Four games in, and the Miami Marlins are still sitting even. The team will now host American League interlopers the Boston Red Sox at Marlins Park on Monday and Tuesday.
Miguel Rojas and rookie Brian Anderson are leading the Miami Marlins with identical .333 averages. Rojas is five-for-15 with four walks, and Anderson is six-for-18. Derek Dietrich has Miami’s only home run of the season, and Anderson’s five RBI leads the team.
Martin Prado, J.T. Riddle, and J.T. Realmuto remain on the disabled list. While they’re out, there’s no question that Rojas and Anderson will play at shortstop and at third base respectively. At catcher, Tomas Telis is the nominal starter. Despite that, Chad Wallach has three starts and Bryan Holaday has one at the backstop. Justin Bour, although off to a tough start at two-for-14, will continue as the starter at first. Starlin Castro will continue at second.
The big news going into the opening matchup is the ascension of RHP Trevor Richards to the starting rotation. Richards has a career minor league WHIP of 1.023, and has struck out over a batter per inning at every stop along the way. What he lacks in blow-you-away-speed he makes up for in pinpoint precision and careful pitch selection. He’ll start game one on Monday night, his first ever major league appearance.
Richards will face Brian Johnson, also considered a rookie. Johnson is 2-1 with a 4.88 ERA through his six start major league career, with 24 whiffs in 31 1/3 innings. He’s got a 1.50 WHIP to his credit.
On Tuesday, Jose Urena will get his second start of the campaign. Although he didn’t have the strongest season debut on Thursday, he’s made a career of being able to bounce back from underwhelming performances. He’s now 19-22 through his career with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP to his credit. This year he’s 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in four innings.
Urena’s opponent is six-time A.L. All-Star Chris Sale. Sale is 91-58 in nine major league seasons, with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He’s struck out 1,561 in 1330 1/3 innings, a 10.56 K/9 ratio.
Based on starting pitching, I’m predicting another series split.
Red Sox Lineup
Catching Johnson and Sale will be Christian Vazquez, elevated to Boston’s starting lineup after backing up the position for three seasons. Miami fans will be familiar with first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who carries a .291/.362/.490 career slashline through 1,611 career games.
Eduardo Nunez, two-time Silver Slugger Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers round out the infield. In right field, the Sox have two-time Gold Glove, 2016 Silver Slugger and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Mookie Betts. 2016 All Star Jackie Bradley Jr. will hold down center, and Andrew Benintendi will start in right.
If you were paying attention, you’ll know that the Miami Marlins earned a four-game split to open the season against the Chicago Cubs.
Game One would see the Marlins drop an 8-4 decision behind a weak effort from opening day starter Jose Urena.
In Game Two, stellar pitching limited the Cubs to one run in 17 innings of play. Miguel Rojas stroked the game-winner in the bottom of the final frame.
Game Three would see Boston and Miami extend the game into extra innings for the second night in a row. Boston scored four in the top of the 10th to seal the victory.
Miami took Game Four behind a strong start from Dillon Peters, who pitched six shutout innings. Brian Anderson’s three-RBI double carried the day.
After losing their opener against the Tampa Bay Rays by a 6-4 final, the Red Sox came back for three straight one-run victories.
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Red Sox vs. Marlins History
Being in opposite leagues doesn’t leave a lot of history for these two seemingly disparate clubs. Boston is 116 years old, and Miami is playing in their 26th season. Nevertheless, the two teams have played 34 games, with the Red Sox holding a 22-12 edge. Miami’s .353 win percentage against the Sox is their worst against any club.
The last time the two teams played was in 2015, and Miami earned a four-game split. The last of those four games was played on August 12th of that season. J.T. Realmuto was three-for-five with a triple, a homer, and six RBI. Cole Gillespie and Dee Gordon also chipped in with three hits apiece. Gordon also homered, collected two RBI, scored twice, and stole a base, while Gillespie scored three times. Martin Prado, Ichiro Suzuki, and Adeiny Hechavarria each collected a pair of base hits. Kyle Barraclough earned the win, striking out four in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Hanley Ramirez played in 943 games for the Marlins from 2006 through 2012. He slashed .300/.374/.499, with 148 home runs, 482 RBI, and 230 stolen bases.
Bryan Holaday was seven-for-33 in 2016 with the Red Sox, appearing in 14 games.
Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler played in 33 games for the 2016 Sox, going 2-4 with a 1.52 ERA, a 1.247 WHIP, and 31 K’s in 29 2/3 innings.
Junichi Tazawa played his first seven major league seasons with the Red Sox. He was 17-20 with a 3.58 ERA, a 1.263 WHIP, and 308 whiffs in 312 innings.
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