May 4, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Steve Cishek (31) celebrates with catcher Brett Hayes (9) after a 9-8 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Pittsburgh Pirates (16-18) @ Miami Marlins (18-16) May 14-15 (Games 35 & 36)


Your Miami Marlins come into this game red hot, winners of 10 of their past 12 games. After their best road trip in franchise history, the Marlins returned home to take two out of three games against the New York Mets. Both those wins came in dramatic fashion, as the Marlins had their fourth and fifth walk-off hits in the short life of Marlins Park.

 

Giancarlo Stanton hit a huge walk-off grand-slam for the Marlins on Sunday, his seventh home run of the season. (Image: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

 

The Marlins will take their hot streak into another series at Marlins Park, this time against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are themselves coming off of an impressive walk-off win against the Houston Astros. The Pirates come into this series featuring the third best pitching staff, ERA wise, in baseball. The Marlins hitters are going to be in for a tough battle.

Pittsburgh Pirates (16-18) @ Miami Marlins (18-16), May 11, Game 32

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
ATL 22 13 .629
WSN 21 13 .618 .5
NYM 19 15 .559 2.5
MIA 18 16 .529 3.5
PHI 16 19 .457 6.0

Stadium: Marlins Park

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

Now we will take a look at the pitching match-up for the first game of the three game set:

Projected Pitching Matchup:

May 14: Brad Lincoln* vs. Anibal Sanchez

May 15: Kevin Correia vs. Josh Johnson

 

*Making his first start of the season

ZiPS In-Season Projections

FIP ERA Pirates Date Marlins ERA FIP
2.88 0.63 Lincoln May 7 Sanchez 2.01 2.21
5.01 3.47 Correia May 8 Johnson 5.87 2.79

 

Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Jose Reyes .301 .362 .362
2 Omar Infante .427 .305 .305
3 Hanley Ramirez .313 .355 .375
4 Logan Morrison .332 .380 .401
5 Giancarlo Stanton .354 .367 .337
6 Gaby Sanchez .249 .338 .366
7 Emilio Bonifacio .300 .307 .317
8 John Buck .305 .300 .321

 

Gaby Sanchez unsuccessfully tries to wash off the failure that has plagued Gaby Sanchez thus far in 2012. (Image: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE)

 

Series Notes:

  • The Marlins and Pirates will play a quick two-game series, before the Marlins head out to Atlanta, for another two-game series against the Atlanta Braves.
  • The Marlins have won eight straight against the Pirates, and will look to extend that streak on Monday night. The Marlins enter this game winners of 10 of their last 12 games.
  • Giancarlo Stanton went 7-f0r-13 against the Mets in the Marlins previous series, and has a hit in 14 of his last 15 games, he has seven home runs in that span as well.
  • The Marlins starting rotation now possesses a 3.16 ERA, which is currently the best in the majors. An amazing feat, when considering their best pitchers ERA is well north of 5.
  • The Pirates have scored 97 runs, which ranks last in baseball. The lack of offense has done little to help a pitching staff  that has posted a stellar 3.15 ERA.
  • Brad Lincoln will be making his first start of the 2012 season, filling in for the injured Erick Bedard. Lincoln currently owns the third best ERA among relievers.
  • The key for the Marlins this game will be to get Lincoln on a high pitch count right away, as he is likely not stretched out to go for a long outing.
  • Lincoln made 17 starts for the Bucs in 2010-11, which he possessed a 5.54 ERA in. Lincoln has pitched only a scoreless inning of relief against the Marlins, in his career.
  • On the flip side, the Marlins will send out their best pitcher of the young season, Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez continues to slip underneath the radar as one of the top arms in baseball.
  • Dating back to 2010, Sanchez has the eleventh best FIP in all of baseball, among starters with at least 300 innings pitched. Sanchez will look to lower that and his ERA below 2.00 with another strong start Monday.
  • Sanchez turned in perhaps his best performance of the season last Tuesday in Houston. Sanchez lasted seven innings for the Marlins, allowing no earned runs on five hits, along with just two walks and eight strikeouts. An Omar Infante error doomed Sanchez, as the Marlins fell 3-2.
  • Sanchez has gone seven innings in each of his last four starts. Sanchez is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh. His most recent look at them was one of his best outings in his major league career, as he tossed a one-hitter in which he struck out 11 while winning 3-0 on Sept. 10.
  • Kevin Corriea may remind Marlins fans of one of their own pitchers, Ricky Nolasco. Corriea has a tendency to look good in a start, before he has one inning in which he completely implodes in.
  • The Marlins have owned Corriea in the past, he has posted a career 6.59 ERA against the Fish in 42+ innings. The Marlins hope their hot offense can tee off of the right hander once again.
  • John Buck, Giancarlo Stanton, Austin Kearns, and Hanley Ramirez all have one home run against Corriea, while Ramirez and Jose Reyes own career .300+ batting averages off of Corriea.
  • The Marlins will counter with their improving ace. Johnson was able to go seven innings his last time out, against the Astros, striking out eight and only walking two.
  • Johnson hopes he can build on the success of that start and his career success against the Pirates. Johnson owns a 1.64 career ERA against the Pirates in 22 innings.
  • If the Marlins can get Josh Johnson going, their team and starting pitching becomes even better.
  • Gaby Sanchez continues to struggle, as Sanchez is not even flirting with the Mendoza line at this point, with a .194 batting average. You have to believe that the Marlins will try to give Gaby as many opportunities as they can to fix himself.
  • But with an inconsistent lineup, the Marlins may not have time to wait for Gaby to come around. A trip for Gaby to the minors is something that should not be ruled out.

 

Prediction:

The Miami Marlins will sweep the two-game series, their fifth straight series win, and their third series sweep in their past five series. The Marlins offense will have a big series, scoring on one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. The Marlins will score 15 runs in the two-game series. Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson will continue to give the Marlins solid starting pitching, as both will pitch 7+ innings in their respective starts. The Marlins will not send out Heath Bell this series, as Steve Cishek will pick up a save to win the Marlins the game on Monday night.

 

 

May 16-17: @Atlanta Braves

May 18-20: @Cleveland Indians

*May 21-23: Colorado Rockies*

*Get your tickets now from TiqIQ.*

 

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Tags: Anibal Sanchez Austin Kearns Brad Lincoln Emilio Bonifacio Gaby Sanchez Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez Heath Bell Houston Astros John Buck Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Kevin Correia Logan Morrison Miami Marlins New York Mets Omar Infante Pittsburgh Pirates Ricky Nolasco Steve Cishek