Miami Marlins Series Preview: San Diego Padres

With a disappointing three-game set against the Atlanta Braves behind them, the Miami Marlins will look forward to facing the San Diego Padres over the weekend for three games. The last time these two teams faced, it was in Petco Park and the Marlins came away with a sweep, all in one-run games. Then again, that was in May and the team looks drastically different now than it it did just two months ago. The Marlins will be missing a number of key players from that series, including Hanley Ramirez (recently traded) and Giancarlo Stanton (still nursing his knee after surgery).

No, instead the Marlins will take a makeshift lineup into this set against the Padres, who themselves have lineup questions with rumors swirling about players such as Chase Headley. Weird series between two non-contenders.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Padres
.304 (T-22) wOBA .296 (28)
87 (T-26) wRC+ 91 (24)
4.15 (19) ERA 3.79 (11)
3.77 (T-6) FIP 4.04 (18)

Every time you look at the numbers for the Padres, you have to consider that they play half of their games inside the cavernous Petco Park. Their ERA is low, but it is not just due to good pitching and their park; their ERA- of 105 (following park adjustment, higher numbers are worse) is the 21st in baseball.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how well the Marlins can maintain their already putrid wOBA and wRC+ marks offensively with a lineup that is now bereft of good hitters until Giancarlo Stanton returns.

Stadium: Marlins Park

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 344
Left-Center 386
Center Field 418
Right-Center 392
Right Field 335

Series Preview

As always, here at Fish Stripes we bring you the best of other SB Nation blogs when their teams come to visit. For the Padres series, I sent a few questions to Axion of SB Nation's Padres blog Gaslamp Ball to answer five questions about the Padres heading into this series. Of course, he had his own set of questions for me, and you should definitely check out the site's series preview as well.

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1) How do you feel about the Carlos Quentin extension?

Personally, I like the extension. The Padres have been starved offensively for so long that it's nice to have someone you can call a legitimate "bat" in the lineup. Quentin's also a local product (I think this is important to fans, I'm not sure of its actual value), he seems to be a good guy, and a positive influence on the young players, so I feel that the few days off for preservation he'd get a season are outweighed by those factors. Emphasis on the bat, of course. He's also not preventing shining, young OF prospects that will be ready for next year and possibly even the year after, so it makes sense to get that position taken care of with a proven bat. I really like saying that we have a bat.

2) I heard Huston Street was being considered for an extension. Why are the Padres considering signing a closer to a free-agent extension when the team has done such a good job developing bullpen pieces? Where does this leave Luke Gregerson?
Fellow Gaslamp Ball Intern Wonko (http://www.sbnation.com/users/Wonko) pinch-hit for me on this answer:

The Padres are considering signing Street to an extension because the have some extra money to burn. They basically have their INF, C, SP and LF/CF situations figured out for the near term. On top of that it's unlikely they can spend on RF and they have a top prospect (Liriano) on the way at the position. So, that leaves money free for relief pitching. I think they feel they can get a deal (a discount?) with Huston Street if they lock him up before free agency. On top of that their current relief staff is pretty shaky, including Gregerson who is really a just a guy who gets righties out at a high rate and mostly relies luck and ballpark with lefties. So, Street can lock down the ninth, give confidence to a young team when he locks down the ninth, and leaves everyone else to find their roles to set that up.

3) What will it take to pry Chase Headley from the Padres in a trade?

Top Prospects! I think Padres fans are looking for a similar haul that was acquired in the Latos trade with Cincinnati: two top prospects at the very least, and perhaps a veteran. The Padres aren't in a position of needing to trade Headley before the deadline; he isn't a free agent until 2015, so that's either value or cause for lack of urgency. There are also replacements waiting in the wings in Logan Forsythe (3B is Forsythe's natural position) and Jedd Gyorko (pronounced Jerk-O, by the way). Gyorko is, and stop me if you've heard this one, "is crushing it in the PCL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_League)," a league where all the offensive stats are inflated to a certain degree. Bringing it back to the first answer: there's two players waiting behind Headley, whereas there aren't many behind Quentin, thus Carlos gets the extension.

4) How will Padres fans remember Headley if and when he departs either during or after the 2012 season?

Gaslamp Ballers will always remember Chase as "The Savior." This nickname was derived from a radio interview quote from then GM Kevin Towers, who, in the midst of a terrible 2008 performance from Kevin Kouzmanoff, assured fans that Chase Headley (who was crushing it in the PCL, I tell you) was *not*, in fact, "the Savior" and that they didn't want to bring him up in a high pressure situation. Chase was then called up when the Padres were playing in Yankee stadium, went 2-4 in his first game, and hit a home run in his second game. Thus, The Savior was born; it was Christmas in July. Chase has always had great plate discipline, but perhaps lacks the power expected from a corner infielder, something that is probably further hampered by Petco Park. There is little doubt from me that, if he escapes Petco, he will put up numbers that will make all Padres fans mumble under their collective breath. Also, allegedly one time Mike Adams allegedly punched him in the face for complaining about the fences. Ryan Ludwick, too. Allegedly. (http://www.gaslampball.com/2012/5/10/3012132/the-padres-should-move-in-the-fences-to-prevent-violence-against)

5) What is the direction of the San Diego Padres after a little more than half of the 2012 season? Does the new front office have the team in a positive or negative direction?

I think the Josh Byrnes crew has done a good job correcting some of the mistakes of the previous regime [This is where I scream "BARTLETT! ... HUDSON!" at the sky for several minutes]. I think the Padres are expecting to go into next season as contenders for the division. I know it sounds like optimist crazy talk, but with the unreal total of injuries to the starting rotation (I think our running total was 9 SPs on the DL at one point; I've really lost count), there's a significant amount of talent in Corey Luebke, Joe Wieland, Tim Stauffer, and Anthony Bass (All but Bass were placed on the 60-day DL this season). Andrew Cashner is being groomed for the starting rotation and Casey Kelly (a top prospect) could be ready, too. Add those to the stalwarts of this season; Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard, and you're looking at a team that goes from bringing Kip Wells and Jeff Suppan back to baseball to a team with an embarrassment of riches and some tough decisions to make come next spring training.

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I want to thank Axion for answering those questions for me. He had a few questions for me, and here is a preview.

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What should Gaslamp Ballers know about the Marlins coming in to this series?

Gaslamp Ballers should know that the Miami Marlins are coming into this series bereft of wins and fairly empty in terms of good position players. Because so many of the players the team depended on this season have under-performed, the club already looked bad offensively. Now that the team dealt Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante among their position players, it looks like the Marlins are running out a slew of Triple-A tryouts surrounding Carlos Lee, Logan Morrison, and Jose Reyes to fill in the time before Giancarlo Stanton returns.

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Check out his Q&A for the rest of the set, which includes a fun question about Heath Bell, everyone's favorite Marlins reliever! Good luck to the Padres and their fans for this series!

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