Monday, June 29, 2009

Marlins Series Preview

Monday: Scott Olsen at Ricky Nolasco

Tuesday: Jordan Zimmermann at Sean West

Wednesday: Ross Detwiler at Josh Johnson

Talk about two teams trying to build around young pitching. Ricky Nolasco is the older pitcher starting in this series, and he is only 26. Olsen and Johnson are 25, and the other three guys are born in 1986, when it was still Hip to Be Square (note, Bale says 1987, which is incorrect, as “Fore” was released in 1986).

Nolasco has been experiencing his own Jekyll and Hyde act, though he has been much more Jekyll than Hyde recently. The Marlins gave him a couple weeks off at the end of May, and since then, he has regained his 2008 form (Rizzo, take notes). Josh Johnson is in the running for Cy Young, and Sean West is showing that he may be capable of replicating Johnson’s success. The Marlins have not been able to take control of this division for three reasons. First, until recently, the back end of their rotation was unsettled, much like the Nats. Now that Nolasco, West, and Andrew Miller have settled in, they have five guys that have potential frontline stuff. Second, they start the man known as “The Worst Everyday Player in Baseball”. They also choose to bat him near the top of the order. Finally, they don’t get to play the Nats everyday, to who they have yet to lose this season in six games.

The Marlins are an average offensive team, and despite their pitching prowess, a bad defensive team. Not quite as bad as the Nats, but certainly bottom third. And given the fact many of these bad fielders are young, emerging hitters, they don’t look to be getting better. Much like the Red Sox series, the Nats need to focus putting the ball in play. Dolphin Stadium is a pitcher’s park, so the key will be to work the defense and not let them off the hook.

The Nats may have dropped the first six against the fish, but that was a different team. The Marlins haven’t seen J Zimm or Detwiler, and Olsen could be out for blood because he is an angry young man. It should be noted that the Nats are 0-6 in the state of Florida, also having been swept by the Rays. One win out of three would be a nice start.

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