Headed Home; Changing Planes in Houston

Are the Fish Juiced Enough to Take Three More at MinuteMaid Park?

 

May 6, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (left) slides safely into home ahead of the tag by San Diego Padres relief pitcher (Image: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE)

After a dreary, dismal April, the Marlins of early May (14-14, .500) are looking better in a number of key areas, but still need improvement to be competitive in one of baseball’s toughest divisions. Fresh off of a 6-win tour of California, the Marlins have a three-game layover in Houston on their way back to Miami. The Astros (13-15, .464) just had a five-game winning streak snapped by a 1-8 loss to the Cardinals.

 

Here are the probable match-ups for the series:

And here are some team stats, courtesy of Fangraphs.com:

Pitching

Team

W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Marlins

14

14

5

108

28

253.1

6.89

3.13

0.6

0.288

74.00%

48.70%

7.00%

3.38

3.42

3.86

4

Astros

13

15

7

115

28

247.1

6.88

3.17

1.06

0.287

73.60%

47.30%

11.10%

3.86

4.05

3.96

1.8

Batting
Team G PA H HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
Astros

322

1089

254

21

132

126

23

9.30%

18.60%

0.128

0.313

0.263

0.336

0.392

0.323

103

1.7

-5

5.5

Marlins

311

1054

218

23

100

92

33

8.90%

19.80%

0.138

0.272

0.231

0.302

0.369

0.299

85

-8.6

-1.7

2.3

 

May 4, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) is taken out of the game after giving up six runs during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Image: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE)

The pitching stats show a near dead heat between the two teams, with the notable difference being the Astros’ willingness to give up the long ball. I’d give the advantage to the Marlins in pitching, unless J.J. has another outing like his last.

Batting?  The stats tell another story, but it’s one that is overshadowed by the dismal April numbers.  It looks like we can see the ball again.  I’m tempted to call it a wash, but I think I’ll give a slight edge to the Astros on this. If our hitting over the last six games is the real deal, then I can see us heading home with nine straight.

Once again, it comes down to the bullpen. Sad to say, but the advantage goes to the Astros here, too. Our bullpen has been dismal, with the notable exception of Steve Cishek. Hats off to him, and let’s hope he continues to display those bewildering sliders and curveballs that have so effectively shut down our opponents’ bats.

May 4, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Steve Cishek (31) celebrates with catcher

There is another factor that I think will enter this series, and that is the Astros’ difficulty defending against stolen bases.  Neither of their catchers has an enviable record, and four of our starting lineup (five, if you count Gaby Sanchez after last night!) are credible stealing threats. We’ve also been showing much better plate discipline. Either way, we need to get Reyes, Bonifacio, and Ramirez on base as often as possible.

Predictions:  I think the Marlins will win the first two of the series, one by a comfortable margin; the other will be a squeaker.  The third game will go to the Astros, just because of the look on Josh Johnson’s face when he sat down after 2 1/3 innings on Friday Night. I fear he might have the yips, and our bullpen just isn’t strong enough to carry the day again.

Topics: Aneury Rodriguez, Anibal Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano, Gaby Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Lucas Harrell, Steve Cishek, Wandy Rodriguez

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