Marlins Series Preview with Dave Gershman

The 1-3 Florida Marlins are in town for the 1-2 Phillies’ home opener. Anibal Sanchez will oppose Cole Hamels, a match-up of two very talented starting pitchers. Both teams are coming off of disappointing openings to the season: the Phillies have pitched well but scored few runs; the Marlins have been hit-or-miss, falling victim to Kyle Lohse and Johnny Cueto but victimizing Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo.

Series at a Glance

Lineups

Marlins

Phillies

Dave Gershman (@Dave_Gershman), of ESPN’s Marlins Daily, and I swapped some questions to preview the series on our respective blogs, so make sure to stop over there to check out what I had to say about the Phillies. His answers about the Marlins are below.

. . .

1. So you’ve seen the first regular season action in the new ballpark, albeit just one game. What are your initial thoughts? Do you think it will play as an extreme pitcher’s park as many are predicting?

Although I think it’s too early to tell whether or not the ballpark will favor pitchers rather than hitters, there are some initial problems concerning me that could easily be found within the confines of the park prior to the seasons start. The home run sculpture in center field is a basic issue that I have with the park. It’s almost directly in the batters eye, which too is bright green. There is just a lot of noise going on in center field which I think should be dimmed out if possible. Back to the question though, I do think the park will become a pitcher’s best friend. The dimensions are huge, and last time we saw dimensions as such for a brand new park was Citi Field.

2. Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t hit a home run yet. What’s wrong with him?

Absolutely nothing. The season is only four days old and we all know what Stanton is capable of.

3. Which hitter has most impressed you through four games? Which pitcher?

I’ll go with Omar Infante and Josh Johnson. It’s still early, but Infante’s big home run on Saturday night helped the Marlins win their first game of the season. Additionally, he almost hit for the cycle that night. Josh Johnson being healthy and pitching a decent game on Opening Night earns him my “most valuable pitcher through four games” award. If Johnson can stay healthy and simply be Josh Johnson, the Marlins post-season chances are much greater.

4. Which hitter has least impressed you through four games? Which pitcher?

Mike Stanton and Carlos Zambrano. The fact that Stanton hasn’t yet gone deep isn’t the problem for me. The issue that I have with Stanton is that a lot of the fastballs he’s been given have been rolled over to third base or elsewhere to the left side of the infield. Last season, all of those would be fly balls. Zambrano’s performance yesterday sells it. After a lousy first few innings, the right-hander easily penetrated the Marlins’ chances of winning the ballgame.

5. Anibal Sanchez increased his K/9 from 7.4 and 7.2 in 2009-10 to 9.3 last year, while also continuing to improve his control. What contributed to this change?

Like Ricky Nolasco, Sanchez threw his fastball more and got more whiffs outside the zone. His contact rate lowered because of that and, because of that, probably had him gain more confidence in his arsenal. In doing so, Sanchez has easily become one of the more feared starters in the NL East and has a chance to continue providing as a solid number two for the Fish for years to come.

6. Have the first few games of the season changed the way you feel about the NL East?

Not particularly. I’ll make my judgements in a couple of weeks once things settle down a bit. That said, I did expect the Braves to play better and the Mets the opposite. Cliff Lee failed to lead the Phillies to victory in his first start, but again, these things happen in the first few games of the season. If I made judgements after the first weekend of the season I would have given up on the Red Sox after the first week of last season.

7. How do you see this series playing out? Who wins?

Especially with the way these two teams played this weekend, it could go either way. That said, I think the Phillies will turn the bats on and, additionally, shut the Marlins down. The Fightin’s will win the series 2-1.

. . .

Many thanks to Dave for sharing his insight on the Fish. Follow him on Twitter and stop by Marlins Daily for his thoughts throughout the series.

Use this thread throughout the day to talk about the Phillies and the game.

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77 comments

  1. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:12 PM

    Raise your hand if you wish it is Dom Brown who’s coming to the plate and not Ty Wigginton.

  2. Colin

    April 09, 2012 02:15 PM

    Guys Rube says that Nix and Wiggy are better than Dom, he must be right.

    (I won’t defend Dom’s defense, I can’t)

  3. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:16 PM

    If we didn’t trade for Wigginton and sign Nix, the person leading off right now could be David DeJesus, who might have been batting after Dom Brown…

    Sorry, I’m just thinking out loud. My bad.

  4. Pat

    April 09, 2012 02:18 PM

    Didn’t Galvis ask that people pronounce his name “gal-vees”? I find it really strange that Franzke is still pronouncing it the other way.

  5. Colin

    April 09, 2012 02:20 PM

    I think he changed his mind and wanted it “Americanized”. At least that’s what I thought I read.

  6. Pat

    April 09, 2012 02:23 PM

    Ah, that makes sense. Thanks, Colin.

  7. Colin

    April 09, 2012 02:24 PM

    All we need is some douchy OF that looks like an elf and our offense will be fixed.

  8. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:25 PM

    Better than having a fat OF that looks like dwarf.

  9. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:26 PM

    Sorry, fat 1B/3B, my bad.

  10. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:32 PM

    So when does this nightmare end, exactly?

  11. JC

    April 09, 2012 02:34 PM

    So NOW is the time for Papelbon…got it.

  12. Colin

    April 09, 2012 02:37 PM

    Can Robert Person still play? I think he’d make a good RH Joe Savery.

  13. LTG

    April 09, 2012 02:39 PM

    (This is horrifically delayed but…)

    Go crazy?

  14. Scott G

    April 09, 2012 02:40 PM

    Let’s throw Papelbon down 3, and not in either of two consecutive tie games. Nice.

  15. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:41 PM

    I present to you Cholly, MLB manager.

  16. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 02:44 PM

    I almost feel like you should write another “Charlie Manuel is a bad manager” post just so we can have another war of words in the comments section, only I don’t think even your readers that support Cholly can put up much of a fight at this point…

  17. Scott G

    April 09, 2012 02:46 PM

    I hope they don’t win another game all year. Maybe after 20 consecutive losses they’ll fire Manuel, and hire a random comment giver from Crashburnalley.com. Or a monkey. Couldn’t do worse.

  18. ColonelTom

    April 09, 2012 02:46 PM

    Now Qualls is throwing with the Phils down 4 in the bottom of the 9th. Ever the optimist.

  19. Colin

    April 09, 2012 02:46 PM

    I love Charlie for the how he’s turned this team into a place that players want to play, but this in game management hurts my head.

  20. Scott G

    April 09, 2012 02:47 PM

    Phillie,

    Almost every post on my site is a “Charlie is a bad manager” post. :)

  21. LTG

    April 09, 2012 02:48 PM

    Phillie, don’t be naive. It’s not Cholly’s fault that the players he puts into the game are not producing, etc., etc. He’s just trying to make good on a bad situation. (yawn)

  22. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 03:06 PM

    That would imply blaming the GM, which I’m not sure the same crowd would want to do either, LOL.

  23. Phillie697

    April 09, 2012 03:15 PM

    Although I feel obligatory to add… While Charlie’s antics were about as direct as you can get as far as evidence go on why we lost the past two games with the Pirates, I don’t think he could have done anything to salvage today’s game. That said, I rather be 3-1 than 1-3, of course.

  24. jauer

    April 09, 2012 03:37 PM

    yeah….today was shaping up to be a “cant blame manuel at all” day….and then papelbon pitches the 9th hahaha. this is just absurd.

    this is dubees defense of the pittsburgh debacle:

    “How many times am I going to crank Pap up? It’s a little early,” Dubee said. “You want me to run him out there 162 games? It’s hard. You’ve got nobody else to close the game. If you had somebody with experience closing the game, if you had (Jose) Contreras, then you might think about doing it.”

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