Game 12: Chicago Cubs @ Miami Marlins, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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Chicago Cubs
@ Miami Marlins

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Marlins Park

Matt Garza vs Mark Buehrle

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.

Complete Coverage >


The Miami Marlins are coming off a successful first game last evening against the Chicago Cubs, picking up a 5-2 victory. The return of Ozzie Guillen to the dugout came out successful in the end, and despite the concerns of the Marlins faithful in the game thread, Heath Bell was able to come up with his first clean save of the season. The series continues in tonight's tilt between two of the better pitchers on both sides.

Pitching Matchup

Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Cubs ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.526 3.74 4.61 3.65 Buehrle Garza 1.23 2.50 3.60 .543

Tonight's pitching matchup between the Marlins' Mark Buehrle and the Cubs' Matt Garza is the best pitching duel of the series. Garza had a monster season last year that was disguised behind a good-not-great ERA. His strikeouts spiked considerably last year compared to his career marks, and there is reason to believe that his gameplan has changed for the better and that he has evolved as a pitcher. The Marlins were trying to acquire him this past offseason, but the Cubs were asking for too much for trade, and by the end of the season, it may be possible that all of baseball may see why.

The Marlins will counter with Buehrle, who has been said to have pitched really well despite suffering two losses thus far. He has pitched decently despite the 4.61 FIP, as he has gotten a little unlucky on his home runs so far, but his xFIP (which is FIP based on the league average home run per fly ball rate and a pitcher's fly ball rate used for that pitcher's home run input) of 4.19 looks very similar to his career 4.22 mark. Of course, Buehrle has made a habit of outperforming his FIP over his career, so this season may not be much different. The rest of his game has been pretty Buehrle-like, so there are no concerns as of now.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. RHP
1 Jose Reyes .362
2 Emilio Bonifacio .305
3 Hanley Ramirez .355
4 Logan Morrison .361
5 Giancarlo Stanton .380
6 Gaby Sanchez .338
7 John Buck .300
8 Donnie Murphy .265

The Marlins debuted yet another lineup in response to small sample vacillations in player performance last night; this time, Ozzie Guillen demoted Giancarlo Stanton to the sixth slot in favor of Logan Morrison in the cleanup spot. Again, Guillen and his staff have shown a tendency to be too fluid with their lineup in response to one or two week's worth of data, showing a clear lack of grasp of projecting players into the future. While in their heart of hearts, I am sure they believe Giancarlo Stanton is a better hitter going forward than Omar Infante, they also feel that right now Infante is better because he is "hot." Of course, there is no way to say that Infante will stay hot for tonight or any other day, and if we have to guess who will be better the next day, our best bet is the guy who is a better career hitter and a better hitter over the last two or three seasons. But Guillen and company are still managing in a narrow-sighted fashion, favoring small sample sizes over real projection.

Notes

- Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue found something frustrating and interesting in yesterday's 5-2 Marlins win:

151 more after today. 151 more game recaps, and after less than two weeks of the 2012 season, they all sound the same. Repeat after me: the starting pitcher goes six or seven really good innings, but the offense can't generate enough runs to put the game away, or even go ahead. Then one bad thing happens and the game's out of reach.

Seriously, if I posted the second and third sentences of that paragraph as the recap to every single game remaining this season -- right now -- I'd probably be right two-thirds of the time. I have to admit it's pretty tempting. It would save me a lot of time and work. I'd just have to come back one-third of the time and change it to what really happened.

I have been there before and I have felt that way in the past about our own team, so I feel Al's pain. Still, I will not lie and say that I do not want to see the same thing happen between the Cubs and Marlins tonight as it did last night.

Bold Prediction: Cubs def. Marlins 3-2

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