Game 23: Miami Marlins @ San Francisco Giants, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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3 game series vs Giants @ AT&T Park

Miami Marlins
@ San Francisco Giants

Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 10:15 PM EDT
AT&T Park

Ricky Nolasco vs Matt Cain

Clear. Winds blowing out to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 55.

Complete Coverage >

Wed 05/02 10:15 PM EDT
Thu 05/03 3:45 PM EDT

The Miami Marlins are headed to San Francisco to face the Giants after a series of disappointments led to an awful turnout in the team's four-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Marlins now exit April looking to forget one the worst months in team history by moving on to what is hopefully bigger and better things in May. The Fish do not get an easy start, as they get to face one of the National League's finest pitchers to open up a three-game series and nine-game road trip.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Giants
.292 (22) wOBA .314 (16)
81 (24) wRC+ 99 (14)
3.64 (13) ERA 3.38 (8)
3.55 (10) FIP 3.40 (6)

I worked in an extra series of numbers and tables into the presentation of the game threads to represent a series preview before every series. In this case, the Marlins are running into one of the better pitching teams in baseball in the Giants, and the club is doing so at one of its worst offensive nadirs of recent memory. The Fish are boasting a decent staff that is headed by a good rotation and a questionable-at-times bullpen, but the Giants' offense, Buster Posey aside, leaves a little to be desired.

Stadium: AT&T Park

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 339
Left-Center 404
Center Field 399
Right-Center 421
Right Field 309

Five-Year Run PF*: 0.98
Five-Year Home Run PF*: 0.93

*Denotes five-year regressed park factors as calculated by Patriot here

Pitching Matchup
Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Giants ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.458 4.33 3.46 3.20 Nolasco Cain 2.37 3.44 3.16 .599

The Marlins are running one of their better starters in 2012 thus far, Ricky Nolasco, at a buzzsaw otherwise known as Matt Cain. Nolasco has been impressive despite a continued lack of strikeouts and an increase in walk rate. A lot of the good has come from a fortuitous .266 BABIP and a lack of home runs allowed, which any Marlins fan will take at this point. However, it is still a concerning trend that Nolasco's velocity is down and that hitters are being more selective against him, leading to that increase in walks. It should be worth watching going forward to see whether he improves or begins to regress in a bad way based on these new skill characteristics.

On the Giants' side, it seems like more of the same. Matt Cain is once again defying his peripherals, though he has performed pretty well with them anyway. He has upped his strikeout rate from its usual 20 percent up to almost 24 percent despite the same contact rate as he has always posted in his career. After allowing only nine home runs last season, he has already let through four this year. However, his mojo with BABIP continues, as right now he is sporting a miniscule .136 mark. Now, saber-geeks have been saying that his BABIP is on the way up for years, but even Matt Cain cannot sustain something like that. Hopefully the Marlins can begin the process of chipping some more hits away on him.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. RHP
1 Jose Reyes .350
2 Emilio Bonifacio .305
3 Hanley Ramirez .351
4 Logan Morrison .364
5 Omar Infante .321
6 Giancarlo Stanton .373
7 Gaby Sanchez .330
8 John Buck .300

The Marlins wills end out their most prototypical lineup at Matt Cain and the Giants. This is convenient for me because the platoon projections were just updated to reflect the latest data from April. As you can see, a number of players lost a lot of points in wOBA due to their collective awful April. Only one player, Omar Infante, really gained much in the way of projection, as his rating against righties is now up above what we previously expected from him against lefties, which just goes to show you how amazing his April was. I have my doubts on whether he can keep that up, but here's hoping to another successful month from him at least.

Notes

- Grant Brisbee of the excellent SB Nation Giants blog McCovey Chronicles points out the Giants' struggles with runners on base, especially with two outs. Money quote:

When the Giants come up with the bases empty, they're a normal team. When runners get on, they tighten up a little. When runners get in scoring position, they hit like Dontrelle Willis. Which is good! For a pitcher. For a major-league team, it's pretty bad.

It is that kind of brilliant writing which is why he gets paid the slightly not-as-small bucks for his blogging and I get paid the small bucks. He's really good, one of the best on our network. Check him out at Baseball Nation too!

Bold Prediction: Giants def. Marlins 4-0

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