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Game 64: Miami Marlins @ Tampa Bay Rays, Game Thread and Ichthyomancy

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3 game series vs Rays @ Tropicana Field

Miami Marlins
@ Tampa Bay Rays

Friday, Jun 15, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Tropicana Field

Carlos Zambrano vs Matt Moore

. Game time temperature around .

Complete Coverage >

Sat 06/16 7:15 PM EDT
Sun 06/17 1:40 PM EDT

The Miami Marlins are coming off an awful home stand which saw them lose seven of eight games, so the team is desperate to recover their winning ways. Hopefully, the Fish can do this starting tonight, as they begin a nine-game road trip that starts just a couple of hours up I-75 in Tampa, as the team visits the Tampa Bay Rays for three games. The last time these two teams met was, well, last week, when the Rays swept the Fish in south Florida.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Rays
.305 (25) wOBA .308 (22)
86 (T-27) wRC+ 97 (T-14)
3.97 (T-14) ERA 3.69 (8)
3.60 (4) FIP 3.92 (15)

The Marlins' numbers here, particularly in the pitching category, have ballooned since the start of the month. Part of the problem has been the fact that the Fish have been on the wrong end of a series of blowouts, the most recent of which being a 10-2 spanking handed out by the Boston Red Sox. Still, the blowouts have been late-game failures of the bullpen rather than the woes of the starting rotation. Marlins starters are still eighth in baseball in ERA and fifth in FIP, so they are holding up their end. The pen, on the other hand, has fallen to 25th in baseball with a 4.37 ERA despite a 3.48 FIP that ranks fifth in basebal as well. The Marlns' pen is second to last in baseball in stranding baserunners right now despite their solid performance, but all of that should normalize in time.

Stadium: Tropicana Field

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 317
Left-Center 370
Center Field 404
Right-Center 370
Right Field 322

Five-Year Run PF*: 0.96Five-Year Home Run PF*: 0.98

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

The Marlins will visit Tropicana Field, which has played as a pitcher friendly park over the years. The dimensions are nicer than out club's spacious park. Outside from those pesky catwalks, there is really nothing else to mention about the park. I hope the Rays fans actually show up, as they have not been doing despite the team's competitiveness. Tampa Bay is averaging just under 20,000 per night at the park, the third-worst attendance in baseball ahead of just Oakland and Cleveland. The Fish, if you are interested, are holding steady at 28,551, 15th in the league.

Pitching Matchup

Proj Win% Proj ERA FIP ERA Marlins Rays ERA FIP Proj ERA Proj Win%
.472 4.20 3.97 3.55 Zambrano Moore 4.59 4.65 3.97 .498

This is a rematch from the 13-4 Rays victory from earlier in this past home stand. Zambrano gave up seven runs in just over two innings in that game and was immediately pulled due to low back tightness. As a precautionary measure, Ozzie Guillen told not to take full batting practice and swing so hard anymore, just in case hitting is causing the problems that led to his awful outing last time. Hopefully Big Z's back is back in good health and he can perform better, as he was out of control last Saturday.

Matt Moore was not much better in his start, though it is easy to do well when your team spots you seven runs so quickly. Moore did strike out nine batters but gave up another home run in six innings and let four more runs come through. Of course, prior to his final inning, he had been mowing down Marlins, so it was hard to complain about his start, and the Rays are hoping he can continue to do well and just avoid that big inning.

Lineup

Order Player Proj wOBA vs. LHP
1 Jose Reyes .350
2 Hanley Ramirez .373
3 Giancarlo Stanton .408
4 Logan Morrison .326
5 Omar Infante .331
6 Justin Ruggiano .315
7 Austin Kearns .326
8 Gaby Sanchez .350
9 John Buck .313

Ozzie Guillen is shaking the lineup up tonight, moving the struggling Hanley Ramirez to the second spot in the order while shifting the equally struggling Giancarlo Stanton up to third and the hot-hitting Logan Morrison to the cleanup spot. I am actually unsure what this move was even supposed to accomplish, as it provides no one extra "protection" and just happens to move a left-hander into one of the three important spots in cleanup against a lefty starter. Ironically, this alignment, despite its silliness against lefties, is actually not a bad one based on the projections shown. Yes, Gaby Sanchez projects better against lefties, but with his mighty struggles, it is difficult to justify bating him higher in the lineup. Other than him, the team has their best five hitters in the top five slots with only Stanton out of place batting third instead of fourth.

Notes

- In a series of important moves for the Rays, they sent designated hitter Luke Scott to the DL and will begin Evan Longoria's rehab assignment on Saturday. (H/T's DRaysBay and DRaysBay).

- With Matt Moore starting tonight, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says he needs to improve his breaking ball to be effective against lefties. This may be good for Logan Morrison.

- As expected, the Marlins called up Scott Cousins from Triple-A to replace Chris Coghlan.

Bold Prediction: Rays def. Marlins 4-2