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Series Preview: Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Marlins will host two in Miami and then travel for two in Tampa

Brothers from another Mothers?
Brothers from another Mothers?
Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins (22-21) have now dropped two straight series against NL East opponents and now sit 4.5 back in the division. Their run differential has dropped to -11. They have scored nine runs in their past five games. They are, in a word, slumping. The cross state rival Tampa Bay Rays (20-21) might be licking their chops coming into this one.

Opponent snapshot

Tampa Bay Rays


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The fellow Floridian team hailing from the inferior younger league comes into this Citrus Series having lost two straight to the Detroit Tigers after having taken four straight (one from said Tigers and a neat sweep of the division rival Toronto Blue Jays).

Much of the talk coming into the season concerning the Rays was that they may have sacrificed some of what had become a traditional strength of theirs (defense) for power. Looking at the snapshot above you may surmise that while they struggle to get men on base offensively, they can collectively hit the ball with authority, so mission accomplished (if, uh, that was the mission). It's too early to tell from a statistics standpoint whether or not they are actually worse defensively; indeed, any numbers you may trust to be accurate wont be borne out fully until season's end and beyond. I'm sure that Rays fans themselves have a wide variety of opinions on the matter judging from what they've seen with their own eyes.

Pitching wise, they appear to (again, collectively) have been successful at keeping the walks down, strikeouts up and a respectable team ERA (though FIP suggests they are indeed getting some decent assistance from their defense).

Though the all time Citrus Series results sit at a mere 51-48 in the Rays favor, the more recent results have been heavily skewed in Tampa Bay's favor. Indeed, since the Marlins became the Miami Marlins in 2012, they've posted an unsightly 6-14 record against their northern neighbor, including a 1-5 showing last season.

Hot Rays Hitters (last seven days, minimum ten PA)

Steve Pearce - .375/.545/.813

Logan Morrison - .368/.455/.526

Evan Longoria - .346/.370/.654

Cold Rays Hitters (last seven days, minimum ten PA)

Corey Dickerson - .176/.176/.294

Curt Casali - .154/.214/.564

Hank Conger - .091/.167/.091

Probable Pitching Match-ups
  • Monday May 23th 7:10 pm ET (Miami): Matt Moore vs. Wei-Yin Chen
  • Tuesday May 24th 12:10 pm ET (Miami): Jake Odorizzi vs. Tom Koehler
  • Wednesday May 25th 7:10 pm ET (Tampa Bay): Justin Nicolino vs. Matt Andriese
  • Thursday May 26th 1:10 pm ET (Tampa Bay): Jose Fernandez vs. Drew Smyly
Old Friends
  • Former Marlins: Jhan Marinez ('10), Logan Morrison ('10-'13), Ryan Webb ('12-'13).
  • Former Rays: Edwin Jackson ('06-'08), Derek Dietrich (MiLB)
View From The Opposite Side

Danny Russell from fellow SB Nation blog DRaysBay answered five questions for us, here are his responses!

Are the Rays meeting, beating, or defeating the expectations you had for them coming into the season?

Danny: The rotation is under achieving, the offense is pleasantly better (as advertised when the Rays acquired Corey Dickerson and Brad Miller), and the bullpen has only had one or two bad eggs. An injury to closer Brad Boxberger in Spring Training set the high leverage pitching back, but the team is pulling itself together and looks to be more than a .500 club.

Star defensive centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier left Saturday's game with a broken left hand. How long does it appear he'll be out for and what's the plan for replacing him in the interim?

Danny: The specialist reports aren't in yet, but right now it looks like 4-6 weeks. The Rays are blessed with outfield depth, so it shouldn't be a major problem, but whenever you lose the best defender in baseball to injury there will be some noticeable impact. The good news is that every outfielder on the team -- save the DH Corey Dickerson -- can man center field at a major league level. 

Give us a Rays player who has been important to the team this season that may be flying under the radar to non-Rays fans.

Danny: Erasmo Ramirez

He was the second best starter in the second half last season, but he's incredibly malleable. He met the Rays' biggest need to start the season by moving to the bullpen, and he's become the immediate go-to in high leverage situations (particularly when it's not the ninth). Erasmo could go five innings, or two, or one. He's entered the game with bases loaded five times this season and hasn't allowed a run. He's astounding, and the MVP of this club right now.

So, the Citrus Series. Rivalry or manufactured enmity?

Danny: Personal answer - Completely manufactured! Central and South Florida do not seem to have any real rivalries between them. The only thing close, in my mind, is FSU and UM, but that's neither here (Tampa) nor there (baseball). It's a novelty series for me, one I think little of before or after it happens.

Steal a Marlin: If you could take one player, coach, or member of the Marlins organization, who would you take and why?

Danny: Would anyone not say Giancarlo? The Rays are a team built on offense now, so we'll gladly take him off your hands! ... you offering?

Thanks again to Danny and check out for more about the Tampa Bay Rays!

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