Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
After an excellent opening series against the Colorado Rockies that saw the Marlins win 3-4 games, and the last one in exciting fashion, the Marlins will welcome the San Diego Padres to Marlins Park tonight to open a 3-game series. This series will be the final one of the Marlins home stand before heading out on their first road trip of 2014.
The Padres got their season started by facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego has lost 2 of 3 to open 2014. Run scoring has been an issue for the Padres as they have only managed 6 total runs in the first 3 games. Things won’t get easier as they will face Tom Koehler and then the top two pitchers in the Marlins rotation.
We can count on the weather to beautiful with the games being held at Marlins Park. The roof has been opened this early in the season and there have been some beautiful evenings to watch the Fish play.
The start time for the first two games will be 7:10 PM EST. The Sunday game will of course be a matinée that will get underway at 1:10 PM EST. Fox Sports Florida will be broadcasting all 3 games.
Projected Pitching Matchups:
Friday, April 4
Padres – Eric Stults
Marlins – Tom Koehler
The 2014 Marlins have already exceeded the production of the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season. For Miami the early season story has revolved around clutch hitting. After being one of the worst offensive teams last year, Miami has started the season strong. They have the third highest team batting average in the National League, hitting over .300 and they have scored the second most runs in the entire major leagues!
This has been a boost to the lower half of the pitching rotation that has struggled early on. Both Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner were hit early and often, but I believe they will rebound. Of course I don’t expect the hitting to continue on at this clip, but I do believe the Marlins will be a better hitting team than many believe.
More important than the statistics is the change in the Marlins demeanor during games. Last year the Marlins would seemingly quit any time they fell behind by 3 runs or more. This season they are playing with a belief that they can win any game, regardless of how far behind they fall. That belief, coupled with the young talent that this club has, is a recipe for a scary team.
I did not publish a “bold predictions” list heading into the season, but I am going to go out on a limb here and issue a bold prediction of my own. I believe that the Marlins are going to get their first sweep of the season against the Padres. San Diego’s best chance to steal a game will be tonight against Koehler, but I think he is going to show off his increased fastball and keep the San Diego hitter’s off-balance. Watch for two more stellar performances by Fernandez and Eovaldi over the weekend, and hopefully this home stand will finish out extremely successful.