clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami Marlins Series Preview: @ Colorado Rockies

Look at them, celebrating their "winning." Feels like months since we did that kind of celebrating. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Look at them, celebrating their "winning." Feels like months since we did that kind of celebrating. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Miami Marlins did not fare well in their recent six-game home stand, dropping four of six games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins are now heading out on a West Coast trip and their first stop is in Colorado to face the Colorado Rockies. The good news is the Rockies have not been much better or worse than the Marlins have been this season, so that makes us perfect opponents to face off in a three-game set in Coors Field that should have been more important had both teams done as they were expected at the start of the year.

Tale of the Tape

Marlins Stat (Rank) Rockies
.301 (25) wOBA .333 (5)
84 (28) wRC+ 97 (T-13)
4.10 (20) ERA 5.43 (30)
3.87 (T-10) FIP 4.71 (29)

Obviously, you can see the Rockies' numbers are inflated on both ends due to their extreme scoring environment. Their hitters are bound to look better than they probably are because Coors Field is carrying the ball so well, but their pitchers are bound to look worse as well because of the same reason. Of course, for the Rockies, their pitchers have actually done poorly; the Rockies' ERA- of 124 is the highest in baseball (in the case of FanGraphs' "minus" stats, the higher, the worse) and the FIP- of 108 is the fifth worst in baseball.

Stadium: Coors Field

Area Dimensions (ft)
Left Field 347
Left-Center 390
Center Field 415
Right-Center 375
Right Field 350

Five-Year Run PF*: 1.10
Five-Year Home Run PF*: 1.12

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

As you know, Coors Field is expansive in part because, if it were not, we would see a lot more home runs than we do now. But the problem with an expansive stadium like that is that it is a burden on the fielders and does tend to also allow more doubles and triples. Combine that with the home run aspect and Coors Field is a hitting haven, though it is not close to what it once was 12 or so years ago.

Series Preview

To preview the Marlins / Rockies series, I asked Andrew Martin of the SB Nation Rockies blog Purple Row a few questions. He also sent me some questions so that I could answer them in his own series preview. Check out what Andrew had to say about these five questions.


1) The Colorado Rockies were at least expected to compete in the NL West. In a nutshell, what has gone wrong in 2012?

In a nutshell, practically the worst case scenario. Guthrie lost a couple of inches on his fastball thanks to Coors' thin air. Tulo got hurt. Chacin got hurt. De La Rosa's recovery from TJS hit like 1000 setbacks. A lot of young pitchers who weren't ready for the show were forced to the majors due to the fact that their MLB compadres had either broken or crapped the bed. To sum, injury and inexperience sunk this season.

2) The Rockies went to a new rotation in midseason, going to four starters on low pitch counts and paired swingman relievers. How has that experiment worked out thus far?
Team ERA by month:
June: 5.88
July: 5.16
August: 6.15

Honestly, it's really hard to say. The paired pitching experiment is designed to reduce pitcher workloads, so essentially the Rockies have 4 starting pitchers, 4 piggyback pitchers, and 3 or 4 late relievers. The idea is that through 75 pitches, the Starting pitchers get you at least into the 5th. The piggybacker then gives you 2 or 3 innings, and then you hand it off to the closing staff as normal. I can see this as beneficial in two different ways (assuming it works): 1. Pitchers MIGHT stay healthier with reduced workloads; 2. You can ease younger starting prospects into the rotation by putting them into the piggybacker role. We've seen teams put their stud starting prospect in as the closer (Neftali Feliz, David Price), so why not give young prospects a bit more workload as we ease them into the majors?

To answer the question, it doesn't look like it's working. HOWEVER, this isn't necessarily an indictment of the experiment, but a further reflection of the inexperience/inadequacy of the guys we have pitching. I do think that a rotation that somehow involves Jhoulys Chacin, Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Juan Nicasio, Jorge De La Rosa, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood, and I guess Jeff Francis can be mixed and matched with guys like Josh Roenicke and Adam Ottavino to somehow make this system work. But if all of your guys are hurt or all rookies and you have no other options, then no pitching system is going to work.

3) What are you watching for in the remainder of the 2012 season?

Pretty sure Michael Cuddyer is on suicide watch at this point.

Seriously, watching Pomeranz, White, and Chatwood for indications if they actually ARE MLB-ready.

Watching Josh Rutledge because he's awesome. Watching guys like Eric Young Jr, Tyler Colvin, Charlie Blackmon (AAA), Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, and Johnny Herrera, in part because some of them are awesome, and in other part that a few of them are very likely to be trade candidates this offseason.
Watching Wilin Rosario grow into something simply awesome.

4) What positive can you take out of this year?

Well, the aforementioned Wilin Rosario is exciting to watch. Seeing Eric Young Jr continue to find ways to fly in the face of the pundits and continue to get better despite all wisdom suggesting that he's already peaked. Watching Josh Rutledge do things is also pretty exciting. There's a lot of good to see on this team, and the character of a lot of players really comes out when the team sucks.

I should mention that Dexter Fowler's emergence as being a legit bat has been pretty exciting to watch. He's been on a downturn lately, but his peak back in May was pretty sick.

5) What direction do you think the Colorado front office has this team going in the future?

It's really, really hard to say. We have 2 studs in Tulo and Cargo, a corps of promising starting prospects around guys like DLR and Chacin, and a generally solid bullpen - for now. The issue this front office has had and continues to have is that they don't know when to part with prospects and/or MLB players in order to bring up the next wave of talent and/or make a trade to fill a hole in the roster. They are too connected to their own creation. I've called for a new GM before, but ownership is loyal to a fault.

They're likely going to keep on trying to build from within, but I really think Colorado needs a new front office, new manager, etc.


I want to thank Andrew for taking the time to answer my questions. He had a few of his own for the Marlins in 2012, and here's a preview of what you can see over at Purple Row.


1) So I guess the big question for you is "what on earth happened?" I'm looking through the team numbers, and there just doesn't seem to be any one particular glaring hole.

In short, almost every player on the Miami Marlins performed below their preseason expectations. The Marlins were expected to do well offensively in 2012, provided Hanley Ramirez just regressed to his mean a little and the rest of the players performed on par. Instead, five of the team's eight regular starters went well below expectations begin the season, with the total costing the Marlins fifty runs through the start of the second half. The players who did play up to expectations did not exceed them enough to make up for it.

Combine that with a late-season collapse of two of the team's starting pitchers and multiple injuries to starting players and you get exactly what happened; the Marlins went from potential contenders to trade deadline sellers. With the team trading two players and injuries taking a few others at various times, the Marlins now look like a decimated team aside from the still-good core.


Again, thanks to Andrew for answering my questions and sending his own, and good luck to both sides in this series!