Monday, Jun 11, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing from left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.
The Miami Marlins have lost six straight games and have done so without putting up much of a fight. But the club is running into a Boston Red Sox team that at least is coming off a sweep of their own, having been swept by the Washington Nationals. Right now, the Marlins will take any positive possible, and maybe a slumping Red Sox team can help the Fish get back on the right track.
Tale of the Tape
The Marlins and Red Sox have been winning games in completely different fashions. The Marlins are throwing their best pitchers out there and trying every night to toss a shutout. However, that plan has not yet been successful in June, mostly due to 11-0 and 13-4 blowout games. The team has dropped from its perch close to the leaderboard and the first-place Nationals in terms of pitching, while the hitting has remained mediocre for the season.
The Red Sox have struggled to find starters to match one of the best offenses in baseball. Of course, one might expect a bit of that when you play in the American League, but the Sox have really struggled in the pitching department. Ace Jon Lester has not impressed, tonight's starter Josh Beckett has been injured, and Daniel Bard and Clay Buchholz have been borderline useless.
Stadium: Marlins Park
Josh Johnson continues to confuse Marlins fans. His peripherals are as good as they have ever been, in part because he has been as wicked at preventing home runs (three in 71 innings this season) as ever before. He still has lost something in terms of strikeouts, as he is not inducing whiffs at the same rate as he once did (9.0 percent in 2012 versus 9.6 percent career), and this may have something to do with his decreased velocity (down to 93.0 mph from 94.0 last season). But his last start was highly encouraging, as he put up nine strikeouts versus three walks and stayed in at 94 mph for most of the start. He only allowed two runs, but they were enough to beat the Fish that night. Here's hoping he continues on that good start.
Josh Beckett was once the future of the Marlins pitching staff a long time ago. He was drafted with the second pick of the 1999 draft and debuted in 2001 before getting his first full-time big league stint in 2002. Beckett was one of the team's best player in the playoffs in 2003, helping the team win its second World Series and winning the World Series MVP trophy along the way. Now, he is still a member of the Red Sox after the well-chronicled Beckett-Hanley Ramirez trade, and this season he has been one of the team's best pitchers. Unfortunately for him, he has not played to expectations, in part because his velocity is also down.
Donovan Solano is getting his first start in the infield for the Marlins this season. Since his debut, he has nine hits in 20 PA, and his hot start in the bigs is the reason the Fish did not hesitate to designate Donnie Murphy for assignment and bring back Gaby Sanchez. It looks as though Solano will serve as the primary backup infielder. He has played second, third base, and shortstop in the minors for his career, so he can serve as the middle infielder behind those positions should Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez require any rest.
- It seems that David Ortiz, the Red Sox' regular designated hitter, will be playing first base tonight, according to SB Nation's Over the Monster. Exciting third base prospect Will Middlebrooks is sitting tonight in favor of Kevin Youkilis as well.
- Speaking of the awesome OTM, longtime friend of Fish Stripes Marc Normandin has his series preview.
Bold Prediction: Marlins def. Red Sox 4-3