The Miami Marlins are staying over in the West coast tonight, as they prepare for a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Marlins are 13 games behind Atlanta Braves in the NL East, with a record of 20 wins and 36 losses (0.357) this season, which is joint with Kansas City Royals for the third worst record in the Majors. The Diamondbacks are 28-27 (.509) and are a game and a half behind the Colorado Rockies, in the NL West division.
The Marlins are bad. Although they finished 2017 in 2nd, they still had a sub .500 record. The rest of the division has since improved, whilst Miami had had a major overhaul. They moved on last years NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, as well as their two other outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich – who make any team better. Let’s just say, the Marlins are in re-build mode. Arizona on the other hand, started the season on fire, ending the month of April with a fantastic 20 wins from 28 games played. However, May hasn’t been so kind to them, as they were swept in three separate series and finished the month 8-19 (0.296). This wasn’t expected from a team looking to make back-to-back trips to the postseason, since 2002.
Elieser Hernandez starts on the mound for Miami tonight. Hernandez made his debut this season, but has just pitched 15 innings in his three starts. However, Hernandez has made his starts against three playoff contenders (Dodgers, Mets and Nationals) and performed well, only giving up four runs. Although his K/9 rate (4.50) isn’t amazing, he’s control was pretty good only allowing the one walk this season. Clay Buchhholz starts for Arizona; who made his Major League debut when Hernandez was only 12 years old. After having some great years in Boston, Buchholz had a less than forgettable time in Philadelphia last season. After only two starts he underwent surgery which saw him miss the remainder of the season. This season, he’s so far made a brilliant comeback. With 1.64 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 0.45 WHIP – Buchholz has looked rejuvenated (but still like a meth head – Ed.) since his return.
Although the starting pitchers have started their season strongly, the Diamondbacks have the 2nd best relief staff, boasting the 2nd best ERA (2.47) in the league. Compare this to the Marlins, who have the 2nd worst (5.75 ERA). Arizona’s weakness this year has been their hitting, and currently have the worst team batting average in the league. However, even though they’ve scored the 2nd least amount of runs in the league, that’s 17 more than the Marlins.
The Diamondbacks definitely miss their starting center fielder, A.J. Pollock. He currently has a 2.2 WAR and is slashing .293/.349/.620 with 11 home runs. He is a bat that they would love tonight, but he should return in a few more weeks.
Overall, even though the Marlins have a promising pitcher starting for them tonight, they’re terrible. Even if Hernandez performs well, their bullpen is likely to ruin it for him. Plus they don’t provide much run support. Although the Diamondbacks struggled in May, today is a new month. They pitch very well and have some great bats who have just yet to hit the mark this season. Tonight is essentially a playoff caliber team against a team who are in major re-build mode.
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks to beat the Miami Marlins.