The Miami Marlins are off to a 2-5 start and their manager, Ozzie Guillen, is already in hot water. He will continue to serve his 5-game suspension by missing the entire series vs the Houston Astros. The Marlins and Astros are both coming off of series losses. The Astros lost two out of three to the Atlanta Braves and the Marlins to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Houston Astros (3-3) @ Miami Marlins (2-5), April 13-15, Games 8-10
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
Projected Pitching Matchups
ZiPS In-Season Projections
|Proj. FIP||Win%||Marlins||Date||Mets||Win%||Proj. FIP|
As we have done with all our other series previews so far, here is a look at the questions that Greg Thurston of Fansided’s Climbing Tal’s Hill answered for me on the Astros.
Ehsan: What does the move to the American League mean to the Astros? Is there a whole new plan for building this team?
Greg: It means the Astros will be playing lots of games against teams they aren’t used to playing in stadiums they aren’t used to playing in. Add in the DH rule and I think the Astros growing pains will be extended for a little while longer. The new plan for rebuilding was put in place when Jim Crane took over and brought in Jeff Luhnow as the team’s new General Manager. Luhnow brings a new way of thinking to the organization and is committed to rebuilding a gutted farm system.
Ehsan: The Houston Astros are currently stuck with the large contract of Carlos Lee. Do you believe that the Astros will be able to find a sucker team to take on his contract?
Greg: I think it’s about a 50/50 proposition. Lee appears to have avoided the slow start that has plagued him for the past two seasons and his trade value could go up. Luhnow will probably aggressively shop Lee along with Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers at the deadline and see what the market will bear. Lee has actually played a lot better than some people give him credit for. I mean it’s not like he’s Jason Bay, or even Vernon Wells.
Ehsan: I read the article on your website about Mills’ usage of the bullpen. Is that a major problem for the Astros going forward or is it something he is just weak with right now?
Greg: I’m not a big fan of Mills. He seems to repeat the same mistakes with his bullpen choices again and again. I’m not so sure Mills is the right man for the job but the new regime wants to give him a chance and see how it goes. I think the feeling is that he hasn’t had much to work with and Luhnow and company will evaluate his performance for a while before making a decision on his future.Mills will probably make it through the 2012 season but beyond that it’s anybody’s guess.
Ehsan: Do you see the Astros as the last place team in the NL Central or do you see them causing a lot more damage than people are expecting?
Greg: This team certainly has quite a few holes and it will be tough for them to compete day in and day out. However, the Chicago Cubs are in pretty bad shape as well and I expect these two teams to battle it out for fifth place all season. I think the Astros might be able to outplay the Cubs and avoid another last place finish.
The questions that Greg asked, and their corresponding answers, will be here. To see the questions and responses I had to his four-pack of interrogations, you’ll need to check out ClimbingTalshill.com.
- The Marlins are home for the first time since taking on the St. Louis Cardinals for the one game quick opener for the stadium.
- This will mark the first home game since Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro went public.
- The Marlins need to have their pitching, as well as their hitting bounce back this series.
- Ricky Nolasco gets his second start of the season. He pitched a dominating game against the Cincinnati Reds, going eight solid innings.
- Nolasco will be opposed by Lucas Harrell, who went seven shutout innings in his first start of the season against the Colorado Rockies.
- This game is not locally televised in South Florida, but if you have MLB Network, you are in luck! MLB Network will be showing this game.
- The second game features Bud Norris vs. Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano will need to be at the top of his game. Norris is a pretty good pitcher and he could give the Marlins problems.
- The key for Zambrano will be to limit the walks and keep the ball in the ballpark. Zambrano was set to pick up the victory last time out, but Heath Bell blew the save.
- The final game features an old nemisis for the Marlins, J.A. Happ. You may remember him from his time with the Phillies.
- He will square off with Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez beat Cole Hamels his last time out and looks to continue his strong 2012 start against the Astros.
The Marlins pick up a much needed sweep of the Astros and climb back to .500 at 5-5.
April 17-19: Chicago Cubs*
April 20-22: @Washington Nationals
April 24-26: @New York Mets
*Get your tickets now from TiqIQ.