With the Miami Marlins coming off a series win against the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, they continue west to visit the Arizona Diamondbacks for a 3-game series starting Monday night. Arizona is currently last in the National League West with a 37-53 record, 13.5 games behind the West leading Dodgers. The D-backs are returning from home after dropping 2 of 3 to the Atlanta Braves.
Arizona has an average offense, led by their lone all-star representative Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt leads the team in virtually every offensive category including batting average, home runs, RBI’s, runs, and OPS. No one else in the lineup can really scare you, with the exception of Mark Trumbo, but he is currently on the disabled list.
Even with a lack of star power in the lineup, hitting has not been the cause of Arizona’s slow start to the 2014 season. For that reason, we look no further than the pitching. The D-backs currently sport a 4.35 team ERA, good for 26th overall, and have amassed only 35 quality starts on the season, good for 29th in the major leagues. Various other statistics have them ranked in the bottom 3rd among all teams. As a matter of fact, Josh Collmenter has the lowest ERA on the team that qualifies for that category, and he is barely below 4 with a 3.98. Addison Reed, the closer acquired from the Chicago White Sox this offseason, has saved 20 games on the season, but struggled recently.
Chase Anderson will pitch the first game of the series for Arizona. Anderson started the season with 5 consecutive wins and has followed that with 4 consecutive losses. Even so, Miami will have their hands full with him as he has allowed 2 runs or fewer in 5 of his last 7 games. Newly acquired Vidal Nuno will pitch the second game. Nuno was acquired from the New York Yankees in the deal that sent Brandon McCarthy to the Bronx. Nuno most recently gave up 4 runs in 5 innings in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Finally, the aforementioned Collmenter will finish the series after allowing 5 runs in 6 innings against the Braves in Atlanta.
With only 2 series remaining before the all-star break, Miami will look to gain some momentum by sending out Tom Koehler, Brad Hand, and Nathan Eovaldi. Koehler recently celebrated the birth of his son with a 3-hit, 6-inning shutout performance against the Philadelphia Phillies. Hand, making his second start since being recalled from the disabled list, went 5 innings and gave up 3 runs on July 3rd to the Phils. Eovaldi will take the bump for the finale, trying to stop the bleeding after allowing 19 runs in his last 5 starts. His most recent outing was July 4th against the Cardinals where he gave up 3 runs in 6 innings.
Miami currently sits with a 43-45 record, 6 games behind the Braves in the N.L. East and 5.5 games out of a wild card berth. A reasonable goal for the Fish would be to reach the .500 mark by the all-star break, certainly surpassing pre season expectations for this young team. For that to happen, Miami will need to take 2 of 3 from Arizona, a definite possibility when looking at the pitching matchups.