The Miami Marlins return home after struggling through a long and cold six game road trip. Temperatures were for the most part in the 40′s in Cincinnati, where the Marlins dropped three of four. The coldness the team faced in Cinci was nothing compared to what the team had to face while in Minnesota.
Monday’s game was postponed due to a snowstorm and the Twins and Marlins played a double header on Tuesday. After dropping the first game, the Marlins offense came to life and the Marlins split the double header and series with the Twins.
Jose Fernandez got his first opportunity to see and play in snow on Monday. Although the team went just 2-4 on the road trip, it was good to see that the losing has not brought down the team chemistry and the fun the team can have, as was pointed out on Fishstripes.
The Marlins will welcome the last place Chicago Cubs to Miami to open up a four game series. With both teams struggling early in the season, it will be interesting to see if either team can get anything going and turn their seasons around.
Chicago Cubs (6-14) @ Miami Marlins (5-16) , April 25-28, Games 21-24
NL East Standings
Stadium: Marlins Park
Five-year Run PF*: N/A
Five-year HR PF*: N/A
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
2013 Season Statistics
The former Washington National will get the ball in the first game for the Cubs. Jackson was a key free agent signee for the Cubs this past offseason. The Marlins have always hit Jackson well, as he owns a career 6.69 ERA in over 37 innings against the Fish. Miguel Olivo is 4-for-7 in his career off of Jackson with a home run. Jackson allowed five runs last time out, but four of those were unearned, as the Cubs made three errors behind him. Although he owns a 5.19 ERA in his past two starts, he has struck out 19 hitters in 17.1 innings.
Kevin Slowey will get the ball for the Fish to oppose Jackson. Slowey has only allowed one earned run in three of his firs four starts of the season and only two runs in the other. Slowey has not received much run support from his hitters, leaving him winless, despite having four good starts. Slowey has only one career start against the Cubs. In that game in 2009, he struck out 10 hitters in six innings of work. David DeJesus has a career .333 average in 18 at bats against Slowey in his career.
Scott Feldman will make his first career start against the Miami Marlins on Friday night. He has made three starts this season and has not pitched too well. His longest outing was his last time out against the Brewers, when a key error he made led to the Brewers victory. Feldman has walked 10 hitters and allowed 15 hits in his 14 innings of work this season. Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco are the only Marlins that have seen former Texas Ranger multiple times in their careers.
LeBlanc has allowed nine runs on 16 hits in just 7 2/3 innings in his past two starts. LeBlanc has been a bit unlucky, as hitters have a .397 BABIP off of LeBlanc in the early going. LeBlanc has struck out 16 hitters in his 18 innings of work this season and should see his luck improve if he can continue to keep up his impressive strikeout rate. His 3.98 FIP is a better indicator of how he has pitched early on in the season.
Wood, the former Red, will get the start for the third game of the series. The left hander has a quality start in each of his first four starts of the season and did quite well in his last start. Wood held the Reds offense scoreless on just two hit two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, while striking out five Reds hitters. On the season, Wood has 18 strikeouts in 26 innings and allowed just 17 hits. He has walked at least two hitters in each of his four starts.
Alex Sanabia allowed just two runs over his first six innings in his last start before the Reds offense imploded on him in the seventh inning, when he loaded the bases with nobody out. Sanabia has actually pitched worse than his 5.09 ERA indicates, as he has not pitched too many clean innings this season. His WHIP of 1.74 is telling of his struggles to keep runners off the bases. If continues to allow too many base runners, major league offenses will eventually cash in, as the Reds did in the seventh.
Villanueva will pitch the finale for the Cubs. Villanueva gave up two runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 8.1 innings against the Red in his last start on Tuesday. Villanueva has an impressive 1.53 ERA for the Cubs early on, but his FIP of 4.07 suggests regression should be on the way for Carlos, as he has a 100% rate of stranding runners on base and a BABIP of just .164 off of him. The Marlins hope regression can strike Villanueva in his start against the Marlins.
Nolasco enjoyed a strong start his last time out, considering the circumstances. Nolasco was none to pleased with the Marlins decision to inform him just hours before the first game of the double header that the team had decided to flip his start to the second game. Nolasco still went out and pitched an effective five innings, allowing just two earned runs in five innings, striking out four hitters. The former Cub prospect owns a career 2.85 ERA in 47 1/3 innings against his former organization. Star shortstop Starlin Castro owns a career .417 career batting average off of Nolasco.
Be sure to check out my chat with Joe Han a little later on here to further preview this series. We will also have a game preview post for the game up before first pitch with the starting lineup for the Miami Marlins and any extra analysis.
April 29 to May 1: vs. New York Mets
May 2 to May 5: @ Philadelphia Phillies
May 6 to May 8: @ San Diego Padres