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Marlins vs. Pirates: Game 121 Thread

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Marlins hope to end three game skid behind Koehler, head to PNC to face Gerrit Cole.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have lost their last three games and six of their last eight as they continue a tour of the NL Central, tonight taking on the Pirates and slumping ace Gerrit Cole.

Tom Koehler will take the ball for the Marlins as he is currently in one of the better five game stretches of his career, dropping his ERA from 4.86 to 3.68 with a 28/7 strikeout to walk ratio in the process. The consistency in his raw whiff totals for both his slider and curve display how well he has thrown his breaking pitches. Combined between the two pitches, he is averaging an even 10 swinging strikes per outing, after fluctuating anywhere between one and 17 previously. A dice roll was the best way to estimate how he would do on a given day earlier in the season.

With Adam Conley on the DL and Jose Fernandez struggling last night, Koehler's presence on the mound will be vital to the Marlins lingering 2.5 games back of the second wild card.

Koeh-Cole Battle

Despite the similarity in their names, both pitchers have taken different paths to this point in the season. With Koehler just coming around now, Cole still hasn't kicked his season into gear. He didn't necessarily start off bad in the months of April and May, but the production just hasn't been that of his 2015, 2.60 ERA self. With a pretty similar FIP in comparison to last year, the noticeable dip has been in the strikeout department, coupled with a slight fall off in control as well. His strikeout rate has gone from 24.3% to 19.6% with a one percent jump in his walk rate.

Otherwise, Cole's regression has been somewhat of a mystery to me once you look beyond the simple drop in swinging strikes (Down about 2% from 2015). His velocity is nearly identical and usage is very comparable. Brooks Baseball does show a change in his horizontal release point, but a direct correlation of that change to a few less swinging strikes wouldn't be likely as I have toyed with a lot of Brooks Baseball data tying to pitcher success.

The other noticeable stat is that on ERA alone, Cole has struggled on the road and excelled at home. His FIPs on the other hand lineup just about even when looking at home versus road, with a slight advantage to his road performance.

Scruggs

Recently called up from AAA, he'll be starting at first base and batting sixth.

In 92 games down on the farm, Scuggs mashed 21 homers in 93 games with a 15% walk rate and a 24% strikeout rate.

The Marlins would want nothing more than to see his .565 SLG translate this time around. His two previous Major League stints with the Cardinals haven't even given him his first Major League homer. Fingers crossed tonight is that night.

Today's Lineups

MIAMI MARLINS PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Dee Gordon - 2B Josh Harrison - 2B
Martin Prado - 3B Starling Marte - LF
Christian Yelich - CF Andrew McCutchen - CF
Marcell Ozuna - RF Gregory Polanco - RF
J.T. Realmuto - C David Freese - 1B
Xavier Scruggs - 1B Jung Ho Kang - 3B
Robert Andino - LF Francisco Cervelli - C
Miguel Rojas - SS Jordy Mercer - SS
Tom Koehler - RHP Gerrit Cole - RHP
Prediction: Koehler out duels Cole, Pirates win 4-2