The San Francisco Giants face the Miami Marlins tonight at AT&T Park for the first time this season. The Marlins have the best home record and the worst road record in baseball. Go figure. We chatted with Ehsan Kassim, the editor of Marlins Maniac and asked a few questions about what can expect from the Marlins this weekend. He also did the same over there, so you can head over there and read it if you’re interested.
ATF: The Marlins, by far, have the best home record in MLB. What is it about home that causes them to play so much better? Is there some voodoo in that big ugly thing in centerfield?
Ehsan: In the Braves view, the Marlins are better are at home because they cheat. In reality, the Marlins seem to be more relaxed at home. The pitchers don’t try to force pitches and the hitters are not trying to hit every ball out of the park. This tends to be the case for most young teams. I’d expect some regression to the mean both at home and on the road as the season continues.
ATF: Jose Fernandez. All of baseball is sad for this kid. This is obviously big, but how big, and what is the Marlins plan to replace him?
Ehsan: Jose Fernandez being out for a prolonged period is a major loss for the sport. I cannot remember a pitcher that generated as much excitement as Jose every time he took the field.
ATF: Stanton does well against most Giants pitchers. He owns Bumgarner (though won’t face him on this trip). What do you expect from him this series? Any wild card player?
Ehsan: Stanton always does well when the Marlins head west. He is in the middle of a career high 16-game hitting streak and has a .430 wOBA on the season. His 2.5 WAR actually ranks second behind Troy Tulowitzki in baseball. I’d expect Stanton to hit at least two home runs in San Fran and continue his hitting streak to 20.
A player the Giants need to watch is Christian Yelich. The kid can hit and is improving each time he comes to the plate. He has recently discovered his power stroke. I’d expect him to have a big series.
ATF: What can you tell us about the pitching we’ll see this series?
Ehsan: Nathan Eovaldi is now the Marlins ace with Fernandez gone for the season. He has sure pitched like it this season. He has a 2.86 ERA, a 2.95 FIP, and is striking out over 8.5 hitters per 9 innings. He has the third fastest fastball this season.
Henderson Alvarez is an enigma. One start he has no hit stuff, the next he’ll surrender 4-5 runs and looks lost. Hopefully the good Alvarez shows upFriday.
Tom Koheler is finally headed towards regression. He is not close to the 2.57 ERA pitcher he has been this season. His 4.47 FIP is a better indicator of the pitcher he is. Koehler doesn’t strike out enough and walks too many hitters to be anything more than a fifth guy in a rotation.
Jacob Turner gets the ball in the finale. The once top prospect is floundering with the Marlins. He is making his 5th start of the season, after missing a couple of weeks with an elbow injury. Like Alvarez and Eovaldi, Turner depends on ground balls to get his outs.
ATF: Prediction for the series?
Ehsan: I think the Giants take three of four. Eovaldi should carry the Marlins to a win Thursday night, but the rest of the rotation doesn’t have enough firepower to get the Marlins a series split.