The Miami Marlins are on a seven-game win streak, and tonight they look to make that eight straight by taking on a the Houston Astros in the second game of their three-game series. Whereas last night the Marlins did it on the back of strong pitching from the surprising Carlos Zambrano, tonight they look to do it with the steady hand of Anibal Sanchez, who has thus far been the best pitcher on the team.
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The Marlins send Anibal Sanchez to the mound, and he will look to continue his massive success of a 2012 season thus far. As you can see, all of his peripherals and ERA numbers point to a successful campaign. What is interesting is that Sanchez has done this without decreasing his contact rates significantly, meaning he has either gotten more called strikes or he has gotten well-timed placement of his swinging strikes, leading to more strikeouts. Either way, his performance thus far has been strong, and while I do not think he will continue to do this well, Marlins fans are hoping to ride this hot streak as long as possible.
Aneury Rodriguez is making his first start of 2012, but his 2011 was not exactly encouraging. He posted a 5.27 ERA and 4.70 FIP last season, mostly due to his inordinate number of home runs allowed (13 in 85 1/3 innings). He flashes a pretty basic set of pitches with a curveball along with a slider thrown in there as breaking pitches. There is nothing really special about his game, so the Marlins may be able to take some advantage of him.
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The Marlins are putting out the same lineup as last night, and last night the lineup certainly worked out, as it blasted three home runs off of the Astros. The team is looking to continue its relative hitting roll with the club's best lineup in terms of personnel.
It has been brought up that the Marlins have held onto this lineup despite the surge of Giancarlo Stanton back up to his top form. Stanton is red-hot right now, yet he has still not been moved up in favor of Omar Infante, who is hitting a respectable .286/.344/.393 in May. I am no advocate of moving players up and down the lineup just because of one or two weeks' worth of strong performance, but since Ozzie Guillen is, it is puzzling why he has not done so with Stanton.
- Over at SB Nation's The Crawfish Boxes, clack looks back at the hitting streak of one Willy Taveras. This was the brightest spot in his career, as Taveras was never able to follow in the footsteps of other mediocre speedsters like Juan Pierre.
Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Astros 4-1