After letting the game get away from them last night, the Miami Marlins will look to rebound in game two of the series tonight. Here are a few things to look out for.
The bullpen woes continued last night. After Dan Straily turned in his best outing of the season, Junichi Tazawa served up a grand slam that put the Astros up for good. For the Miami Marlins, it felt like more of the same.
Tonight they’ll take on the Astros for the second game of a three-game set. The Marlins will counter Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel (6-0) with Tom Koehler (1-1). With the Marlins in desperate need of getting the team out of the habit of losing, Keuchel presents a formidable foe.
Keuchel susceptible to the long ball
Make no mistake: Dallas Keuchel has been dominant this year. If things continue along this vein for him, he makes a great case for taking home another Cy Young award. However, the one area where he has been susceptible this year is serving up home runs.
That’s good news for the Marlins, who have done the majority of their scoring by way of the long ball. Keuchel has surrendered six round-trippers in his eight starts, but has managed to keep from bunching them together. Only twice has he allowed more than one in a single game.
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If the Marlins stand a chance at knocking Keuchel out of the game early, they’re best served hitting it over the fence. With the ability and reputation for pitching deep into the game, early and often will have to be the Marlins approach tonight.
Who to turn to in the pen?
The Miami Marlins are running out of arms in the bullpen. After loading up on relief pitching this offseason, the bullpen has become a source of frustration. Last night, Junichi Tazawa surrendered four runs, Brad Ziegler surrendered two runs, and Dustin McGowan surrendered one run.
The pen continues to squander quality starts by the Marlins rotation. Once considered its strength, there are nothing but question marks in the bullpen right now. But it hasn’t been all bad news, and a number of arms have become fairly reliable.
David Phelps seems to be hitting his stride, pitching a one, two, three, inning his last time out. After struggling to start the year, A.J. Ramos has been more consistent lately. Despite surrendering an earned run in his last outing, Nick Wittgren has been a mostly safe bet in relief.
Right now,anytime the Marlins turn to the bullpen everyone is on edge. Don Mattingly is doing what he can as a manager, but there is only so much he can do. Look for him to get some of the more reliable arms some work in tonights must win game.
Dee Gordon slowly breaking out of his slump
The electric leadoff man has been slow to start the season. After picking up two hits last night, there is an inclination to say that he is coming out of his slump. Dee Gordon is a good hitter, but lately the balls he’s been slapping have gone straight at well positioned defenders.
Last night, he was able to lace one through the hole between shortstop and third base, an encouraging sign. If he is able to start getting on base more consistently, it will spark the Marlins offense immediately. Dee’s speed and explosiveness on the base paths makes pitchers uneasy, and makes life easier for hitters.
With Keuchel pitching from the left side, Gordon might have a little more trouble than everyone would like. A lot of the success for the Miami marlins tonight will spend on his ability to get on base.
The Miami Marlins continue to struggle with different facets of the game each night. After the bullpen failed to make good on an spectacular outing from Dan Straily, the Marlins are ready for round two. They’ll be looking to take advantage of Dallas Keuchel‘s propensity to give up the long ball.
If the bullpen is able to hold a lead when the time comes, the Fish stand a good chance in tonights game.
The Marlins won’t be on national television tonight, and return to the local Fox station. You can catch them on Fox Sports Florida, or on the FoxSportsGo app.