Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Series Preview

MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Giancarlo Stanton #27 and Omar Infante #12 after a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park on May 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Pirates 6-2. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the Miami Marlins come to Atlanta after splitting a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season, the Marlins are 19-17 and are sitting in fourth place in the National League East. They are 3.5 games back of the division leading Braves.

So far in 2012 however, the results of the Marlins big offseason have been mixed.

Surprisingly, Omar Infante has been the team's best offensive weapon, with a triple slash line of .325/.350/.598 to go along with a wOBA of .407 and a wRC+ of 158. Giancarlo Stanton had to deal with a knee injury early in the season, but has recovered and gotten his power stroke back. He's hitting .281/.338/.508 with a .227 ISO, .361 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 126.

John Buck is an interesting case so far in 2012. He's been slightly above average with a 103 wRC+ and a line of .202/.337/.391. He's sporting a low BABIP, but what I found most interesting is his plate discipline stats so far. Small sample size warning of course, but he's swinging at just around 55 percent of pitches in the zone, down from 73 percent last year. Overall, he's swinging at around just 37 percent of pitches overall, down from 50 percent last year. His walks are up, but he's almost being too passive at the plate it seems like.

Hanley Ramirez enters hitting .234/.311/.421 with a .336 wOBA and 110 wRC+. He's tied with Stanton for the team lead in home runs with seven. Jose Reyes is still showing his on-base skills, but not much else with a line of .255/.350/.350 with a .307 wOBA and 90 wRC+.

Emilio Bonifacio has no power, but makes up for it with his blazing speed. He leads all of baseball by far in steals with 19 of them. He's hitting .264/.352/.314 with a .333 wOBA and wRC+ of 107.

The Marlins have been platooning Logan Morrison and Austin Kearns in left field as of late, with Kearns likely to start when Mike Minor pitches on Wednesday. Kearns is hitting .263/.333/.553 with a .382 wOBA and 141 wRC+. Morrison is hitting .274/.360/.379 with a .323 wOBA and 101 wRC+. Good on-base skills, but the power isn't there for him so far.

The big hole in the lineup has been at first base, with Gaby Sanchez mired in a terrible start so far. He's hitting .198/.244/.306 with a .242 wOBA and 45 wRC+. Yeah, that's bad.

Starting pitchers and the bullpen after the jump.

Wednesday, May 16th, 7:10 PM ET


Mark Buehrle

#56 / Pitcher / Miami Marlins

6-2

230

L

L

Mar 23, 1979



Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

210

R

L

Dec 26, 1987


In game one of the series, Mark Buehrle (2-4, 2.81 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 4.13 xFIP) takes on Mike Minor. Signed in the offseason, Buehrle has been a little lucky with his BABIP and strand rate so far in 2012. He's never been much of a strikeout pitcher, and that's still the case. He's got a K/9 of 4.69 this year, but he rarely walks a batter with a BB/9 of 1.50. According to Brooks Baseball, Buehrle throws a four-seam, two-seam, cutter, curveball, and change-up. His primary off-speed pitch is the change, and he gets a whiff percentage of 12.33 on it, the highest of any of his pitches. Velocity wise, he averages right around 85 miles per hour, so he's never going to blow anyone away. In his last start, he went 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits, two runs (earned), two walks, and three strikeouts.

Thursday, May 17th, 7:10 PM ET


Ricky Nolasco

#47 / Pitcher / Miami Marlins

6-2

230

R

R

Dec 13, 1982



Brandon Beachy

#37 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

215

R

R

Sep 03, 1986


Game two gives us a matchup between Ricky Nolasco (4-1, 3.65 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 4.17 xFIP). For the second season in a row, Ricky Nolasco is seeing his strikeout numbers drop. After fanning over eight batters per nine innings in 2010, that dropped to just over six batters per nine last year, and just over four this season. He does have a pretty good control though, walking about 2.5 batters per nine. Like Buehrle, Nolasco has a BABIP and stand rate that are much below his career averages. Nolasco features a fastball, sinker, curveball, slider, and split. He rarely gets any swings and misses with his hard stuff, but gets decent whiff rates on his off-speed offerings. Velocity wise, he sits around 90 miles per hour with his fastball and sinker. In his last start, Nolasco went 4.2 innings, giving up nine hits, six runs (earned), three walks, and three strikeouts.

Bullpen:

Heath Bell -RH

Steve Cishek -RH

Edward Mujica -RH

Randy Choate -LH

Ryan Webb -RH

Chad Gaudin -RH

Michael Dunn -LH

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