Mar 26, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day 2013 Preview: Miami Marlins (0-0) @ Washington Nationals (0-0) April 1, 1 PM EST

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Opening Day 2013 is finally here for the Miami Marlins. It sure does have a different feel than Opening Day 2012 for Marlins fans. Just last season, the Marlins had a grand ceremony featuring Muhammad Ali. The team unveiled its brand new stadium, brand new free agent signings, and brand new manager.

Just 12 months later, gone is all the excitement surrounding the Marlins. Gone are the free agents, gone is the loud mouth manager. Unfortunately, something that is not gone yet is owner Jeffery Loria.

Good news for Marlins fans: the new stadium and Giancarlo Stanton are still in Miami. Fans will also get a glimpse into the future, as top overall prospect Jose Fernandez has made the Opening Day roster.

Going to have a single game preview for this game, since it is Opening Day. Will post a full preview for the remaining two games of the series sometime on Tuesday.

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win% GB
PHI 0 0
WSN 0 0
NYM 0 0
ATL 0 0
MIA 0 0

 

Opening Day 2013: Miami Marlins (0-0) @ Washington Nationals (0-0), April 1st Game #1

Stadium: Nationals Park

Five-year Run PF*: 1.00

Five-year HR PF*: .99

Stadium Dimensions:

Left field line—337 ft.
Left-center field—377 ft.
Center field—402 ft.
Right-center field—370 ft.
Right field line—335 ft.

*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 1st: Ricky Nolasco vs. Stephen Strasburg

ZiPS In-Season Projections

Proj. FIP Proj. ERA Marlins Date Mets Proj. ERA Proj. FIP
3.81 4.35 Nolasco April 4 Strasburg 2.69 2.51

The Nationals have a clear upper hand in the pitching matchup. Strasburg is an elite level ace, who when healthy has been among the best pitchers in all of baseball. He owns a career 2.94 ERA and a 2.47 FIP. Strasburg pitched 159.1 innings last season, before being shutdown by the Nationals. The shutdown was to limit his innings coming off of Tommy John Surgery. Strasburg racked up 197 strikeouts in less than 160 innings and has had a strong spring.

The Marlins will counter with Nolasco. Nolasco enters what is likely to be his final season as a Marlin as the all-time wins leader. Nolasco has notoriously pitched well below his peripherals in each of the past few seasons, since 2008. He posted a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts last season, pitching 191 innings.

 

Projected Lineup against Strasburg

Lineup Player Current wOBA Proj. wOBA Proj. OBP
1 Juan Pierre .299 .333
2 Chris Coghlan .305 .325
3 Giancarlo Stanton .407 .369
4 Placido Polanco .286 .317
5 Rob Brantly .297 .307
6 Donovan Solano .282 .303
7 Casey Kotchman .313 .330
8 Adeiny Hechavarria .281 .292

The Marlins lineup is hardly anything imposing. Pierre and Coghlan hope to bring their hot starts from the spring into the season. They will be the table setters for the all-powerful Stanton. If one or both can get on in front of Stanton, the Marlins will have a much better chance of pulling off the upset over the Nationals.

The rest of the lineup is nothing special either. When Polanco is your cleanup hitter, you know your team will face offensive struggles. Solano, Brantly, and Hechavarria all have wOBA’s below .300 projected for the season. Kotchman offers the most upside out of any hitter not named Stanton in this lineup.

Prediction:
The Miami Marlins will strike with an early run against Strasburg in the first inning, when Stanton lines a run scoring double. After the first inning, Strasburg will become his dominant self and shut the Marlins lineup down. On the other hand, Nolasco will have a rough evening, as Bryce Harper will lead the Nationals past the Marlins, 6-1.

 

Leave your predictions for the game in the comments and be sure to check out my interview with Michael Natelli from All Over the Hill later on today.

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