Miami Marlins: What to watch for against Astros on 5/15

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Marlins finally managed to notch a win on Sunday. With the opening game in a series against the Astros tonight, here’s what to watch for.

Congratulations, Miami Marlins faithful. After weeks of frustration, the Fish finally got the big hit that had eluded them night after night. After managing to salvage a game against a slumping Braves team, the Marlins hope to carry some momentum into the series opener tonight.

The Astros are one of baseballs hottest teams. Owners of the best record in Major League Baseball, the home team will have its work cut out for itself.

If the Marlins want to win the best of three against the Astros this week, winning game one will be pivotal. Here are three things to watch for in tonights game:

Dan Straily looking to build off of strong outing in previous start:

The Marlins will turn to Dan Straily to keep the line moving. Straily was slow out of the blocks to begin the season, and only once all year has he seen his ERA dip below 4.00. After going seven strong innings against the Cardinals on May 9th, Straily didn’t factor into the decision.

Straily will have to keep the ball down in the zone against a talented Houston lineup. With big boppers throughout, Straily has already struggled to keep the ball in the park this season. He’s surrendered five long balls in his seven starts, and the Astros lineup might be the most potent he’s faced all year.

Marlins will need to jump on Joe Musgrove early

The Astros will counter Dan Straily with a talented, if inexperienced starter in Joe Musgrove. Early in tonights game, Musgrove will log his 100th career inning in the Major Leagues. Musgrove has struggled to start the season, and currently sits at 2-3, with a 5.02 ERA.

Only once this season has Musgrove managed to surrender one run or fewer, against a struggling Oakland team at the end of April. Musgrove attacks the strike zone early, and has thrown 68% of his pitches for strikes this season. Look for the Marlins to be aggressive, and swinging early in the count.

Tonight could serve as an opportunity to jump start some of the Marlins struggling cornerstones; namely Dee Gordon. With Dee having returned to the top of the batting order yesterday, he’s likely licking his chops at the chance to wreak havoc in the batters box, and on the base paths.

Miami Marlins get a chance in front of a national audience tonight.

The Fish don’t get a lot of national publicity. And when they do, it usually isn’t of the favorable variety. Tonight, the Marlins get a chance to showcase their potentially explosive lineup on ESPN. Never mind the fact that the Astros are the actual draw for the majority of the non-South Florida audience.

If the Fish can manage to put on a good show on the worldwide leader in sports tonight, they’ll keep the door open for more appearances on ESPN. With a stable of marketable stars in the outfield, there is no reason the Marlins can’t get as many national exposure opportunities as anyone else.

They’ll have to start winning some ball games, of course. What better time to start than tonight?

Conclusion

Getting off to a good start against a talented young team is key. They’ll need to get on the board early and often, and give Dan Straily the run support he has lacked all season. It’s only May, but talks of salvaging the season are already in full swing. For the Marlins, the time is now.

Next: Derek Jeter comments on purchasing Miami Marlins for first time

The Marlins will be televised nationally on ESPN tonight. It will also be available on the local Fox Sports station, as well as on the FoxSportsGo app.

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