Series Preview: Talking Marlins with Fish Stripes

The Marlins are the NL's worst team, but are they as bad as we think?

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
38-56 (5th place, NL Central)
MIAMI MARLINS
35-58 (5th place, NL East)

GAME 1: July 19, 2013 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 2
: July 20, 2013 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: July 21, 2013 @ 1:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Miller Park | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A View from the Other Dugout: Fish Stripes

Game 1 Kyle Lohse (5-7, 3.67) vs. Jacob Turner (3-1, 2.33)
vs. Marlins (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, 3.86)
Game 2 Yovani Gallardo (7-8, 4.83) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (2-0, 2.93)
vs. Marlins (1-0, 0.00) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)
Game 3 Wily Peralta (7-9, 4.61)
vs. Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.58)
vs. Marlins (0-0, 4.50)
vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)


To help us get ready for this weekend's Marlins series we talked to Michael Jong of Fish Stripes about his team and this series. His answers to our questions are below:

BCB: The Brewers won't see 20-year-old All Star pitcher Jose Fernandez this weekend but they will see 22-year-old Jacob Turner on Friday, 23-year-old Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday and 23-year-old Henderson Alvarez on Sunday. Are the aforementioned four the future of this franchise?

FS: Some of those pitchers will be, and some of them will not. Jose Fernandez is guaranteed to be a major part of the rebuilding process in Miami, as he appears to be a bona fide ace-in-the-making for the Fish, as evidenced by his All-Star rookie season. Jacob Turner appears to be the most promising of the remaining pitchers, as he has a former top prospect pedigree and has flashed some above average stuff in his time in the majors despite mediocre strikeout numbers.

Nathan Eovaldi has one interesting thing about him: a 96 mph fastball that has significantly changed his ceiling, if he is able to keep it up. Outside of that, he remains the same starter with the same issues with his breaking pitches not missing bats. Henderson Alvarez has the lowest ceiling of the four as he has a distinct lack of strikeout stuff, but he may serve as a capable starter if he maintains those ground ball rates.

BCB: Speaking of Fernandez, He's already thrown 104.2 innings this season. Is there a plan in place to keep his workload down over the next few months?

FS: The Marlins are aiming to restrict Fernandez to 160 or so innings, akin to the treatment of Stephen Strasburg last season. Not counting the 2012 minor league playoffs, Fernandez has only thrown one season of 130 professional innings, so the Fish do not want to push him too hard and would like to have this season be a buffer between a full-fledged year on the mound and his lower workload in his professional career start.
3) The Marlins are dead last in the NL in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, batting average (.233), OBP (.292) and slugging (.340). Is this offense really that bad?

Part of the problem involving those awful numbers is that the Marlins were out a good number of hitters to start the season. The team did not have Logan Morrison (.282/.371/.518 in 97 plate appearances) until early June, and the team lost Giancarlo Stanton (.250/.357/.458) for a month as well. The team has been significantly better on offense since those two players returned to the lineup, as they went from a pathetic 2.7 runs per game scored to 4.0 runs per game.

Having said that, part of the problem is indeed inherent to the club. The Marlins are giving regular playing time to guys like Jeff Mathis (,196/.279/.337), Adeiny Hechavarria (.240/.277/.324), and a platoon of veteran zombie Placido Polanco (.251/.313/.297) and minor league journeyman Ed Lucas (.269/.345/.315). Outside of Stanton and Morrison, no hitter is batting above the league average. Part of it may be bad luck, but the Fish are also loaded with bad hitting talent.

BCB: Mike Redmond is having a rough season in his managerial debut. What can you tell us about his tendencies?

FS: I saw nothing of particular interest in Mike Redmond's managerial skills versus those of other managers. He does not seem to lean towards any one direction; he is less aggressive in forcing sacrifice bunts than previous managers like Ozzie Guillen and Fredi Gonzalez. Likewise, he is less aggressive on the bases than Guillen was last season, but his personnel is also different. The Marlins' bullpen has been managed better than it was in the past, but Redmond's work there is not out of the ordinary.

The only egregious decision thus far that has been made is regarding Justin Ruggiano's playing time. While Ruggiano has had an up-and-down season, his playing time has also fluctuated despite him being obviously better on the field and at the plate than Juan Pierre. If there was one bone to pick with Redmond, it would be that one.

BCB: What does the trade deadline look like for this team? With Ricky Nolasco already gone, are they likely to make any more significant changes?

FS: The Marlins have said that they are not looking to make any more significant changes to the roster. The team is stuck in a situation in which its best trade chips are also players the team wants around for a few more years because they hold good value, which is exactly why they are valuable trade chips. While teams have clamored for Giancarlo Stanton, he is in no way leaving in 2013 until well past the World Series. The Fish likewise have no interest in trading closer Steve Cishek because of his valuable remaining team control years. Relievers like Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls may be on the move, but the Marlins' roster does not figure to change much by the end of July.

Thanks again to Michael for taking the time, and check out Fish Stripes for more on the Marlins!

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