Conversations with the enemy: San Francisco Giants-Miami Marlins Q&A previewing their first series of 2015

By Matthew Connolly
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Apr 26, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren (15) delivered a pitch during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Me: On paper, Dan Haren seems to have regained his form. Is he really back or is it just smoke and mirrors?

Ehsan: It’s all smoke and mirrors with Dan Haren. Yes, he has a sparkling 2.70 ERA, but his FIP of 5.14 and xFIP of 4.40 tell us regression will be coming, in a major way.

Haren is striking out his fewest hitters per nine and walking the most hitters per nine of his career since 2004. He owns a very lucky .152 BABIP against and a 92.3 LOB%. It’s a matter of time until those regress. His average fastball velocity is 86(!) now. He’s become an even more extreme flyball pitcher, which with faltering velocity, has led to a 14.6 HR/FB rate.

Haren is going to implode soon and it won’t be pretty for the Marlins.

Me: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the other starting pitchers the Marlins will face this series?

Ehsan: Haren, whom I discussed above, will be throwing the ball tonight. Hopefully he can keep his smoke and mirrors act up for at least one or two more starts.

Jarred Cosart will be on the bump tomorrow night for the Marlins. He has been the team’s best pitcher this season, with a 2.97 ERA. He doesn’t strike out many hitters, but has also avoided walking hitters in his time with the Marlins. He doesn’t give up a ton of home runs, either. He’s mostly a fastball pitcher, but mixes in his offspeed stuff well.

Perhaps one of the better surprises for the Marlins has been David Phelps, who stepped in for Henderson Alvarez and has done a fine job. He, like the other Marlins starters, doesn’t strike out many hitters, but does have bouts of control issues.

Mat Latos will start the finale for the Marlins. He got off to a really slow start, going just 0.2 innings in his Marlins debut. He has improved since then, upping his strikeout numbers, but struggling with walks. His fastball velocity isn’t what is was when he was a star with the Padres and Reds, but he can still be a decent 3/4 starter.

Next: Final question and answer