Conversations with the enemy: San Francisco Giants-Miami Marlins Q&A previewing their first series of 2015
Apr 24, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon (9) connects for an RBI double during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Gordon was tagged out by trying to reach second base. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Me: Former Dodger Dee Gordon has looked like Ted Williams in a Marlins uni. He obviously can’t keep up this pace, but do you see him putting up All-Star numbers this year? Why do you think he’s been so successful?
Ehsan: Dee Gordon has already been worth 2.1 fWAR this season. That’s something, unless he completely collapses, that cannot be taken away from him. Yes, I do think he will be in discussion for the All-Star game, as he was last season. Even if he regresses, his numbers should still be at an elite level, earning him a spot in the game.
Dee has been successful in 2015 because of his ability to put the ball in play. He has struck out in just 12 percent of his plate appearances, a major improvement over his career mark. He’s also hitting the ball on the ground more, which creates panic for infielders because of his speed.
Me: With respect to Mr. Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton is still the best hitter on the Marlins. Has he looked just as good or (gulp) better coming off his injury? How should Giants pitchers approach him?
Ehsan: I’m pretty sure everyone in baseball knows that Giancarlo is better than Dee Gordon, except a handful of Marlins fans brainwashed by Dee’s start. But Stanton’s power alone is probably better than Gordon’s entire offensive arsenal. Stanton is having a strong season so far, but he’s not quite playing at the same level as last season. I don’t think the injury has anything to do with that, as horrifying as that was.
The thing with Stanton is he hasn’t really had that one dominant spell this season, and that can likely be attributed to his kryptonite: the slider down and away. If you start Stanton with a fastball inside and go with a slider down and away, it seems like you’ll get him to strike out each and every time. (You better not share this information with the Giants staff!)
Me: Christian Yelich is reportedly coming back this series. Do you expect him to make an impact right away?
Ehsan: Yelich will be activated off the disabled list and likely be placed in the Marlins starting lineup right away. With all due respect to Ichiro Suzuki, the Marlins are a better team with Yelich on the field opposed to Ichiro. Yelich is a better defender and hitter at this stage in his career.
I’ll go ahead and make a bold prediction right here: Yelich will have 4 hits in the series, including a home run.
Next: Previewing Marlins' starting pitchers