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Fish on Fire, Florida Marlin Preview

Dodgers lost the 2010 Series 2 - 4, 1 -2 at home and road

Manager:  Edwin Rodriquez 13-7) Lifetime (59-53)

The Marlins are 8 - 2 in the their last 10 games, which has propelled them to the third best record in the NL. They took two of three from the Rockies, winning their last game courtesy of Mike Stanton's three run bomb that almost cleared the building. They are doing this with their best ballplayer playing like their worst ballplayer. For the last several years Hanley Ramirez was the man about town for the Marlins, but so far in 2011, Hanley Ramirez is the WORST major league SS in baseball. He can't hit or field right now, but somehow the Marlins are making do. Let's find out how.

Key Additions: John Buck, Omar Infante, Javier Vazquez, Edward Mujica

Key Subtractions:Dan Uggla, Ronny Paulino, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin

Key Injuries: Lost the red hot Logan Morrison who had been one of the best hitters in the NL so far this season. He won't be gone long, but he will be gone long enough to miss the Dodgers. 

Small Notes: The Marlins are 16th in attendance out of 16 NL teams. Expect crowds in the teens for a Mon-Wed series.

1st Base:  Gaby Sanchez had a solid debut in 2010 doing pretty much was what expected, good hitter, good on base,  not a lot of pop. In 2011 he has stepped his game up by being a better hitter, better on base, and more power. Right now he's got a .862 OPS,  a good eighty points higher then what he did in 2010. 

2nd Base: Perennial utility player, Omar Infante parlayed a successful gig in Atlanta into a full time gig with Marlins. Infante shocked many by being the centerpiece in the deal for Uggla. The late blooming Infante has yet to reach the same heights with the Marlins that he reached with the Braves in 2010, but he did have a key three run triple in yesterday's victory.  Actually he's been dreadful (.571 OPS), and as you will see below the Marlins have the worst performing keystone in baseball. As bad as Infante has been he's been better then the Uggla he was traded for

Shortstop Since Hanley Ramirez showed up to play SS for the Marlins in 2006 he's been one of the top offensive forces in the NL. Between 2007 -2009 Hanley  posted three straight years of an OPS between .940 - .960. Last year his OPS dropped 100 points to .853. In 2011 it is .573. For years we have asked Loney to hit like Hanley; too bad he decided to do it in 2011.  

3rd Base: Headed into spring the Marlins were hoping the local Chatsworth High star Matt Dominguez was going to show enough to become the started 3rd baseman. It didn't work out and so the team was left to scramble for a 3rd baseman as opening day neared. Four different Marlins have started at 3rd base, Greg Dobbs, Donnie Murphy, Emilio Bonifacio, and Wes Helms. As a group they are doing the job with a .815 OPS, but individually it is a different story. Dobbs has always been able to hit right handed pitching and nothing has changed as he leads the group with a .849 OPS. Donnie Murphy however has a .346 OPS in 36 plate appearances. I think in this series, Dobbs will get two starts and Bonficaio will get the other one.

Catcher: John Buck signed the big three year 16 million dollar deal with the Marlins to hit home runs after clubbing 20 with the Jays in 2010. Problem with that is that was the first year in an eight year career that Buck had ever hit as many as 20 home runs. It was certainly the first time he'd ever been north of a .250 average, and walking is not exactly his specialty so basically what you have is a young version of Rod Barajas. He's been a 400 plate appearance catcher for most of his career but now is expected to be one of the main cogs for the Marlins.  So far that is not working out, I doubt it ever does. 

Right Fielder: Mike Stanton is back after missing a few weeks at that start of the season. He will make his presence felt in this series, earlier today he launched a game winning three run bomb against the Rockies that went inside the tunnel at the top of the stair in the outfield seats. I'm sure I'm never going to get over the fact we drafted Adkins instead of Stanton. I hope Logan White twitches every time Stanton launches one against us.

 Logan should we draft the local kid we saw the other day, you know the one who was hitting them out of Dodger Stadium or should we go with the left handed college kid whose fastball couldn't break glass. "Hell, we got Loney, Stanton can't play the outfield, lets zig and mess with everyone by taking a college guy for the first time this early, I've got a good feeling about him". 

Center Fielder: The Marlins finally gave up on Cameron Maybin leaving them with nothing to show for Miggy Cabrera except some relief pitchers they got in exchange for Maybin. To plug the hole in Centerfield, they moved 2009 ROY Chris Couglan from LF to CF and he's been doing a bang up job so far. His .842 is in the upper tier of NL center fielders, and his defense so far has been up to the task. 

Left Fielder: Logan Morrison is on the DL but before he went on the DL he was leading this team in just about every offensive category. His triple stat line of .327/.424/.636 gave him a wOBA of .452 good for 6th in the NL for qualified players. To fill his spot the Marlins are using a combo of Scott Cousins and Bonficaio. Neither is very good, think of Xavier Paul and Tony Gwynn Junior as the LF platoon.

Bench:  I think I've mentioned everyone on the bench except for the backup catcher. Who cares.

Game One Stater: Inconsistent Rickey Nolasco will go against Jon Garland to start off the series. Back in 2008 I though Nolasco would be pitching his fourth solid season by 2011 but he forgot to show up in 2009/2010. In 2011 he's been better then he has ever been with one great start, two good one, one stinker. He's got his walk rate below 1.00, but his K Rate has dropped to 6. Four pitch arsenal, with his FB just a tad over 90.

Game Two Starter: Chris Volstad is the worst pitcher in the rotation so Dodger fans should consider themselves lucky they are going to miss Josh Johnson and get Volstad.  Volstad is walking as many as he striking out and he's not striking out many. 

Game Three Starter: Anibal Sanchez looks to finally be fully recovered from his surgery, hard to believe it was way back in 2006 when the 22 year old burst upon the scene for the Marlins, winning 10 games and throwing a no hitter on Sept 6th. He almost threw another no - hitter in has last start but a single by Fowler in the top of the 9th thwarted Anibal from getting his second no hitter. 

Bullpen: Leo Nunez closes for the Marlins and usually gets the job done. He'll be setup by Clay Hensley, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, and Brian Sanchez. Michael Dunn and Randy Choate are the left handers Andre will be facing. This is a solid group, no one is spectacular but they get the job done.