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Miami Marlins Series Preview: Cincinnati Reds

In this installment of our series previews, Jesse Nadelman takes a look at the Marlins upcoming series at home as the Cincinnati Reds come to town this weekend.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds (38-44) at Miami Marlins (35-50)

Thursday July 8th to Sunday July 11th

Marlins Park, Miami, Florida

Game Details

Thursday

7:10 P.M. E.T.

TV: FSN-Florida

Radio: 940 AM WINZ, WAQI 710

Probable Starters:

CIN- TBA

MIA- Jose Fernandez (1-0) 4.50 ERA

Friday

7:10 P.M. E.T.

TV: FSN-Florida

Radio: 940 AM WINZ, WAQI 710

Probable Starters:

CIN- TBA

MIA- David Phelps (4-4) 4.03 ERA

Saturday

4:10 P.M. E.T.

TV: FSN-Florida

Radio: 940 AM WINZ, WAQI 710

Probable Starters:

CIN- Mike Leake (5-5) 4.39 ERA

MIA- Mat Latos (3-6) 4.90 ERA

Sunday

1:10 P.M. E.T.

TV: FSN-Florida

Radio: 940 AM WINZ, WAQI 710

Probable Starters:

CIN- Anthony DeSclafani (5-6) 3.65 ERA

MIA- Dan Haren (6-5) 3.34 ERA

Overview:

The Marlins will head back to Marlins Park following another disappointing road-trip. The Fish lost two straight series', winning just one game on the road-trip, most recently getting swept by the Red Sox in a brief two-game set at Fenway Park.

The Marlins dropped the first game on Tuesday night following a decision by Dan Jennings to remove Dan Haren from the game. Steve Cishek would enter for the Marlins, and blow the lead, setting up for a 4-3 Miami loss. The Marlins lost the finale on Wednesday night following two RBIs from "Big Papi", David Ortiz.

The Marlins' offense has been ailing lately without Giancarlo Stanton, as the club scored just ten runs over six games on this road-trip. The Fish have an OPS+ of just 88, which is below the league average of 94. The Marlins are now hitting just .226/.297/.374 in the month of July, numbers that have gotten progressively worse for the Fish each month. Giancarlo Stanton had 27 homeruns for the Marlins before he was injured, and led the team with a WAR of 3.8.

Fangraphs now gives the Marlins just a 0.3% chance to make the playoffs as a wild-card team, as the Fish now sit 15 games below the .500 mark. The Marlins are eleven and a half games back of Washington for first place in the NL East and enter this series with a home record of 21-22.

The All-Star game hosts, Cincinnati Reds, will come to Marlins Park for a four-game series with the Fish this weekend. With the Reds buried in the NL Central standings, it seems likely that they will be moving some of their key pieces like Johnny Cueto as the trade deadline approaches.

The Reds' offense certainly has not lived up to the hype being that it contains such stars like Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips. The Reds are hitting a mediocre .249/.314/.403 on the season. The Reds have struggled greatly to score runs on the road especially, with the club having just 142 RBIs this season. In May and June the Reds hit over .320, but in July and August Cincinnati's batting averages are below .320.

On the other hand, the Reds' pitching rotation has been decent, but it could get much worse after the trading deadline. Both starters Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake are candidates to be traded, and a loss of Cueto would drastically hurt the Reds' rotation. Cueto, the Reds' ace, has a WAR of three, and leads the team with a 2.61 ERA. Cueto pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout in a win over the Nationals in his last start. The Reds are unsure who will start Thursday and Friday due to a rain delay in their series finale matchup against Washington on Wednesday.

The Reds enter this series a massive fifteen games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central, and are six games under .500. Cincinnati holds a record of 16-26 away from Great American Ballpark this season.