Series Preview – Marlins (32-28) at Cubs (23-34)

In Series Previews, Uncategorized by berselius

Here’s our active draft thread. Color me less than whelmed with the Cubs strategy so far.

With their sweep of the Mets and the Rays ten game losing streak, the Cubs have lost their position at the top of the reverse standings. The Marlins meanwhile have been one of, if not *the* biggest surprises of the season so far even with SuperAce Jose Fernandez joining the crowd in the waiting room at Dr. Andrews’s clinic, and are currently tied for first place in the NL East. They’ve had huge home/road splits this season, leading some to believe that they’re getting an extra advantage at home. I guess that’s what the HR sculpture was for. As a team they’ve posted a .279/.349/.435 line at home and .245/.303/.385 on the road, which doesn’t feel like as big of a difference as their win/loss splits suggest.

Team Overviews


  • wRC+: 103 (3rd)
  • BSR: 0.3 (8th)
  • SP FIP-: 95 (5th)
  • RP FIP-: 101 (10th)
  • UZR: 1.9 (9th)
  • DRS: 8 (8th)
  • Run differential: +26 (4th)


  • wRC+: 80 (14th)
  • BSR: 1.6 (5th)
  • SP FIP-: 85 (1st)
  • RP FIP-: 91 (7th)
  • UZR: 5.5 (5th)
  • DRS: -2 (13th)
  • Run differential: -13 (11th)

Obviously, the biggest contributor to the Marlin’s high offensive ranking is Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the NL in HRs with 17 and trails only Tulo and Puig in wOBA. They’ve also had solid performance from slugging CF Marcell Ozuna and the suddenly not replacement level Casey McGehee. Adjust his BABIP down from .353 and unshockingly he looks a lot more like the same old player. Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez have picked up the slack without Fernandez but the rest of their rotation is kind of a mess, as evidenced by using nine different starters already this year. Still it’s worked so far.

News, notes, injuries, blood oaths, etc.

Eli Whiteside is currently the only 100% healthy catcher on the Cubs roster with Castillo on the DL and John Baker dealing with a foul tip he took to the throat on Wednesday. Valbuena has been given the role of emergency catcher, though it looks like Baker is feeling well enough to start today.

C.J. Edwards had an MRI earlier this week and his shoulder came back clean, and he should be throwing any day now.

Kyuji Fujikawa threw in XST earlier this week and all reports seem to be good. The Cubs are still hoping he’ll rejoin the team later this summer.

Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is currently on the DL with a concussion. He’s eligible to rejoin the team on Sunday but it sounds like it’s not going to happen.

The Marlins signed Kevin Gregg earlier this week. Technically it’s a minor league deal, but that’s just so he can face some live batters (as opposed to dead ones) for a week or so before rejoining the team.

Brett’s got coverage of the latest non-developments on the Cubs renovations, which are up to the city yet again. The landmark committee can basically meet whenever they want, and don’t seem to be in a hurry to do so. Hm, I wonder what that could mean *cough*. One member of the panel is buddies with Tunney and has voiced opposition to the new signage plans, which was the part that the Cubs were supposedly discussing with the city all along.

Pitching Matchups

ERA, xFIP, projected FIP listed for each pitcher

Friday: Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (3.24, 3.58, 3.84) vs Jason Hammel, RHP (2.78, 3.55, 3.80), 3:05 PM CT

The Marlins picked up Eovaldi in the Hanley Ramirez trade two years ago, and he’s worked out fairly nicely for them. He’s a bit of an injury risk, as he missed the first half of last season with shoulder problems. He’s more or less a fastball-slider guy, and throws an occasional sinker. He’s decreased his walk rate dramatically this year, cutting it nearly in half.

Hammel had his best start of the season against the Brewers, shutting them out for seven innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He should be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. Like Eovaldi, his walk rate has dropped dramatically this year, but his .225 BABIP indicates that some regression is due on his ERA.

Saturday: Randy Wolf, RHP (3.38, 3.07, 4.23) vs Jeff Samardzija, RHP (2.54, 3.38, 3.37), 3:05 PM CT

Wolf was out of baseball last year, and he certainly looked like he had a giant fork sticking out of his back. He pitched well against the Rays offense in his last outing, but lately pretty much everyone has been doing that. I’m hoping the wind is blowing out in this game, he always seems to give up a billion HRs to the Cubs.

Shark was utterly hammered in his last start, giving up eight runs in just three innings to the Brewers. He was havinga tough time locating his fastball, and given how much his changed approach this year relies on his fastball, that could explain the shellacking. From what I remember BABIP wasn’t that kind to him either.

Sunday: Henderson Alvarez, RHP (2.62, 3.58, 3.82) vs Jake Arrieta, RHP (3.00, 3.51, 4.42), 1:20 PM CT

I guess the Cubs reward for getting a cast-off Randy Wolf is facing the Marlins two best pitchers in the other two games. The Marlins picked him up in that crazy trade that sent Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle (and Bonifacio!) to the Jays two years ago. He’s been lights out with the Marlins, posting huge ground ball rates, a low walk rate, and a miniscule HR rate. Expect lots and lots and lots of sinkers in this start. He hasn’t given up a run in his last three starts, and is coming off a shutout of the Rays.

The same goes for the other side of the matchup – Arrieta’s been throwing a lot of sinkers and is posting the highest GB rate of his career. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning against the Mets in his last start, and somehow only allowed one run despite giving up ten baserunners. I swear the Mets went 3-54 with RISP in that series, Wrigley must have infected them.

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