Fish Cap: Marlins take two from Mets in rain-shortened series

The Marlins did not get a chance to complete the three-game set against the New York Mets on account of rain, but the team did take two games against New York after a set of home runs and decent pitching performances led the way. As Marlins fans, we all know that taking any number of games from the New York Mets is a good thing that is not to be understated.

Series Hero: Omar Infante (0.363 WPA)
Series Goat: No one in particular
Impressed by: Omar Infante (10 PA, 6 H, 1 3B, 2 HR, 0 BB, 2 K)
Depressed by: No one in particular

Omar Infante double-deeps

While the first game of the series was determined by one Mike Stanton #monsterdong, the second game of the set was determined by two shots off the bat of Omar Infante, who had a hell of a series even outside the two homers. He had four other hits in the series, including a triple, and he is continuing to surge back into decency after digging himself into an awful hole early in the season.

Infante’s two homers were almost to identical parts of Citi Field, as both went right over the left center field wall. The second homer landed a true distance of 404 feet, while the other was measured at a true distance of 390 feet according to ESPN Home Run Tracker. It was Infante’s second shot, which put the Marlins up 2-1, that added the most to the team’s chances of winning, putting the Fish up to a 62.0 percent chance of winning the game at that point.

It has been easy to bust on Infante for having a bad year so far this season, but his recent two-month surge of Atlanta Braves Infante performance has really upped his game. His numbers from June until now stand at .296/.349/.403 with a very believable .325 BABIP. Compare that to his very similar three-year mark in Atlanta of .309/.353/.411. Right now, he is hitting a much more respectable .274/.319/.355. Yes, that is still a .299 wOBA, but as we mentioned before regarding Emilio Bonifacio, a .300 wOBA with good defense at a defensively important position in this run environment is currently acceptable. In fact, he is currently fourth on the team in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) at 1.6 wins. That is ahead of everyone except Bonifacio, Stanton, and Gaby Sanchez. This is quite an impressive feat, and if Infante continues to play decently, the Fish may actually consider re-signing him to fill the temporary second base hole for another two seasons.

Petersen, Buck catalyze wild winning play

The Marlins benefited from one strange play in Tuesday night’s victory. The Marlins loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning with the Mets ahead by one run. The team took advantage of a walk and a hit batsmen to get three Marlins on board. Bryan Petersen mustered a weak ground ball to second base off of closer Jason Isringhausen, with Justin Turner fielding the play. Catcher John Buck, who was on first due to the HBP, stuttered when Turner fielded the ball within the basepath. Buck’s freeze on the bases prevented the otherwise easy tag by Turner, who threw to first base to get Petersen instead. Of course, the ball got by the first baseman and went towards the dugout, allowing the Marlins to plate two runners and take the lead. The play as a whole represented a whopping 46.4 percent swing in win percentage, putting the Marlins from a 44.8 percent chance of victory to a near-guaranteed 91.2 percent chance.

Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton credited Buck with smart baserunning on the play; instead of running through to allow Turner the tag, he froze without attempting to run back to first (which would have caused both runners to be out). From there, it was Turner’s errant throw that allowed the runners to score. Without an error, one run would have assuredly scored, as Morrison had already crossed the plate by the time the ball reached the first base area. Even if the Marlins got doubled up on the play via a tag of Buck at second, the team would have left the inning tied. Kudos then goes to Petersen for making contact that was weak enough to cause this problem; a stronger ground ball would have led to an easy double play and no runs.

Vazquez Velocity Watch

From Javier Vazquez’s start in the first game of the series.

The Marlins did not get the best of Vazquez, but they once again got decent velocity out of him. He was throwing in the 91 mph range on his fastball once again, and even though he only got two strikeouts versus one walk, he did perform decently enough to get more than that. Vazquez induced 10 whiffs on 102 pitches, which is above the league average. This included five swinging strikes on his fastball, which would have been unheard of early in the season. No, despite the appearance of mediocre play, we should still be encouraged by the performance of Javier Vazquez.

Vazquez IP FB Vel ERA FIP
First eight starts 39 1/3 88.2 7.55 5.52
Last 14 starts 82 1/3 90.6 3.61 3.94

The outcomes and process still look pretty good. Through the last 14 starts, we have gotten the Vazquez the Marlins expected when they signed him to that $7 million deal in the offseason. It took eight disastrous starts to find the guy they were looking for, but it appears Vazquez is not a success story about velocity recovery, not another failure.

Tags: Bryan Petersen Javier Vazquez John Buck Justin Turner Miami Marlins Omar Infante

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