April 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Baseball fans display signs during the second inning of a game between the Houston Astros and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Cubs @ Miami Marlins (4/17-4/19) Preview: The Ozzie is back series!

Fresh off the team’s first series win of the season, the Miami Marlins are ready to welcome back their manager Ozzie Guillen from his five-game suspension. The Marlins out-spoken manager was disciplined for his recent comments about Fidel Castro to Time Magazine.

 

 

The Marlins will welcome the Chicago Cubs to Miami to visit Marlins Park for the first time.  This will be the first time that the two squads face off since completing a major trade in the off-season. The Cubs sent oft-troubled right handed pitcher Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for first round bust Chris Volstad. Neither pitcher is expected to make an appearance in a game this series.

Chicago Cubs (3-7) @ Miami Marlins (4-6), April 17-19, Games 11-13


NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
WSN 8 3 .727
NYM 7 3 .700 .5
ATL 5 5 .500 2.5
PHI 4 5 .444 3.0
MIA 4 6 .400 3.5

 

Stadium: Marlins Park

Source: thefightinfish.com

Five-year Run PF*: N/A
Five-year HR PF*: N/A
Stadium Dimensions:
Left field line—340 ft.
Left-center field—384 ft.
Center field—416 ft.
Right-center field—392 ft.
Right field line—335 ft.

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 13: Josh Johnson vs. Ryan Dempster
April 14: Mark Buehrle vs. Matt Garza
April 15:  Ricky Nolasco vs. Jeff Samardzija

 

ZiPS In-Season Projections

Proj. FIP Win% Marlins Date Cubs Win% Proj. FIP
2.71 .727 Johnson April 17 Dempster .500 4.10
3.86 .550 Buehrle April 18 Garza .571 3.52
3.55 .500 Nolasco April 19 Samardzija .500 4.57

 

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Jose Reyes .268 .362 .362
2 Emilio Bonifacio .356 .305 .305
3 Hanley Ramirez .370 .355 .375
4 Giancarlo Stanton .246 .380 .401
5 Logan Morrison .304 .367 .337
6 Gaby Sanchez .197 .338 .366
7 Omar Infante .497 .307 .317
8 John Buck .287 .300 .321

 

 

Miami Marlins, Hanley Ramirez and Emilio Bonifacio, celebrate Hanley's game tying two run home run. (Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

 

Q/A Session

Continuing with what we have done for every series previews so far, here is a look at the questions that Jordan Campbell of Fansided’s Cubbies Crib answered for me about his Cubs.

 

Ehsan: Is Matt Garza going to get extended or traded? I would suspect he is a type of player Theo Epstein would like to build around?
Jordan: Your guess is as good as mine. The way I look at it, the Cubs have a 28 year old pitcher in Garza that is becoming one of the game’s elite starting pitchers. Garza is an emotional guy, but he is no Carlos Zambrano. Garza’s emotions rally the Cubs. In a sense, he is a cheerleader for the Cubs when he is not starting. The Cubs have one more year of control over Garza, with his free agent eligibility coming after the 2013 season. The Cubs can not go into the 2013 season not knowing if they are going to trade Garza or extend the starting pitcher. If the Cubs can get a team to offer three top prospects, then the front office will likely pull the trigger on such a trade. Garza is one of my favorite Cubs. But, I guess that Garza gets a five year extension with the Cubs before the season is over.
Ehsan: What are your expectations for the Cubs this season?
Jordan: My expectations? I don’t have any. I came into the 2012 season with an open mind. The Cubs won’t even be close enough to sniff the playoff race. But, the Cubs are not shooting for the post-season this year. The goal for the team this season is to continue to rebuild. Rebuilding comes by trading away short term assets such as Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, and Carlos Marmol and bringing in long term assets. The Cubs already have a handful of long term assets in catcher Welington Castillo, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Josh Vitters, outfielder Brett Jackson, and of course Shortstop Starlin Castro.
Ehsan: Jeff Samarjia was certainly impressive in his first start. In your estimation, will he be able to sustain that? I have always like his arm.
Jordan: I’ve seen reports from various scouts and different analysis, and I believe Samardzija is going to be a mainstay in the Cubs’ starting rotation. Some have suggested that Samardzija will become the Cubs’ second best starting pitcher behind Garza. I don’t see that. But Samardzija has a lively fastball with plus slider, and as long as he stays focus, the former Notre Dame end will be a successful starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.
Ehsan: How is our old friend Chris Volstad doing in Chicago?
Jordan: Chris Volstad has not been bad, but he has not been good either. Volstad has given up 7 combined runs over 11 innings pitched in his first two starts of the season. Volstad was the best starting pitcher for the Cubs in Spring Training. But, the Cubs have Travis Wood and Randy Wells pitching with their Triple A affiliate. Wood and Wells are not going to be with the Iowa Cubs for the entire season. Meaning if Volstad continues to be less than stellar, then the team may opt to go with either Wood or Wells
Ehsan: Starlin Castro is becoming one of my favorite players to watch. What are your expectations for Starlin Castro in 2012? 
Jordan: There is no question that Starlin Castro is on the door steps to becoming an elite shortstop in the National League. Castro’s offensive ability is excellent. The only area of Castro’s game that may hold him back from becoming an elite shortstop is his defense. This is Castro’s third season, and his defensive ability has seen little improvement. If Castro can not improve his defense, then a move to second base would seem to be inevitable. But for now, Castro fully understands the concept of “see ball, hit ball.” That comprehension alone will earn him a big pay day with the Cubs.
Jordan: Thanks for the question, and best of luck this season.

Notes:

  • Ozzie Guillen will be making his return as the Marlins manager against one of his long time rivals, the Chicago Cubs.
  • With Ozzie’s return, the circus should be arriving in Miami. I expect a lot of media attention and a large group of protesters.
  • Josh Johnson has struggled in his first two starts, but he hopes to put that behind him and pick up his first win of the 2012 season.
  • Ryan Dempster will go against JJ. Dempster played for the Marlins between 1998 and 2002.
  • Hanley Ramirez is 7 for his last 9. He will look to continue his hot hitting Tuesday night.
  • The second game of the series will feature the Cubs ace, Matt Garza. The Marlins will need another strong start from Buehrle to have a chance to win this game.
  • Buehrle has received just 1 run from his offense over his first two starts. If Garza is on his game, do not expect Buehrle to get any help Wednesday.
  • The third game has the most intriguing match-up. Jeff Samardzija will go up against Ricky Nolasco.
  • Samardzija had a very strong first start and will look to build on that. Nolasco had a good first start, but looked shaky last time out.
  • This will already be the fourth series against an NL Central opponent for the Marlins.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is still looking for his first home run of the season.
  • The Marlins will need Gaby Sanchez to get out of his current funk, out of all the Marlins regulars, he has the lowest wOBA through 10 games.

Prediction:

The Marlins are able to take two of the three games. Josh Johnson steps up and delivers a strong start for the Miami Marlins.

Josh Johnson will be looking to bounce back from two bad starts to begin the season. (Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE)

 

April 20-22: @Washington Nationals

April 24-26: @New York Mets

*April 27-30: vs Arizona Diamondbacks

*Get your tickets now from TiqIQ.

 

You can ‘Like’ Marlin Maniac by clicking here. You can follow Marlin Maniac on Twitter @MarlinManiac and you can follow Ehsan Kassim on Twitter at @ehsank24.

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Tags: Anthony Rizzo Bret Jackson Carlos Marmol Carlos Zambrano Chicago Cubs Chris Volstad Emilio Bonifacio Gaby Sanchez Geovany Soto Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez Jeff Samardzija John Buck Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Josh Vitters Logan Morrison Mark Buehrle Matt Garza Miami Marlins Omar Infante Randy Wells Ricky Nolasco Ryan Dempster Starlin Castro Travis Wood Welington Castillo

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