The Marlins take the field Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies looking to halt a 4-game skid. They will send their ace, Jose Fernandez, to the hill looking to set the tone early. Fernandez has been brilliant so far this season, and there is little reason to think that tonight wouldn’t be much of the same.
The Phillies will send former Marlin A.J. Burnett to the mound. Burnett was a Marlin from 1998-2005 and was on the 2003 World Championship team. Burnett almost retired this past year, but was convinced otherwise by the Phillies. He had a rough first outing that might make him question that decision. The 16-year veteran will get an up close look at the future of pitching in baseball in his counterpart, Fernandez.
After being swept by the Washington Nationals, the Marlins sit in third place in the N.L. East, 2.5 games behind the Nats and a half game behind the Braves. The Phillies are coming off a sweep themselves, their’s courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers.
One thing to keep an eye on is the weather for this evening in Philadelphia. There is a significant chance of rain, which is always a concern when you have your ace on the mound. It will be interesting to see how the inclement weather may play a part in the storyline for tonight.
|Christian Yelich - LF||Tony Gwynn Jr. - CF|
|Marcell Ozuna - CF||Jimmy Rollins - SS|
|Giancarlo Stanton - RF||Chase Utley - 2B|
|Garrett Jones - 1B||Ryan Howard - 1B|
|Casey McGehee - 3B||Marlon Byrd - RF|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C||Dominic Brown - LF|
|Derek Dietrich - 2B||Carlos Ruiz - C|
|Adeiny Hechavarria - SS||Cody Asche - 3B|
|Jose Fernandez - P||A.J. Burnett - P|
The only change in the starting lineup for the fish is the second spot. Marcell Ozuna has been moved up to hit behind Yelich and Dietrich has been dropped back to the seventh hole. Ozuna has been swinging a hot bat lately and that likely contributed to manager Mike Redmond‘s decision to make the switch. I personally don’t think it is a wise move. Ozuna doesn’t have the plate discipline to move runners and other things that you like for your second batter to contribute. One positive is that hitting in front of Stanton, Ozuna may get more fastballs to hit, and he loves his fastballs.
The Marlins desperately need a game where things go right for them. The whole series against the Nationals was filled with bizarre plays and mistakes that a winning team can’t make. I believe Fernandez is going to go out and put this team on his shoulders. The Marlins play different when he is on the mound, and they will jump on Burnett early. I like Garrett Jones to get his first home run of the year tonight, and look for this one to be a comfortable Marlins win, 8-1.