July 2, 2012: Milwaukee, WI, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Justin Ruggiano (20) high fives teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins (38-42) at Milwaukee Brewers (38-42), Jul 4, 4:10 PM EDT (Game 81)


We enter the half-way point of the season today, and boy what a frustrating first half it has been. The last two losses have been a microcosm of what the Marlins have gone through this entire season. In the first game, the Marlins found themselves up by three runs before the bullpen blew a late-inning lead and the Brewers took the game 6-5. The teams defense, especially Hanley Ramirez‘s, cost the Marlins this game.

The second game saw the Marlins fight down a huge lead, and take the lead in the top of the 10th. The Marlins were just one out away, when Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run walk-off home run to secure the Brewers with at least a series split. That loss had to be the most demoralizing loss of the season.

Today, the Marlins will try to bounce back and pull out a victory. The Marlins will have their ace, Josh Johnson on the mound, against a struggling starter in Randy Wolf. This game almost feels like a must win game for the Marlins, although most people will tell you there is no such thing in July.

 

Josh Johnson will try to end the Marlins two-game slide, when he takes the mound on the Fourth of July. (Image: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

 

East W L PCT GB L10 STRK HOME ROAD LAST GAME NEXT GAME
Washington 46 32 .590 - 6-4 W2 21-14 25-18 7/3 vs SF, W 9-3 7/4 vs SF, 11:05 AM
NY Mets 44 37 .543 3.5 5-5 W1 24-17 20-20 7/3 vs PHI, W 11-1 7/4 vs PHI, 1:10 PM
Atlanta 42 38 .525 5.0 4-6 W1 19-21 23-17 7/3 vs CHC, W 10-3 7/4 vs CHC, 7:10 PM
Miami 38 42 .475 9.0 5-5 L2 22-22 16-20 7/3 @ MIL, L 12-13 7/4 @ MIL, 4:10 PM
Philadelphia 36 46 .439 12.0 2-8 L6 17-24 19-22 7/3 @ NYM, L 1-11 7/4 @ NYM, 1:10 PM

 

Miller Park

Five-year Run PF*: 0.99
Five-year HR PF*: 1.02
Stadium Dimensions:
Left field line—342 ft.
Left-center field—374 ft.
Center field—400 ft.
Right-center field—378 ft.
Right field line—356 ft.

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Probable Starters


Josh Johnson, RHP
2012 stats
97.0 Innings Pitched 90.1
5-5 Wins-Losses 2-6
3.80 Earned Run Average 5.78
3.02 FIP 4.53
31 Walks 31
83 Strikeouts 58
Career vs. opponent
32.1 Innings Pitched 114.1
3-0 Wins-Losses 4-12
3.06 Earned Run Average 5.98

Randy Wolf, LHP

 

Josh Johnson has strung together two excellent starts in a row, in which he has struck out 13 hitters, while just walking just three batters in the last 13 innings. These numbers are encouraging for Fish fans, as there was a lot of cause for concern earlier in the season. While he has been pitching better, velocity is still a little bit of a concern; after having two starts in June in which he posted an average 94 mph with his fastball, Johnson has re-settled down to the 92 mph. This loss of velocity was concerning to begin the season, but it seems as if JJ has now learned how to pitch with his lower velocity, mixing in more pitches. Hopefully this is a trend going forward. Johnson enters Wednesday’s start with a 1.87 ERA in his last five outing and has posted six consecutive quality starts. Johnson has decent numbers in his career against the Brew Crew, as Ryan Braun is just 3-for-10 with three strikeouts and no homers in his career against Johnson.

Going for the Brewers will be Randy Wolf, which should really excite a Marlins team that is coming off of a 12 run performance, albeit in a loss. In his past three starts, Wolf owns a 9.19 ERA, but he is still not in any real jeopardy of losing his rotation spot. Against the Marlins is 4-12 with a 5.98 in 21 starts. The Marlins faced him plenty of times when he was a Philadelphia Phillie, but he has only faced the Marlins twice since 2006. Jose Reyes is 12-for-41 in his career against Wolf. Look for him to give the Marlins an early spark.

 

Marlins Projected Lineup

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA vs LHP Career BA vs Wolf
1 Jose Reyes
.326 .349 .333
2 Donovon Solano .399 .291
3 Hanley Ramirez
.339 .366 .000
4 Justin Ruggiano
.501 .332
5 Omar Infante
.332 .323 .000
6 Austin Kearns
.354 .330
7 Gaby Sanchez
.231 .340 .333
8 Brett Hayes
.219 .272

 

This is how misleading stats can be at times, according to the Marlins current wOBA’s, this has been the Marlins most productive lineup this season. But if you look at the projections forward, there is no way most of these hitters can sustain hitting as well as they have. But then again, some of these hitters can probably not sustain hitting as bad as they have so far. Something will have to give.

Austin Kearns is making the start in right field in place of Giancarlo Stanton, who will miss his second game in a row with some knee soreness. Donovon Solano is in the lineup again, after taking Hanley Ramirez’s spot yesterday. Hanley returns to the lineup after missing the game because of knee soreness. Solano will start in place of Logan Morrison. John Buck will also get the day off, after playing a hot day game yesterday, it is probably a well deserved off day.

Designated for assignment by Tampa Bay in the offseason, Ruggiano is batting .403 since the Marlins got him from Houston on May 26, as he has been the Marlins most consistent bat since then.

 

 

Prediction:

The Marlins will come out with a strong sense of urgency after blowing two-straight games in which they held a lead late. The Marlins will bounce on Wolf early and often. Hanley Ramirez will have a monster game, as he returns from injury. Josh Johnson will dominate the Brewers hitters the way he has been for the most part of his career. The Marlins will win in a blowout, that will not require Marlins fans to squirm and see the bullpen enter the game. The Marlins will win this ballgame, 11-0.

 

Hope everyone has a great Fourth of July and stays safe!

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Tags: Aramis Ramirez Austin Kearns Brett Hayes Gaby Sanchez Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez John Buck Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Justin Ruggiano Logan Morrison Miami Marlins Milwaukee Brewers Omar Infante Philadelphia Phillies Randy Wolf Ryan Braun

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