The San Francisco Giants first stop after the All Star Break is Miami to face the Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins for a 3-game series. The two teams split a 4-game series in San Francisco in May. The Marlins are playing a little better and the Giants are playing a little worse. But it’s post All Star Break so both teams should be refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.
We chatted with Ehsan Kassim, Editor for Fansided’s Marlin Maniac, and ask him a few questions about what to expect in this series and what he thinks the Marlins chances are of being a playoff team after such a disappointing start to the season.
He also asked us a few questions and you can read what we had to tell them over there – Q&A with Around the Foghorn
AROUND THE FOGHORN: The Marlins are 7.5 games back in their division and just got swept by the Mets before the All Star Break. Is there any (good) chance the Marlins can win their division or a wild card spot?
EHSAN KASSIM: I want to say yes as a fan, but my gut has told me from the onset that this Marlins team is not destined to be a playoff team. The offense has too many holes and the starting pitching will have a tough time holding up, as they already have, with Jose Fernandez gone for the season. Missing the playoffs is not going to be a disappointing season for the Marlins, coming off on a 100-loss season. They are currently on pace to win 75-games. That’s a 13-game improvement from last season. If someone told me that the Marlins would lose Fernandez a quarter into the season and still be in the playoff hunt in July, I would have taken it, minus the Fernandez injury, of course.
ATF: Casey McGehee is leading your team with a .319 average and is one of the NL leaders. To be honest, before this season, I barely knew who he was. What can you tell us about him and has this season (his 1st with the Marlins) been what you expected?
EK: McGehee has always been an interesting player. When he first came up with the Brewers, he flashed top notch power. However, his plate discipline issues caught up to him and sent him to Japan. In Japan, he learned to hit the off-speed stuff and his success last year over there has translated in Miami. He however is not a power hitter anymore, as he has just one home run and looks the part of a slap hitter, ala Juan Pierre. His .319 average is nice, but I do believe his stock will come down to earth in the second half, as that BABIP is still extremely inflated. If the Marlins were smart (which they don’t seem to be), they’d deal McGehee while his trade value is the highest, right around the trading deadline.
ATF: Giancarlo Stanton. 3-Part question – What has his presence meant for Miami baseball? Will the Marlins be able to keep him throughout his career? Can we have him, pretty please?
EK: Giancarlo Stanton is in the early conversation for NL MVP and has been a major reason why the Marlins are only 7.5 games out of the division. Even without Jose Fernandez, his power gives the Marlins a running start at trying to become a contender. His presence in the lineup is very much like Barry Bonds‘ presence in the Giants lineup during the early 2000’s. Do wish we could see him break Barry’s 72 home run mark, but that’s a tough one.
I don’t believe Stanton will be a Marlin after this season. I believe the team will offer him an extension in the off-season only to see him turn it down. He’s way too close to cashing in on free agency to take any short of discount with Miami right now.
Give us your farm system and we’ll consider it.
ATF: Has anyone stepped up to fill the gaping hole in the rotation from Jose Fernandez? Any word on how he’s progressing?
EK: Henderson Alvarez has stepped up big time. He went from being a pitcher that I felt would eventually find his way out of the rotation once some of the Marlins top prospects came to town to a guy I think could be a mainstay as the #2 guy. His ERA currently ranks 6th in baseball and despite not making an appearance, he was selected to the ASG as an injury replacement.
Jose should be about a year away from pitching for the Fish again. The Marlins have put a 14-month timetable on his return and we cannot wait to see him pitch again.
ATF: Can you give us a scouting report on the pitching we’ll be facing in this series?
EK: Nathan Eovaldi and his elite fastball get the ball tonight. His fastball velocity has been near the top since he entered the league. If he can get his off-speed pitches gong and start racking up strikeouts again, he can be a very dangerous pitcher for the Fish.
The aforementioned Alvarez gets the ball in game 2. He’s been the Marlins ace since Jose went down. As long as he can keep the ball on the ground, he should avoid getting hit around, like he did last time out against the Mets.
Brand Hand is going in the finale and he’s a talented left hander that has yet to put things fully together. His stuff is good, but he has trouble locating his pitches a lot of the time and it usually spells trouble.
ATF: Series predictions?
EK: Giants take 2 of 3, but Giancarlo Stanton does go deep not once, not twice, but three times in the series.