The All-Star Break is Behind Us. Let’s Get Back to Work


The National League did their thing, and delivered a drubbing to the hated AL in a way that I sincerely hope sets the tone for the next 40 or so years.  The Marlins’ sole elected contributor got sidelined by “loose bodies” in his knee, DL’ing him for 4-6 weeks.

To get the season back on track, the Marlins are hosting the high-flying Nationals for a 3-game set starting tomorrow night (Friday the 13th!). At three games under .500, the easy money gets put on the first place, 49-34 Nationals.  The Marlins are down a stud hitter with Giancarlo Stanton’s knee issue. Emilio Bonifacio is still out from a thumb injury, but he’s finished his rehab assignment and is due back any day.  Heath Bell, I’m sad to say, looks like a golfer with the yips.  Until the closer situation is resolved, there remains a big question on the hill.  Possible options are Steve Cishek and Juan Oviedo (available soon).  The bottom line still puts the Nationals as heavy favorites.

The first game pits Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 2.61 ERA) against Josh Johnson (5-5, 4.06 ERA).  Not to belabor a point, but unless our hitters continue to deliver offense, the Marlins’ biggest risk of loss will come from the late innings.

On Saturday, Gio Gonzalez faces Mark Buehrle.  This game should be one of the better pitching matchups of the year.  Sunday’s game has Stephen Strasburg lining up against Ricky Nolasco.  The nod has to go to Strasburg in this game, despite Nolasco’s better-than-average year.

Prediction:  I don’t see the Marlins winning in this series.  The Nationals are getting healthier as the season progresses, and their top players are having banner years.  Despite the addition of Carlos Lee, the loss of Stanton in the lineup will prove to be a major factor in this series, as will the uncertainty in the bullpen.