The Miami Marlins are looking to recover from a poor end to a three-game set versus the division rival Philadelphia Phillies by facing the league-worst (at least by projections) Houston Astros for a three-game set. More importantly perhaps than even that is the fact that the Marlins will be returning home for the first time since their debut game on Opening Night against the St. Louis Cardinals. The team's six-game home stand coming up is the first one at the stadium, and it should be very interesting to see how well the Marlins draw this weekend with the team returning home for the first time.
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Ricky Nolasco is coming off of a great start that came with poor peripherals due to the allowance of two home runs. However, we got the typical strike-pounding Nolasco performance and a decent amount of untimely hits; he did allow two of his six hits with runners on, and one of them was a two-run homer to Joey Votto. However, because he only allowed six baserunners, Nolasco was only minimally hurt by this performance.
Harrell is a relative unknown 26-year old righty who spent most of his minor league career with the Chicago White Sox and is now getting a shot with the shallow Astros rotation. In his first outing of the season, he had a successful seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out four hitters and walking none. He also got over 70 percent of his balls in play on the ground, which seems to be his general gameplan going into tonight's tilt as well.
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The Marlins' lineup has not turned in top-notch results aside from three games in the season. The Fish scored just one run last night versus the Phillies and Joe Blanton, and as a team the club is hitting .220/.260/.373, with an OBP that ranks 15th in the National League. Of course, there is still no reason to panic about the offensive performance, but it is something that can clearly explain the Marlins' current problems: the team is simply not scoring any runs.
Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Astros 4-1.