Thursday, Jul 5, 2012, 2:10 PM EDT
Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing from right to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 95.
After an exciting 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Marlins will enter the final game of this series looking to salvage a sweep after the first two games ended in heartbreakers. The Fish will be sending the old reliable Mark Buehrle to the mound against the rookie Mike Fiers. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that this game begins the era of Carlos Lee, as the recently-acquired first baseman will make his first start as a Marlin today.Pitching Matchup
The Marlins will send out Buehrle, who has been hot in his last two starts. He recorded seven strikeouts in two straight starts and has all of a sudden picked up his whiffing pace; he is now approaching a 14 percent strikeout rate for the season that he has not reached since 2008. The Fish are hoping to see more of that strikeout stuff from the normally soft-tossing Buehrle, because their pitching staff has really faltered over the last three games against the Brewers offense.
Then again, the Marlins have been scoring on the Brew Crew as well. But today the team faces their biggest challenge since Zack Greinke in rookie Mike Fiers. Fiers has been really good in his first big-league season, posting a 2.29 ERA and 2.26 FIP in six starts and seven appearances thus far. He has done this primarily via the strikeout, as he has whiffed 26.1 percent of batters faced thus far this season. He had been pretty good in the minors for much of his career, posting similar numbers through most of his stops. The problem was that he was old for most of those levels and had below-average stuff, with a fastball in the high-80's for a right-hander.
As we mentioned, this is the Marlins debut of Carlos Lee, who was acquired yesterday for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. You can argue whether this trade is a significant upgrade or not, but like it or not, Lee is here for the rest of the 2012 season presumably. As you can see from his projection, he is not a particularly good hitter anymore, and that has been the case for three years running now. And his move to Marlins Park (when we eventually head home) should hurt his production at home compared to getting to hit to the Crawford Boxes in left field in Houston. Nevertheless, we here at Fish Stripes hope Lee outperforms himself from the last few seasons and hits 20 home runs on his way out of Miami.
Bold Prediction: Brewers def. Marlins 4-3