On The Field
The Marlins played four games this week, two against the Minnesota Twins and one against the San Diego Padres. In home games against the Twins, Miami posted back-to-back wins. The Marlins then dropped a series opener against the Padres at Marlins Park, but that was followed by a fantastic 7-1 win the following night.
Fish Stripes Coverage
With MLB's non-waiver trade deadline right around the corner (July 31st), the Marlins' most buzzed about trade prospect would spend his past couple of starts auditioning.
Nolasco's June 16th start against the St. Louis Cardinals was one of his last three games as a Marlins starter before the deadline. In short, he was sharp. The Cardinals mustered just one run on three hits against the Marlins' righty. Nolasco added on four strikeouts while allowing just one base on balls.
His next two starts weren't as illuminating. Against the San Francisco Giants on June 21st, Nolasco couldn't make it further than five innings. He did hold the Giants to three runs, but would surrender nine hits while striking out just one in his five frames.
In contrast with his performance against the Cardinals, Nolasco's outing at Petco Park, to face the San Diego Padres, was a struggle. In the Padres' notoriously pitcher friendly ballpark, San Diego managed to knock Nolasco around in his five innings. The righty watched his pitches get knocked 11 times for base hits. Though striking out six and walking none, Nolasco gave up five earned runs with the Padres on their way to a 9-2 win.
What's striking about those starts is this: Nolasco pitched a seven inning gem against the Cardinals (tops in the NL in BA and OBP) and struggled so mightily against the Padres (8th in BA, 9th in OBP).
The Padres have been swinging better than they're known for lately. Couple that with the fact that bad starts against bad teams just happen, and you've got a largely irrelevant set of outings. But, with the deadline so close and Nolasco as talked about as he is (rumored to be drawing interest from the Padres, Giants, Dodgers, others), his last few starts stand to mean more now than they would at any other point in the regular season.
The Marlins' record on the season stands at an abysmal 28-51. They're dead last in the NL in practically every offensive category. The team's pitching has been anemic for most of the season, with the exception of brights starts from Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi. Bear with me, there's a point to this.
As awful as the Marlins have been, Miami's arms have combined for a surprising stretch. In their last 11 games, the Marlins have held opponents to three runs or fewer on ten occasions.
There are a couple of interesting notes concerning this run.
-The Marlins won seven on those 10 games.
-Miami has also allowed teams some healthy hacks, totaling 69 hits over the ten-game stretch.
-Though dealing with plenty of contact from opposing bats, the Marlins leveraged some solid defense and a limited home run count (five opposing homers) into some wins.
-The Marlins also struck out 59 batters in those ten games.
Plays of the Week
-Steve Cishek forces a fly ball from Joe Mauer (he of .325/.409/.488) to end the game and record his 14th save of the season.
-Jeff Mathis hits his first homer of the year against the Twins.
-Placido Polanco follows Mathis up with his own shot against the Twins The Marlins' third baseman puts the barrel on a high fastball , blasting it to left field for a two run homer en route to a 5-3 win.
-I think I'm going to have one Adeiny Hechavarria play per post. His combination of range, footwork, and good arm make for a highlight-reel-friendly style of defense. Here, the Marlins shortstop throws out Scott Diamond on a great play.
-Not quite a top play, but certainly one of dispute for the Marlins. Rob Brantly initially looked like he made the tag. Instead, the runner is called safe and Hechavarria is handed the error. Thoughts?
The Marlins start next week off with their series finale against the Padres on Monday.
The following day, Miami starts a three-game series against the daunting Atlanta Braves. As things stand, the projected starters for this series are Tom Koehler, Ricky Nolasco, and Jacob Turner. It remains to be seen if Nolasco will be pitching in a Marlins jersey.
Friday sees the Marlins finish their busy week off with a series opener against the Cardinals, with a Miami starter yet to be announced. The Marlins took two of three against St. Louis in their last series.