Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (17-23) at Florida Marlins (24-16)

The battle for 4th place is heating up, as the Pirates have topped the Cubs three game losing streak with a six game slide of their own. Luckily for the Pirates the Cubs are heading to Florida, a state were they’ve traditionally been steamrolled. At least it’s only 2 games – the Cubs play the Marlins in a four game series later this summer.

Team Overview

Team stats and NL rank

wOBA: Fish: .317 (7th), Cubs: .326 (3rd)
UZR: Fish: 8.8 (2nd), Cubs: -6.7 (11th)
DRS: Fish: 8 (3rd), Cubs: -24 (14th)
SP FIP: Fish: 3.57 (4th), Cubs: 4.03 (9th)
RP FIP: Fish: 3.56 (6th), Cubs: 3.65 (8th)

The Marlins are pretty much a pitching and defense (and cost-controlled players) team. They play in a cavern of a ballpark, both for its size and the echoes created by how empty it is. It’s impressive that they’ve managed to field decent teams for so long. Since their World Series championship in 2003, they’ve averaged 81 wins a season.

Batters

Player wOBA ZiPS wOBA
CF Chris Coghlan .309 .340
2B All Star Omar Infante .258 .314
SS Hanley Ramirez .263 .378
1B Gaby Sanchez .413 .357
LF Logan Morrison .429 .367
RF Mike Stanton .377 .360
3B Greg Dobbs .378 .320
C John Buck .309 .324

Former Cub Omar Infante was demoted to the 8th spot in the lineup in the past week or two due to his punchless hitting in favor of Emilio Bonifacio, who was filling in for the injured Logan Morrison. Now that Morrison is back the Marlins have been swapping Bonifacio around the infield, and he could get starts in place of Infante. 

Pitchers

Player FIP ZiPS FIP
RHP Josh Johnson 2.54 2.56
RHP Matt Cain and Derrek Lee 3.30 3.20
RHP Javier Vazquez 5.39 3.81
RHP Anibal Sanchez 3.09 3.43
RHP Chris Volstad 4.34 4.23
RHP Leo Nunez 3.43 3.39
LHP Randy Choate 2.48 3.49

My fantasy teams would sure love to know what the hell is up with Vazquez. Also, ZOMG THE MARLINS HAVE ALL RH STARTERS DOOM DOOM.

Pitching Matchups

Wednesday: Ryan Dempster, RHP (6.71, 4.73, 3.27, 3.77) vs Ricky Nolasco, RHP (3.02, 3.30, 2.95, 3.20), 6:10 PM CT

Both pitchers are facing their old teams, though Nolasco never made it to the bigs with the Cubs (thanks, Juan Pierre!). Demp had his best start of the season against the Giants, striking out eleven, only walking one, and keeping the ball on the ground. He lowered his atrocious 9+ ERA to a merely awful 6.71 and it’s still falling. How long until it drops below 4.5 for the year?

Nolasco’s main skill is his control. He’s only walked 2.08 batters per nine over the course of the year, and his stinginess has continued this year. He’s a fly ball pitcher and his home park has definitely helped him out. He’s been getting more grounders this year and he’s also been hit relatively hard. He has a .279 BABIP despite a 20%+ LD rate.

Thursday: Casey Coleman, RHP (7.22, 5.89, 5.90, 4.88) vs Chris Volstad, RHP (5.77, 4.34, 3.95, 4.23), 6:10 PM CT

Get well soon, Randy Wells. Unless Doug Davis completely implodes in his next start, Coleman is probably getting the axe as soon as Wells gets back. Wells struggled in his first rehab start in Peoria, and should get one start with the I-Cubs before returning to the rotation late next week.

Volstad has posted the same FIP that he did last season, he’s just had worse luck with baserunners getting to home plate. He struggled with walks in his first few starts but has settled down since. Teams have been able to get to him, but he hasn’t been spectacularly blown out in any of his starts.

Prediction

I’ll predict another split, despite the shambolic play we saw in that last series. I wonder how many team meetings the Cubs players will have on this road trip (laughing)

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berselius

About berselius

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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