost double that of his first eight, a performance that sounds paradoxical at best. Yes, I suspect Vazquez will give up more than his fair share of homers, but I also am expecting a drop in those numbers. He is not the 2009 Vazquez, but if he can keep up a FIP of 4.40, I think the Marlins will accept his performance.

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Tags: Anibal Sanchez Javier Vazquez Los Angeles Angels Miami Marlins

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