After starting their last home stand at 1-4, the Marlins were able to win four consecutive games to salvage the home-stand with a winning record. The Marlins four-game winning streak puts them just two games below .500. The Marlins will take on the Milwaukee Brewers in a four game series at Miller Park next.
This series will feature a couple of teams that have very high expectations, but are both sitting in the fourth spot in their divisions. The Brewers trail the Cincinnati Reds by 7 games and the Marlins trail the Washington Nationals by 7.5 games. This is a series that should not be discounted by Marlins fans. The Brewers are a strong team, and should still be a viable threat for one of the two wild card spots.
Unfortunately, the Brewers will not be trading Zach Greinke before the first game of the series, so the Marlins will indeed have to try and beat the Brewers ace.
To preview the series, I had an email chat with Colin Bennett, the editor of Reviewing the Brew. Reviewing the Brew is the Milwaukee Brewers Fansided Page. Colin and his staff do a phenomenal job over there, so please do drop by and wish our opponents the best of luck.
Without any further ado, here is a look at the chat I had with Colin:
Ehsan Kassim: With Ryan Braun posting another MVP-type season, is it time to get him another steroid test? I believe that will put all this “he uses” steroids crap talk to an end.
Colin Bennett: I believe you’re right, and I also believe he probably HAS been tested since the season began. Of course, this time, the anonymity process probably worked. I had some significant doubts that he was clean, to be honest, and I have to take the arbitrators at their words, and the fact that countless Major Leaguers have gone to bat – excuse the pun – for Braun and his character. In the end, it doesn’t matter HOW MANY tests the guy takes, he’s always going to have that stigma attached. It’s a shame, because he’s a true talent.
EK: How likely is it that the Brewers trade Zach Grienke? What kind of return are the Brewers going to be looking for? Any way that the Brewers can trade him before the first game of the series?
CB: Here’s the thing about Greinke, and it came from an especially prescient point my father made. Greinke, you have to assume, is going to get you 20 wins this season. Any deal that does not guarantee, and I mean guarantee, more production than that should be considered frivolous. The Brewers have a chance at the division still this year – if you can believe that or not – and there’s no reason to throw that, and a top tier pitcher to boot, out the window for prospects. As for your second question, I think we’re both stuck with him this series for better and for worse lol.
EK: Nyjer Morgan is hated by the Marlins, if not most of baseball. What was his latest goof that has everyone riled up?
CB: This (http://reviewingthebrew.com/
EK: Can you pinpoint the problem for the Brewers this season? They obviously have the talent in Milwaukee, but what is currently missing? Has the loss of Prince Fielder impacted the team?
CB: The loss of Prince Fielder isn’t as bad as the loss of Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins, if you can believe it. Milwaukee has a real lack of dependable bullpen help this year – with or without Prince, this would have been an issue. Couple that with the fact that Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are striking out more than nearly everyone in the National League and you have a major problem on your hands. It’s hard to pinpoint where the issues are outside of the bullpen – we can use the injury card as much as we want, but how long can that trolley ride?
EK: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers that the Marlins will be facing this series? Which pitching matchup are you looking forward to?
CB: The first game is probably going to be my favorite one – Greinke vs. Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano has been known to deal some damage out to the Crew, fanning nearly 200 Milwaukee batters over his career. But for as much as he can dominate Milwaukee, he has been known to get edged out early if hitters can get after him. It will be interesting to see which Zambrano shows up, because I think we all know which Greinke will be there.
The second game will be interesting to watch I think. Estrada is a guy who can go deep into a game and pitch well throughout, but he hasn’t got a whole lot of run support (SPOILER ALERT: no one on Milwaukee has). In his last start against Cincinnati he struck out a career-high 12 batters, so we’ll see if that momentum can continue – this on is anyone’s ballgame in my opinion.
If the Marlins are sure to pull one out on Milwaukee, your best chance is against Randy Wolf. The man hasn’t had a win since late April. A lot of that was bad luck, as he pitched really well in several series since that time. He’s been having trouble locating his breaking stuff lately, and he’s a real finicky pitcher in terms of selection. Of all the Brewers pitchers, Wolf is probably the easiest to run earlier if you can attack him early. On the flipside, Josh Johnson still scares me despite his record, and he has had some good performances against in the past. This is the game I’m most concerned about.
In the series finale, I think everyone is in for a fun ride. I always like seeing Buehrle pitch, and he’s turned it on of late so he might be more apt to take on a sluggish Brewers line-up. Mike Fiers, however, has been as good a rookie pitcher as I’ve seen in a while. He pitches without fear on the mound, and can go deep into games without losing effectiveness. He doesn’t have lights-out stuff, but he locates well and works great with his catchers. I think even though you are obviously bias, once you see this kid pitch you’ll want to root for him. He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite in Milwaukee and we are lucky to have him, considering our pitching situation this year.
EK: What are your predictions for this series? Who will have a big series for the Brewers?
CB: I think it’s going to be a split series – but it depends if the run support shows up during the middle two games. This series could just as easily be three games either way, however, I think Milwaukee just needs the series more. Call it homerism, but I think that’s going to factor in. Not to mention the fact that the Brewers have started to turn things around at home now, and Miller Park is a dangerous place to play when the fans get into it.
I think there’s a few Brewers you need to watch out for – John Axford has had another sluggish start, but it was around this time last year that he flipped the switch and really got dominant. In yesterday’s game he was nearly unhittable, and I think I see him extending his good performances into a save or two this series.
Keep an eye on the Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki as well. He’s hitting .375 in his last seven games, and has been knocking on the door of .300 all season. He’s primarily a slap hitter with great speed (in the last game against Arizona he legged out a grounder to second base). He can get you for power as well, and really makes opportunities for Braun and Ramirez. Also, if Carlos Gomez runs on you – just hold the throw, it’s for you own good.
EK: Bonus- How many home runs will Giancarlo Stanton hit this series? How excited are you see in him in the home run derby? Will Braun be there?
CB: I would have loved to see Braun in the derby, but alas, it was not to be. He’s got a natural power swing that’s very fun to watch. As for your boy, Giancarlo Stanton, it’s not out of the question that we see 40 homers out of him by the end of the year, especially if he keeps on this tear he’s on now. I think he’s liable to sneak at least one out of the park against the Brewers, maybe more depending on which bullpen shows up – the bad one or the horrible one. But either way, he’s been impressive. Five homers in his last 10 games? That’s video game stuff, if you’re playing rookie level or using cheat codes. He’s seeing the ball great now, we can only hope opposing pitchers actually pitch to him from here on out so we can keep watching the show.
A big thank you to Colin for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Brewers fans the best of luck in the upcoming series.
Tags: Carlos Gomez Carlos Zambrano Corey Hart Giancarlo Stanton John Axford Josh Johnson LaTroy Hawkins Miami Marlins Milwaukee Brewers Noichika Aoki Nyjer Morgan Prince Fielder Randy Wolf Rickie Weeks Ryan Braun Takashi Saito Zach Greinke