Game 16: Miami Marlins @ Washington Nationals, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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Miami Marlins
@ Washington Nationals

Sunday, Apr 22, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT
Nationals Park

Josh Johnson vs Gio Gonzalez

Cloudy. Winds blowing in from center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 50.

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Well, it was bound to happen at some point. Get out the broom - well, uh, breakers? - because the Marlins are looking to prevent a sweep.

The Fish are looking to do some sweep-busting as they face the division-leading Washington Nationals in the final game of a three-game set. After two close, agonizing, low-scoring losses, the Fish are looking to jump on a local, Miami-made pitching product while countering with their own staff ace as he recovers from a series of poor outings. If the team wants to salvage a win in this series, the offense is going to have to perform better than it has the last two games.

Pitching Matchup

Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Nationals ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.655 2.75 3.07 5.94 Johnson Gonzalez 2.04 1.42 3.52 .553

The Miami Marlins are sending out their staff ace Josh Johnson, but in his first three games he certainly has not looked like a staff ace. Johnson has not induced strikeouts at nearly the same rate as he had in the past, having only struck out 10.4 percent of hitters faced. Even in his last "successful" outing, Johnson only struck out three hitters and walked three batters, showing a continued problem with inducing swings and misses. For the season, hitters are making contact on 86 percent of pitches swung at, which is a higher rate than his career 78 percent mark. The Nationals have been fooled by both Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano in this series, so Johnson has a decent chance to recover from his early season problems against a lineup that had issues with presumably lesser pitchers.

The Nationals counter with south Florida's own Gio Gonzalez, who has been extremely good thus far this season. Gonzalez has not yet displayed the problems with walks that he had in years past, having only walked five men in almost 18 innings. He has also been striking guys out left and right, with a strikeout rate at 30 percent. As of right now, he's been everything the Nationals had hoped for when they acquired him in return for a huge bevy of prospects. Remember, the Marlins also wanted a piece of Gonzalez, but they were unable to acquire him because they simply did not have the pieces to compete for a trade.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. LHP
1 Jose Reyes .362
2 Emilio Bonifacio .305
3 Hanley Ramirez .375
4 Giancarlo Stanton .401
5 Gaby Sanchez .366
6 Austin Kearns .304
7 John Buck .321
8 Donnie Murphy .308

The Marlins have had some issues at the plate the last few days, and they are hoping to get something going against Gonzalez despite his early season success. Logan Morrison and Hanley Ramirez accounted for the run scoring yesterday afternoon, but the Fish missed a number of opportunities for runs yesterday. This is especially frustrating in a game that was close-knit and low-scoring.

Notes

- The game is currently postponed as the rain comes down over in Washington, DC. We will see if the Fish and Nats get to start a game today, as game time is still a couple of hours away. If not, we will see when this one gets made up. The Marlins have Monday off in preparation for a three-game set against the New York Mets starting on Tuesday. The Nationals are also traveling, heading west to San Diego for a three-game set. It is possible the team's just make up the game tomorrow afternoon if today does not work out, as the chance of rain is going down to 30 percent from 90 percent today.

Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Nationals 3-2

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