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Marlins vs. Tigers: Game 78 Thread

Marlins aim to split pair with Tigers before trip to Atlanta

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins lost 7-5 last night in the first of a short two-game stint at Comerica Park in Detroit. A seven run fifth inning was too much for Mattingly's club to overcome, even as they cut the Tiger's lead back to only two runs, in what eventually would turn out to be the final score.

For the second week in a row, the Fish have a Wednesday matinee, this time before they board a plane and head 900 miles south to Atlanta, GA.

Here is the pitching matchup for the day...

Team Starter ERA FIP 2016 ZIPS Projected ERA
MIA Tom Koehler 4.07 4.18 4.18
DET Daniel Norris 4.50 8.49 4.67

Taking the mound will be the 30 year old hurler drafted by the Marlins in 2008, Tom Koehler. Despite an ERA north of 4.00, over his last six starts, Koehler has been extremely consistent. He has gone exactly six innings in five of those starts, with one outing where he lasted seven innings. On top of that he has struck out six or more in all but one start, allowing only three home runs over the six starts as well. To put his walks in perspective for the season, through Koehler's first ten starts, he only walked one or few batters once. In his last five starts, he has done it three times.

The pitch usage change from 2015 to 2016 for Koehler has been an increased tendency to use off speed pitches, as his slider is now his main secondary offering at about 22%, up 7% from last season. That, combined with a 9% cut in the use of his two-seam fastball, has brought with it some great outings, as well as some outings where his control has suffered. I'm not particularly surprised to see both Koehler's K% and BB% up around 3% each, as he hasn't had great command of his new off speed centric approach, but has seen his swinging strike rate climb about 2.5%. The fact of the matter is that breaking balls are harder to control, and improvement on the horizon would be expected as well as hoped for out of this Marlin's arm.

Daniel Norris on the other hand has no shortage of off-the-field storylines. Ranked in 2015 as a top 20 prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Norris's unique lifestyle came to the public after an article by ESPN. At the time he was a Blue Jays prospect, who eventually got swapped in the David Price trade that sent the current Red Sox's ace to the Blue Jays.

Norris has always featured good strikeout numbers, but like most young pitching prospects, has suffered in the control department. With most of his time spent at AAA this season, he posted a 4.68 ERA, likely inflated by his .374 BABIP and sub 65% strand rate. Last week he made his first major league start of the season, going five innings while allowing three solo home runs, but more encouragingly he walked zero and struck out five. Norris will feature heavy fastball usage, with a slider, curveball, and his primary off speed offering, a changeup.

Today's Lineup

MIAMI MARLINS DETROIT TIGERS
Ichiro Suzuki - DH Ian Kinsler - 2B
Martin Prado - 3B Cameron Maybin - CF
Christian Yelich - LF Miguel Cabrera - 1B
Marcell Ozuna - CF Victor Martinez - DH
Giancarlo Stanton - RF Nick Castellanos - 3B
Chris Johnson - 1B Justin Upton - LF
Derek Dietrich - 2B Steven Moya - RF
Adeiny Hechavarria - SS Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C
Jeff Mathis - C Jose Iglesias - SS
Tom Koehler - RHP Daniel Norris - LHP

Notes...

  • After the longest slump of Stanton's career, it is great to see him in the lineup for this matinee, as he seems to have found his stroke. Including his laser beam home run to center field last night, Stanton has five extra base hits in his last seven games, three of those being home runs. While he is still striking out at a pace that we hope to see improve, he does not look nearly as lost at the plate. With five of his 15 homers this season off lefties, there is a nice chance that Stanton should be able to put one in the seats today versus Norris. If he connects on a long ball, it would be just the second time this season he has homered in two or more games straight. By this time last year, Stanton had homered in consecutive games five times.
  • In the betting world, the Tigers are favored at -130, while the Marlins sit at +120. The over is being favored for the matchup as well, set at 9.5 with a favorite of -125. Offense is expected, especially with two pitchers on the mound who can prove shaky if their control isn't in on.

Prediction: Marlins edge by Tigers for split of 2 game series 6-5.