Game 39: Miami Marlins @ Cleveland Indians, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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3 game series vs Indians @ Progressive Field

Miami Marlins
@ Cleveland Indians

Friday, May 18, 2012, 7:05 PM EDT
Progressive Field

Carlos Zambrano vs Justin Masterson

Clear. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 70.

Complete Coverage >

Sat 05/19 4:05 PM EDT
Sun 05/20 1:05 PM EDT

The Miami Marlins have split two two-game series this week and are looking to get into a three-game set that they can actually win. Standing in their was this weekend are the Cleveland Indians, who lead the AL Central with a 22-16 record. The Marlins will visit Progressive Field and hope to come away with a quick interleague series win before returning home for a little nine-game home stand.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Indians
.305 (20) wOBA .325 (8)
87 (24) wRC+ 106 (7)
3.45 (8) ERA 4.17 (21)
3.39 (3) FIP 4.08 (24)

The Indians, much like the Braves, have been doing work offensively rather than via their pitching staff, and as a result they stand as a polar opposite to the current Marlins business plan. A couple of the team's expected hitters are doing exactly as planned, as Asdrubal Cabrera (.407 wOBA) and Carlos Santana (.364) are shining. Only Shin-Soo Choo (.348) is not hitting up to his usual self, but the Indians will gladly take the raking that the rest of their team has done. The Marlins, on the other hand, are still awaiting the recovery of a litany of their hitters as the season continues, though the numbers are beginning to improve.

On the pitching side, the story is reversed. A couple of the Indians' starters are struggling inexplicably, starting with tonight's starting pitcher, while the Fish are boasting positive results, particularly recently, for all but one starter.

Stadium: Progressive Field

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 325
Left-Center 370
Center Field 405
Right-Center 375
Right Field 325

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

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

Progressive Field is the home of a few fond memories for the Marlins historically, most prominently the two games the Fish won here back in 1997 during the World Series when the stadium was called Jacobs Field. The park has played fairly neutral for some time now, so there really is not much on which to comment.

Pitching Matchup

Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Braves ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.476 4.17 3.40 1.88 Zambrano Masterson 5.40 4.81 4.01 .494

Much has been said about Carlos Zambrano's seemingly victorious comeback, and much more could be said. He does seem like a little bit of a different pitcher this season, and perhaps the reason for it is an adjustment to his pitching style to meet his new velocity and physical prowess. Again, he should be allowing more hits in the future, but if you asked the Marlins if they would like a Zambrano with an ERA of around 3.40 (his FIP) or 3.72 (his SIERA), they would have said "yes" a million times over.

Justin Masterson has been the complete opposite for the Indians. Last year, he miraculously found his control, stopped walking guys so much, and that impressive 55 percent ground ball rate drew plenty of outs. This year, the ground balls are still there, but the walks have returned, as he is posting his highest career walk rate alongside his lowest strikeout rate. His ERA and FIP are quite indicative of how bad he has been thus far, and the Marlins are hoping for more of the same from him.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. RHP
1 Jose Reyes .350
2 Omar Infante .321
3 Hanley Ramirez .351
4 Greg Dobbs .290
5 Giancarlo Stanton .373
6 Logan Morrison .364
7 Emilio Bonifacio .305
8 John Buck .300
9 Bryan Petersen ---

OK, I know that I am supposed to give Ozzie Guillen something like the benefit of the doubt, but if you can make sense of this lineup, then you should go ahead and inform me of how this makes any sense. Greg Dobbs, the career .264/.308/.403 (.308 wOBA) hitter who is hitting .271/.327/.333 (.292 wOBA) this season is getting the nod over the guy best suited to clean up (Giancarlo Stanton, .281/.345/.526, .368 wOBA) and the guy who usually cleans up (Logan Morrison, .260/.345/.360, .309 wOBA), despite both players projecting better going forward. At this point, he may as well be writing lineups on who has been better the past week.

On a positive note, good to see Bryan Petersen back in the starting lineup after having done so well last season when the Marlins were missing a center fielder for half of the year. Petersen will be in left field tonight.

Notes

- A few days ago, I expressed my frustration with Ozzie Guillen over, well, lineup management to start. In it, I pointed out the reasonable alternative of Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta, who put his four best hitters at the top of the lineup. Well, he got more to the point in this FanGraphs interview with David Laurila. Money quote:

Acta: "The main thing is scoring runs, so you need to stack up your best hitters up front.You forget about trying to put a guy in the second spot just because he can hit-and-run and bunt. After the first six hitters, you should put your best hitters in front of the [lesser] hitters. The bottom of your order should be the bottom. I’ve never been a big believer in the idea of having a second leadoff hitter. I don’t like putting a guy in the nine-hole who should be hitting in the seven- or eight-hole. To me, you have to maximize at bats. Your better hitters should have a shot at getting that extra at bat."

How does it get any more reasonable from a major league manager? Sometimes, it really is as simple as what Acta just said.

- Lewis Pollis of Wahoos On First has his weekly roundtable discuss the topic of Shin-Soo Choo leading off.

- Check out more regarding the Indians at our SB Nation blog Let's Go Tribe.

Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Indians 5-4

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