Although the schedule called for two games to be played in Minnesota, the late season snow forced the third reschedule of the season for the Twins. Instead, we have a split doubleheader today, with games at 2:10 and 8:10 (ET).
The matinee features Ricky Nolasco against Kevin Correia, and the main event is between Jose Fernandez and Mike Pelfrey. Despite being winless on the season, Nolasco brings a 3.85 ERA to the field, with the winless record due to slow offense rather than poor pitching. About the same can be said for Fernandez, except that the 20-year-old has an ERA of 3.60.
Correia is a workhorse, with all three of his starts this year going seven innings, and yielding three or fewer runs. Pelfrey is the opposite, with his last two starts contributing to his 7.30 ERA. Juan Pierre is 8/19 (.421) against Correia and Stanton is 8/17 (.471) against the former Met, Pelfrey. Opportunities abound.
Since the Marlins are crossing the league boundary for the day, they will abandon the game of baseball and play a modified game in which some of the players are exempted from half of their duties in favor of another player who picks up their slack. Preliminary indicators are that Greg Dobbs will be the mollycoddler for the pitching staff, assuming he recovers from the creeping awfuls that have kept him under the weather since Sunday.
Of late, the Marlins’ offense has shown some signs of life, including Giancarlo Stanton finally tallying an RBI. Rob Brantly’s bat is improving, as is that of his erstwhile backup, part-time first baseman Miguel Olivo. Two days ago, the Marlins plated six runs, including a wild four-run ninth inning.
As it was last year, the One Big Thing the Marlins need to work on is timely hitting. Team RISP and LOB stats are dismal for the second straight season. Our pitching staff is doing the heavy lifting right now, keeping opponents from scoring (for the most part). However, without offensive production that takes advantage of the opportunities, we will continue to languish near the bottom of the baseball heap. Scoring two or fewer runs in 13 of the 19 games is not enough to cut it in the bigs.
Even Mendoza got sent down.
Update: At 11:22 this morning, @JoeFrisario tweeted that Nolasco and Fernandez have switched games.