With the Pittsburgh Pirates arriving early this morning for a strange three game road trip to south Florida, we wanted to know what in the world is happening with these Florida Marlins? We went to the experts at Marlin Maniac and spoke with Chris Logel. To keep you in the loop this weekend as the Bucs look to get over .500 for the first time in forever, follow Chris on Twitter.
Rum: What has happened to the Marlins this season?
Chris: Most of the Marlins moves this offseason have worked out. Certainly Casey McGehee has been outstanding, Giancarlo Stanton has begun to realize all of the “potential” talk that has come his way the last few years, and even with the injury to Jose Fernandez, the Marlins rotation is still young enough and talented enough to still be in contention a couple of months into the season. We will certainly take it.
Rum: What do you see the Marlins doing at the trade deadline?
Miami’s biggest question mark is in their bullpen. Closer Steve Cishek has been lights out, but getting to him has been a problem. I could see them making another trade if the Bryan Morris fleecing that you guys did to us doesn’t work out. I don’t see them doing much more than that. Upgrading the second base position is a possibility.
Rum: Does the club have any interest in trading starting pitching? What would the team look for in return if you were putting the deals together.
I don’t believe that they have any interest in trading their young pitching, although they certainly have plenty of it right now. I think they are content to be a middle of the pack team while they try and figure out what to do with all of this pitching. If I was running the team, I would be looking for a long term answer at first base and shortstop. Garrett Jones hasn’t been horrible, but he hasn’t been great, and is likely going to regress soon, and Adeiny Hechavarria continues to show flashes of brilliance followed by head scratchingly long bouts of sucking.
Rum: Garrett Jones was a fan fav in Pittsburgh. Is Pittsburgh missing anything with Jones?
As I alluded to earlier, he hasn’t been as bad as I thought he would be (I wasn’t a big fan of the signing). To me, he is best suited in a platoon situation, especially considering we have Jeff Baker who is the perfect other half of a platoon fully capable of playing first base. Alas, Mike Redmond continues to trot out Jones against lefties. If he keeps up his production so far throughout the rest of the season, the Marlins will have made a solid signing. One thing that has been a pleasant surprise with Jones is his ability to hit against the shift. Teams have been routinely shifting on him and he has been hitting the ball to the left side with relative frequency, even dropping down a bunt single earlier in the season.
Rum: Tell us a bit about your starters for the series.
Nathan Eovaldi will start the series and he is certainly the Marlins ace while awaiting Fernandez’s return. He is a hard throwing righty who has been relying on his secondary pitches more this season which has given him some fantastic results. If his control is on, it will be a long night for Pirate hitters.
the corpse of Randy Wolf will start the second game, plan on scoring some runs early. The 37-year-old is finding it difficult to be consistent, and is one of the pitchers that could find himself without a spot in the rotation when Marlins phenom Andrew Heaney gets the call up to the majors, hopefully sooner rather than later. If Eovaldi is a hard thrower, than Wolf could be termed a “soft-thrower” that will rely on deception to get hitters out, if he can.
Henderson Alvarez will start the finale on Sunday. Alvarez relies on control and getting a lot of groundballs. He has 3 complete games already this season, and when he is on he can be unhittable, but when he is off, it can get ugly in a hurry. You should know in a couple of innings whether or not you are going to beat the Marlins on Sunday. Alvarez is coming off of a short start induced by a hip injury that he sustained on a terrible toss by Garrett Jones to a covering Alvarez. Everyone is saying that he will be able to make this start but that could change prior to game time.
Rum: Who is the hottest hitter on the club.
This is an easy answer and it isn’t even close. I don’t know if you have heard of this guy named Giancarlo Stanton, but he has a tendency to hit the ball hard. More than that, he is hitting around .300 on the season and has already set the record for the most RBI’s by a Marlin prior to June 1st. So far he has 53 on the season. If he gets up with runners in scoring position and first base open, expect a walk.
Rum: Hottest starting pitcher? Reliever?
Starting pitcher would probably be Henderson Alvarez. Alvarez had a 26 inning scoreless streak snapped in his last outing, and he has really been baffling hitters of late. Steve Cishek has been fantastic all season, and if he gets a chance to pitch, it is a great sign for the Marlins.