The time is now, folks. We are just a few hours away from the major league debut of the Miami Marlins and their brand new Marlins Park, as the Fish battle the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Night! Obviously, this is an exciting time for fans of the Marlins, as they will get to see their newly christened team for the first time in real, meaningful baseball action.
Tonight's game is a one-of at home for the Fish, as the Cardinals will head out for a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, the Marlins will stay in the NL Central, visiting the Cincinnati Reds for three games following their debut home game. Nevertheless, the defending World Champions are in town, so the Marlins will want to defend their home turf as well as possible before returning in mid-April for their first real home stand of the stadium's young career.
As for tonight's game, the Marlins will be sending a hopefully healthy ace Josh Johnson to the mound to counter the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse. Lohse gets the nod because usual ace Chris Carpenter is out with a nerve injury until at least May. After the jump, let's take a look at the pitching matchups in more detail with projections along with the projected Marlins lineup.Pitching Matchup
|Proj Win%||Proj ERA||FIP||ERA||Marlins||Cardinals||ERA||FIP||Proj ERA||Proj Win%|
What does the above stuff mean? Well, the ERA and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, a pitching metric based only on strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed, scaled to look similar to ERA) are obvious, as they are simply this season's ERA and FIP marks (you'll note that no one has anything to put there yet). The projected ERA is that provided by ZiPS projection as noted on FanGraphs. The win percentage is based on how many games an average team would win if that pitcher threw the full nine innings. In this case, the matchup is heavily in our favor, as we would expect a team with an average offense and fielding capability to win two-thirds of the games in which Johnson threw nine innings.
|Order||Player||Proj wOBA vs. RHP|
This is the expected lineup for tonight with projected wOBA (based on ZiPS projections and my own calculated spltis projections) against right-handed pitchers. As you probably already noted, there is a little bit of a difference between this one and the one we listed as the optimized lineup. Nevertheless, this is not a bad lineup and should do decently against the Cardinals tonight.
- Of course, it will be interesting to see the Cardinals without Albert Pujols for the first time in ten years. He has been a fixture on that team since 2001, and he has been the best player in baseball since that time, so seeing someone else man first base and knowing that change to be permanent is going to be an adjustment. It just will not look the same over there with Lance Berkman.
- Opening Day/Night is always a big deal in the world of baseball, so ESPN is making it a big deal tonight, even if it does involve our usually hype-less team. Ben Cafardo of ESPN emailed me (thanks Ben!) and gave me the heads up about what is in store this afternoon and tonight as ESPN builds up to Opening Night in Miami.
All day SportsCenter live updates on location from the Baseball Tonight set at Marlins Park
4:30pm (ESPN2) – Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable will air a special edition from Marlins Park
6pm: Baseball Tonight on location from Marlins Park for one-hour pregame show with Karl Ravech, John Kruk and Barry Larkin
7pm: Exclusive national telecast of MLB Opening Night – Cardinals at Marlins – from Marlins Park – Dan Shulman, Terry Francona, Orel Hershiser and Buster Olney will call the action.
So the Baseball Tonight crew is going to be live in Miami starting at 6 pm, and our local occasionally-insightful, occasionally-loudmouth newspaper writer Dan Le Batard will be on at 4:30 pm with coverage of Marlins Park. As for the guys calling the game, Terry Francona was a revelation in last season's playoffs, as he was quite the interesting color commentator. Orel Hershiser is his usual self (which is neither good nor bad), and Shulman is a passable play-by-play guy. I think it beats Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton (especially Tommy) any day, and thankfully we no longer have to worry about ESPN games being ruined by Joe Morgan's inane commentary.
- Make sure you follow along on ESPN, at the game, and on Fish Stripes and the game thread for all the madness that is Opening Night in Miami!
- Put your Ichthyomancy picks right here, five hours before the game! If you happened to put your picks in other threads but can still place your bets when the actual thread comes up, I'd appreciate it if you re-input your picks in this thread. It just makes it easier for the folks on the site who are going to track picks for them to all be in a central location.
- One note from the previous Ichythyomancy explanation piece. The attendance points will now be worth two (2) points! I believe I wrote that it would be worth one point, but since only one person gets the credit every evening, I think it should be worth a little more. This change will be made on the official rules post today.
- However, after tonight, you cannot get credit for guessing over the seating capacity (37,442 in Marlins Park, you'll have to look up the others). Some of you guys went over tonight, and that is fine, but officially, if you want to guess the highest number possible, it should be 37,442.
Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Cardinals, 4-2