Sitting seven games above the .500 mark as we near the middle of August, the Marlins enter a rubber match with one of the strongest teams in the National League, the San Francisco Giants. A week which has featured two unfortunate events - a 14 inning loss Monday and A.J. Ramos hitting the DL - can only trend upwards from here. A series win versus the Giants might just be the start of that trend.
Today's 12:10 ET start will feature Jeff Samardzija and new starter David Phelps.
|Team||Starter||ERA||FIP||2016 ZIPS Projected ERA|
|MIA||David Phelps||2.45||2.76||3.81 |
After spending his entire career post draft day with the New York Yankees, David Phelps became a Marlin in 2015, making 19 starts and accumulating 112 innings of work. While the results weren't fantastic, come 2016, the bullpen was his calling, as he set up A.J. Ramos extremely well, converting 12/13 hold opportunities. Today will mark Phelps' second start of the season, his first coming against the Rockies in Coors late last week.
Phelps faired very well, getting through 4.1 innings on a total of 70 pitches allowing no runs and punching out four, as it was clear some stretching out from the bullpen was still needed by his pitch count limit. One of the biggest positives from the outing would have to be the effective mixing of his four pitches, something he'll need to continually do in order to provide innings for the Marlins, with Wei-Yin Chen's DL stint.
Jeff Samardzija on the other hand was a big sleeper coming into the season as he made his way out west from Chicago, to a pitchers ballpark with one of the largest outfields in the game. Unfortunately for the Giants, the season as a whole has been very similar to that of last year even with the environmental changes. Just under a 7 K/9, ~6% walk rate, ~4.30 FIP, and relatively comparable BABIP and strand rate numbers have shown up for both 2015 and 2016. The interesting thing is that even though the big picture seems to show little change in results, Samardzija's repertoire has in fact changed noticeably.
He is throwing less straight fastballs, more two-seamers and cutters, and has limited the use of his sinker which he used over 13% of the time in Chicago. In a big picture sense, part of his struggles could be tied to the lack of off speed offerings which change up the velocity hitters are seeing in a given outing. His three hard offerings all sit between 92-94 on average while his sparingly used sinker sits at around 86 MPH. The slider, which has been by far his best pitch this season, is also around that 85-86 MPH mark. While the movement changes, the speed doesn't, something a lot of aging pitchers have had to deal with as their velocity decreases over time. His changing pitch mix will be something to keep an eye on for the game as he faces a Stanton-less Marlins lineup.
|SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Eduardo Nunez - 3B||Dee Gordon - 2B|
|Angel Pagan - LF||Martin Prado - 3B|
|Brandon Belt - 1B||Christian Yelich - LF|
|Buster Posey - C||Marcell Ozuna - CF|
|Brandon Crawford - SS||Derek Dietrich - 1B|
|Joe Panik - 2B||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Hunter Pence - RF||J.T. Realmuto - C|
|Gregor Blanco - CF||Adeiny Hechavarria - SS|
|Jeff Samardzija - RHP||David Phelps - RHP|
- Ichiro gets the start in RF with a day off for Stanton after it was noted he is experiencing minor hip soreness. This will be the first start of Ichiro's at home since reaching the 3,000 hit mark Sunday in Colorado.
- In the betting world at the moment, this game is very even with both teams in the minus, the Giants at -107 and the Marlins at -103. The over of 7.5 runs is favored at a -120 clip, as I suspect the various algorithms don't expect Samardzija to hold the Marlins in check for long.
Prediction - Marlins take game and series, win 6-4