Game 37: Miami Marlins @ Atlanta Braves, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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2 game series vs Braves @ Turner Field

Miami Marlins
@ Atlanta Braves

Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Turner Field

Mark Buehrle vs Mike Minor

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing from left to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.

Complete Coverage >

Thu 05/17 7:10 PM EDT

The Miami Marlins are going from one miniseries to another, as they turn around from their two-game spit with the Pittsburgh Pirates and immediately head to my current neck of the woods, Atlanta, to face the Atlanta Braves. The Fish are looking to get away with a couple of wins on the road to start their small road trip before heading back home for an extended home stand, while the Braves are looking to keep up with the class of the NL East and beat a local division rival. As for me, I'm disappointed that I will be too busy to make it to a game, sadly.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Braves
.307 (17) wOBA .331 (5)
89 (20) wRC+ 108 (6)
3.33 (6) ERA 4.09 (21)
3.38 (3) FIP 3.79 (12)

The Braves have done a complete 180 degree turn on their plan for success and victory in 2012. Whereas last season, they found their way to wins via their pitching staff and their superior bullpen, this year the Braves have been doing it by absolutely mashing the ball. A number of their contributors that struggled last season have rebounded quite well this year, including Jason Heyward (.361 wOBA) and Martin Prado (.356 wOBA). Meanwhile, they have not pitched up to their peripherals, in part because of bad luck and in part because of defensive struggles, particularly of their infield.

The Marlins are continuing to use the same formula they have all season. The team has continued to get good performances from their pitchers, particularly their starting staff, while the hitters somehow have found a way to produce just enough runs to win. The plan has worked for most of May, so let us see how these two opposing forces collide in the two-game series.

Stadium: Turner Field

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 335
Left-Center 380
Center Field 401
Right-Center 390
Right Field 330

Five-Year Run PF*: 0.99
Five-Year Home Run PF*: 0.98

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

Turner Field plays as mostly a neutral park and has been considered as such for much of its history. The Park is also quite a beauty from the outside looking in, and though it is of the retro style that has been much maligned for the last 15 years, it is still pretty impressive. I plan on attending a game between the Braves and Marlins at some point while I am here in Atlanta.

Pitching Matchup
Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Braves ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.515 3.83 4.16 2.81 Buehrle Minor 6.59 4.40 4.24 .468

Mark Buehrle is, yet again, being his old Mark Buehrle self. In his previous outing, he managed a typical outing that included two runs allowed on eight hits, with three strikeouts, two walks, and a home run. That's a mediocre or below average Buehrle start, and he can certainly pull better outings out of his bag of tricks, but that particular one illustrates just how little he variates even between games, despite the fact that he is pretty dependent on balls in play for his success.

Mike Minor offers the opposite in terms of left-handed pitching. Minor throws in the low 90's and induces a good number of whiffs (9.1 percent swinging strike rate career), leading to a career 22.2 percent career strikeout rate. He does not walk too many guys either, so Minor's career looks like it is on the up-and-up, except that despite a career 3.74 FIP, he has posted a 5.22 ERA overall and that number has been even worse this season. Minor is bound to regress, as most pitchers with his kind of peripherals do. Let's just hope it's not against us.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. LHP
1 Jose Reyes .350
2 Omar Infante .331
3 Hanley Ramirez .369
4 Austin Kearns .304
5 Giancarlo Stanton .394
6 Gaby Sanchez .358
7 Emilio Bonifacio .305
8 John Buck .320

Austin Kearns makes yet another start in favor of Logan Morrison against the lefty Minor, and one has to wonder whether Ozzie Guillen's consistent resting of Morrison is being done in order to hide him during recovery of some injury such as the one he suffered in Spring Training. No other player on the team has gotten the resting profile like Morrison outside of the catcher John Buck, and for most other position players, this would be a completely odd usage pattern for a starting left fielder, let alone your team's cleanup hitter. Is Morrison injured? That is a good question.

Notes

- SCrebel10 of Talking Chop has the Marlins / Braves series preview on their end of the spectrum.

- Ben Duronio of Capitol Avenue Club says that Braves rookie starter Randall Delgado has played exactly as expected.

- Make sure you check out the Pick 6 leaderboard and make your Ichthyomancy picks below!

Bold Prediction: Braves def. Marlins 4-3

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