Mar 3, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first basemanGarrett Jones
(46) at bat against the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins face off against left handed starter Alex Wood of the Braves on Tuesday night and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com had this to note about the lineup:
The Marlins have been very good offensively overall this season ranking 4th in runs scored in the National League with 108 and second in On Base Percentage with a .325 mark. However, they have struggled against left handed pitching where they rank 9th in the league in runs scored (23) and 10th in batting average (.237) and OPS (.654).
Here’s a look at how most of the regulars have fared against the south paws:
[table id=29 /]
To no one’s surprise (except the Marlins front office), Garrett Jones has continued his career long awfulness against left handed pitching with a near 30% strike out rate and no extra base hits to go along with his .160 batting average. On the other hand, noted lefty masher Jeff Baker has been just as bad with a .150 batting average. Though Baker has likely just been unlucky as his current .158 Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) versus lefties is way below his career .333 mark, while Jones’ .235 BABIP is actually slightly better than a career .226 mark.
Besides expected improvement from Baker, the Marlins should also get some help with the return of Ed Lucas to the lineup. Lucas posted an outstanding .330/.374/.509 slash line against the lefties in 2013 and slugged 3 homers against them. With the availability of Lucas, manager Mike Redmond may finally decide that having Jones in the lineup against the lefties is bound to continue being a failure and decide to go with the better options he has available.
The good news is that despite the offensive struggles, the Marlins have posted a 5-1 record when facing left handed starters this season and with Jose Fernandez taking the hill opposite Wood the Fish should expect to improve that record on Tuesday.
Do you think this team will continue to struggle against left handers all season? Or will the return of Lucas and the end of the Garrett Jones experiment lead to success against the southpaws going forward?