Arizona Diamondbacks @ Miami Marlins Series Preview: Heath Bell is the Closer, Run For Your Lives


Apr. 28, 2013; Phoenix AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks batter Cody Ross (7) singled to center in the fifth inning against Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports Images

The Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks will kick off a three game series later today in Miami.

To preview the series between the second place Diamondbacks and the last place Marlins, I had an email chat with Tom Lynch, a staff writer on Venom Strikes, the Fansided D-Backs site. Venom Strikes has to be one of the cooler names out there for any sports site and they also do a great job of covering everything Diamondbacks-related.

Tom and I chatted about everything from the the questionable decison to trade their superstar Justin Upton to the impact of former Marlin fan favorite, Cody Ross.

Without any further ado, here is my chat with John:

May 9, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) stands on the on-deck circle during the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT

Ehsan Kassim: What were your thoughts on the Justin Upton trade initially and what are your thoughts on it today?

Tom Lynch: I thought the trade was lousy then and I still think it is lousy.  I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a 25 year old star who seemingly didn’t cause any trouble with no worries about free agency is no longer with the team.  Nothing against Martin Prado who will be just fine and has been great with his versatility but he can’t carry a club like Justin Upton can.  Plus, he was a product of the farm system.  Very rarely if ever does the team trading the superstar player get equal value in return.  Marlin fans know that with Miguel Cabera.  However, it is over and done with and the less I think about it, the better.

Ehsan: So, Heath Bell is your closer? How bad does that suck? (Wait, I think I know the answer to that!)

Tom: Isn’t there a saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch but Bell has been better than you think.  His ERA is out of whack because he was bombed in his first outing.  He has six saves and unless my eyes were playing games with me, I did see him get up to 96 on the gun the other night.  The deal was a head-scratcher at the time but Kevin Towers made a wise decision by trading for him.

Ehsan: Cody Ross was a fan favorite in Miami for so many years. How is he doing in Arizona?

Tom: Ross is exactly what he has done over his career.  He is killing lefties to the tune of a .386 batting average.  He started the season on the disabled list and has progressed nicely with his overall average up near .300.  Like the rest of the team, he has struggled with runners in scoring position, hitting .241.   He seems to fit the mold of what the D’backs want and a term we have heard endlessly:  gritty.  Plus, having a guy on the team who bats righty and throws lefty is always cool. 

Ehsan: Has Paul Goldschmidt established himself as one of the better first baseman in baseball?

May 8, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) follows through on a solo home run in the eighth inning as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) watches at Dodger Stadium. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tom: A resounding yes.  He is tied for second in the National League in home runs with 10, third in RBI’s with 31 and is tied for sixth in batting at 322.  Plus, he has come up with big hit after big hit.  At times, he is the D’back offense who has improved his defense greatly.  He also will steal a base when the opportunity arises.  Recently, he destroyed the Dodgers during a three game series in Los Angeles pounding out four home runs.  Ask someone from Lasrodaslair what they do when they see Goldy face Chris Capuano.

Ehsan: How has the Diamondbacks pitching staff fared in 2013? Which pitchers will the Marlins face in this series?

Tom: First up will be Trevor Cahill.  After struggling early, the sinkerballer has found a groove but little run support to show for it.  He is only 2-4 but his ERA is 2.70.  Walks are an issue at times as he has issued 20 free passes in 50 innings.  He does strike people out (39) which when combined with the walks may explain why he hasn’t pitched six full innings in half of his starts. Saturday will feature Brandon McCarthy who is still searching for his first D’back victory.  His last start should have been it as he threw eight shutout innings only to have Heath Bell sabotage him.  The ERA is coming down as each start is better than the last one.  Sunday, Wade Miley goes to the hill.  He has struggled in three of his last four starts.  Control has been an issue has he has walked three or more batters in a game in four of his eight starts.  After finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting, here is hoping he is not hitting the dreaded sophomore slump.

Ehsan: Make a bold prediction for the series. Which D-Back hitter will have a huge series? Which pitcher?

Tom: I look for Martin Prado to come up big.  He is pressing under the weight of expectations as the main player in the Upton trade and perhaps a somewhat familiar venue will help him get on track.  As for the pitcher, my money is on Heath Bell slamming the door twice on the Fish and blowing kisses to the crowd as he exists the field on Sunday.

A big thank you to Tom for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Arizona fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out Venom Strikes for some of the best D-Backs content on the internet.