Ryan Dempster vs. Ricky Nolasco
Dempster notched his third straight quality start in his last outing vs. the Giants, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out a season-high 11, his 13th career double-digit K game. The difference? Better execution of his pitches. Due to a rainout in New York on Tuesday, Nolasco has been pushed back one day. The right-hander, a fourth-round pick of the Cubs in 2001, is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA lifetime against his former team. Nolasco’s 57 wins are second in franchise history.
Casey Coleman vs. Chris Volstad
Coleman was roughed up in his last start, giving up six runs over 4 1/3 innings. He’s a Florida kid, so he’ll have lots of family and friends in the stands. Volstad gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings in a win over the Nats. He left the ball up and struggled at times. Edwin Rodriguez said the team is going to keep working with him on keeping the ball down because that will make a difference.
Craig Strain scouts the Marlins
Who’s Hot – Gaby Sanchez is hottest hitter for the Marlins. In fact, he was named NL Player of the Week on May 7. In the last 30 days Gaby has put up the following slash stats: .330/.410/.563. He is a gap to gap hitter who leads the team in BA, RBI and is second in HR.
Greg Dobbs has started to pick up the pace. While the Marlins are platooning him where he only starts against right-handed pitchers, that should come into play in the Cubs series. In the last 30 days .308/.352/.431.
Mike Stanton is showing signs of coming out of the doldrums but that may be just because the Marlins were recently playing the Nationals on the road and he hits very well in Nationals Park.
Anibal Sanchez is the Marlins hottest pitcher, but you won’t see him on this trip. However Ricky Nolasco isn’t doing too bad. In his last 5 starts, he threw a total of 33.2 innings, allowing 28 hits, walking 8, striking 34 for a 2.41 ERA during that time.
Who’s Not – Hanley Ramirez to be certain. Hanley hasn’t been hot all season as I’m sure everyone who drafted him in Fantasy Baseball will attest. In the last 30 days his slash stats are .190/.267/.276 which is about on par with his whole season. The thoughts in the Marlins organization is that this can’t keep going on forever, he is just too talented to do so.
Chris Coghlan has also hit a cold spell. In the last 30 days he has produced 225/.304/.373. Now, Cogz is a little different story in that he isn’t hitting lefties at all this year. His slash stats for the year against lefties is .111/.149/.133 and against right-handed pitching .301/.380/.513. The Marlins have played against a lot of left-handed starters recently and unsurprisingly Coghlan is now in a slump.
The Marlins coldest pitcher is Javy Vazquez, but you won’t see him this trip.
News & Notes – Logan Morrison has reached base in every game he has played this season. Which, granted, is just 19 games but still, he is the only Marlin to do that.
The Marlins are 8-7 in the month of May after going 13-9 in April.
The team has already had two games rained out this season but neither of them were at home. That stat won’t last, but the rainouts in Florida normally happen in the summer. Not this time of year.
Predictions - Game one, in the series, will most interesting since the Cubs generally, to the chagrin of most Cubs fans, have trouble scoring runs off of Nolasco. Nolasco is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA against the Cubbies. While the Marlins have never hit former Marlin Ryan Dempster well. Dempster in fours starts has a 1.08 ERA against the Fish.
This one could turn into a battle of the bullpens.
Game two features two home grown Florida boys. So both pitchers will have lots of family and friends in the stands. While Chris Volstad hasn’t been great so far, the Marlins strangely win his starts. Since the 2010 All-Star break the Marlins are 15-5 when Volstad starts. Don’t ask me why.
While Coleman has only made one start in Florida, he did reasonably well in it getting the win.
Oh, I don’t know. I will say the Cubs take the first game because the Marlins just can’t solve Dempster and the Marlins will win the second, because that is what they do. So a split.
Craig blogs about the Marlins on Fish Stripes, part of the SB Nation network of blogs