The Marlins rank 3rd in fWAR and have had the 8th best offense coming into this series. It's easy to laugh them off as a fluke and I certainly don't think they're even a top 10 team in MLB. They have had their fair share of luck, but also have have some legitimate baseball players.
Six of their 7 regulars have wRC+ above, and in some cases well above, 100. Garret Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and former Brewer Casey McGehee will probably cool down when the see their BABIPs regress to more normal levels, but they've been hot so far. They're getting help from role players too as there are only 4 of the total 14 position players that have seen time are below a 100 wRC+.
Then you have the real threat. Giancarlo Stanton is a beast. I'm always surprised he doesn't get mentioned more often in the same breath as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. He's that good. Christian Yelich isn't the same caliber, but I think his 259/337/416, 109 wRC+ is for real. It's probably a slight under-performance. All things considered this offense should not be taken lightly. Whether through talent, luck, or a combination of both it's been far more potent than the Brewers'.
Their bullpen as a whole has been on par with the Brewers, though Wei-Chung Wang skews that a bit. I'd say ours is better. Kevin Slowey and Mike Dunn are two of their most frequently used relievers and neither one is terribly effective. Their closer Steve Chisek is totally fine though I've never thought he was ever very dominant.
Friday, May 23rd 6:10 pm CT: Marco Estrada vs Tom Koehler
Koehler is a perfectly mediocre pitcher. His fastball sits around 92-93 and he compliments it with a slider, curve ball, and change-up. So far his ERA (2.25) has far surpassed his FIP (4.12). Nothing really suggests that's anything but luck. This guy ins't necessarily bad, but he's definitely a back-end type. The Brewers offense is far from full strength though. I'm not sure who will start, and lately it hasn't mattered, so I'm not confident against most any pitcher right.
Of note for the Brewers: I love Marco Estrada.
Saturday, May 24th 3:10 pm CT: Wily Peralta vs Jacob Turner
Jacob Turner came to the Marlins in the Anibal Sanchez deal a couple of years back. He has not been impressive since and is having his worst season yet. He isn't striking guys out (14.1 K%) but he isn't walking guys either (5.8%). He's getting hit pretty hard with a 3.19 BAA ,1.57 WHIP, and a 1.32 HR/9. If I were to be confident with the Brewers split squad it's going to be against guys like this. He might turn things around someday, but right now he's a hot mess.
Of note for the Brewers: Peralta wasn't exactly his best last time out, but he did only allow 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings. I'm not sure what the bullpen is going to look like, but the Brewers are probably going to need him to go longer than that. Also interesting, Peralta hasn't allowed more than 3 runs to score since his first game against Boston. He's also only allowed more than 2 earned runs once this year.
Sunday, May 25th 12:10 pm CT: TBD vs Randy Wolf
Oh yeah, you read that right. Randy Wolf is getting the start on Sunday. So far Wolf has only come out of the bullpen for the Marlins. He was fine in 5 innings of work, but that's not the same as starting. It's hard to say where is velocity will be as the game goes one, but in relief it's been the same high 80's fastball. I think Wolf gets a bad rap from Brewers fans for some reason. Maybe it's just the people I've talked to. He was pretty awful in 2012 but man he was good for us in 2011. I wish the guy no ill will, but I sure hope he's 2012/2013 Randy Wolf when the Brewers face him on Sunday.
Of note for the Brewers: As of right now there has been do determination of who will get the start on Sunday. It could still be Gallardo, but I kind of doubt it. If it's not him my guess is either Gallardo (or Braun) goes on the DL for Jimmy Nelson, OR they send Rob Wooten down and call up Jimmy Nelson. Even if they do call up Nelson, they may still give the start to Thornburg and have Nelson come on in relief. Who knows though?
One thing to keep an eye on: Nelson would make his regular start on Friday. If he does then he obviously will be unable to pitch on Sunday.
I really don't know what to think. The Brewers are facing a weak set of starting pitchers, but with Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun banged up, their offense might be worse. On top of that, Sunday's start remains a mystery. If the Brewers were at full strength I think 2 out 3 would be a safe bet. I'll still call that, but I don't have much confidence.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.