The Miami Marlins are heading out on the road to face the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park for a three game set May 4-6.
This will be the first time the two clubs have met this season. Both teams are on a hot streak of sorts, Miami has won two straight series and Cincinnati has won two of their last three. Each team is seeing an uptick in performance when compared to their starts to the season.
May 4: Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) vs Sal Romano (CIN)
The first game of the series takes place on Friday May 4 and will see Wei-Yin Chen and Sal Romano taking the mound for their respective teams. Chen is yet to face Cincinnati in his career. Romano has faced a handful of hitters in the Marlins lineup in the past. Romano has held the combination of J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas to a combined two hits in 11 at-bats. These four Marlins hitters have a slash line of .182/.308..273 with a .580 OPS. The boost in on-base percentage is due to two walks issued, one each to Dietrich and Rojas. Realmuto owns one of two hits against Romano which was a double.
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May 5: Caleb Smith (MIA) vs Tyler Mahle (CIN)
This matchup in particular will be interesting. Neither Caleb Smith or Tyler Mahle have faced their opponents previously. It is certainly possible that Smith and Mahle relatively cruise through the first couple innings until the hitters adjust. it is also just as likely that each pitcher gets hit hard from the get go. Without any past data to go back on there is no telling how this game will go.
May 6: Dan Straily (MIA) vs Brandon Finnegan (CIN)
For the final game of the series there is more data to go on than the previous two games. Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan has faced four batters in the Marlins lineup in the past. Martin Prado, Realmuto, JB Shuck and Yadiel Rivera. Like Romano before him, Finnegan relatively shut down these Marlins hitters previously. Holding these four to three hits in 11 at-bats which resulted in one run allowed. All three hits belong to Prado as Finnegan held Realmuto, Shuck and Rivera hitless.
Straily has an extensive history against the Reds and it is not a good one. The Reds have a slash line of .306/.342/.306 with a .648 OPS against Straily. While Straily has given up a lot of hits (11 in 36 at-bats), he has only given up one run. This at least provides some hope that Straily can potentially strand some base-runners if necessary. Reds first baseman Joey Votto has three hits in five at-bats against Straily, although all three hits are singles. It will be interesting to see if Straily can hold Votto to a single or less in their upcoming matchup.
Trends to watch
The Marlins are averaging 3.1 runs per game over their last 10 games compared to the Reds who average 6.3 over the same time span. Each teams pitching staff are allowing 2.7 and 5.3 runs per game respectively. What it will come down to is which trend will break first. The Marlins excellent pitching or the Reds hot hitting? Whichever trend breaks first should ultimately determine the series.
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