Note: In light of Stephen Colbert’s successful segment ‘Better Know A District’ on the Colbert Report, I thought It would be neat to incorporate this great idea into terms of Phillies baseball. I hope you enjoy.
Home to such great musical talents as 2 Live Crew and Gloria Estefan, Miami, Florida is the second largest city in the state, shadowed only by Jacksonville. Florida itself was first discovered by the West when Ponce De Leon of Spain landed his ship in Biscayne Bay in 1513. The name Florida encapsulates the season he arrived , Pascua Florida, or Easter season of flowers. Miami’s first name was Chequescha, later changed by English settlers who arrived in 1842 after the Spanish fled due to a small pox outbreak.
Overview of The Series (2-1 Marlins)
The Fightin’s are victorious in four of their last five games backed by strong offense (5.2 runs/G) and quality starts by the pitching staff. The move to put Brett Myers in the bullpen hasn’t backfired yet and its making Charlie Manuel look like a closet genius.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are winners in four of their last five games as well. Wednesday night, they rallied for four runs to spoil Tim Hudson’s 12 strikeout game, scoring on a wild pitch thrown by Bob Wickman to end the horror.
The Phils are looking to build on their recent success by quelling the Marlins hot streak over the weekend. The Phillies are currently 4.5 games back from first, though only 1 game back from taking over third place held by the Fish. Taking two of three would put them in a tie for third place and evening the season series at three games. Of course, we are all hoping for that elusive victory sweep which has yet to happen this season. This series is pivotal for both clubs as they look to try to erase early April woes and climb out of the N.L. East basement.
On the Mound
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Sanchez , who threw a no-hit game last season, looks to improve his 2-0 record by taking on Freddy Garcia in the series opener. Sanchez hasn’t given up more than 4 earned runs in an outing this season while only giving up a total of 4 runs in his last two starts (10.0 IP). His K/9 isn’t impressive(3.74) but fails to compare to his inflated batters against average, .307, and an almost 5.00 BB/9. If the Phillies stay patient against Sanchez they can lock in on mistakes and knock him out of the game early.
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Willis leads the club with a 4-1 record, with two wins over the Braves. Digging deeper into his numbers , Willis has four wins despite a high 5.28 ERA. The reasons? Dontrelle has given up four home runs in five of his outings. 13 percent of the fly balls he induces seem to find their way over the fence for home runs. Facing Adam Eaton on Saturday may turn The Ballpark into a launching pad for NASA.
Along with inflated home run numbers, he is leaving 10 percent less runners on base then last year. For his career he leaves almost 75 per cent of batters who reach base stranded. This year those numbers are at 65 percent. Despite these calculations, Willis is still a pitcher to fear. His K/9 is at 7.04, the highest its ever been since his amazing 2003 season. It’s definitely a indicator of his early success so far in 2007.
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Obermuller isn’t a fancy guy who tries to nibble the corners or paint the black like his scheduled pitching counterpart Jamie Moyer. He will throw pitches in the strike zone and dare you to hit it. His career 10-19 record with a 5.59 ERA will tell you he is usually on the losing end of this battle. In his only start this season against the Nationals, he threw six solid innings giving up two earned runs on four hits. He also fanned five batters. One quality start will not convince me that Wes Obermuller has somehow found the secret to pitching. It only indicates that beating up on the Nationals seems to be the cool thing to do for opposing N.L. East Teams.
Better Know A Blogger
Craig at fishstripes.com, a top Marlins blog as rated by striketwo.net.
What is the status of Miguel Cabrera?
Cabrera injured an oblique muscle a few days ago, he claims it doesn’t bother him when he hits but it does when he runs. Cabrera in pretty much station to station on the base path at the moment.
Cabrera does own a career .324-14-54 line against the Phils. Should they stockpile a supply of Kryptonite?
It is true Citizens Bank Park is a good hitter’s park but actually he is more prolific in Turner Field and RFK. All of that said, I would keep the Kryptonite handy.
Does it matter this early in the season that the Marlins do not have a solidified closer?
No, I don’t think it will matter at all. The Marlins have at least three young members of the bullpen, depending on the situation, who can close a game. Probably most the closing duties will be handled by Henry Owens, but that is a guess. Eventually one of the young guys will emerge as the closer, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Do you think the Marlins – Phillies rivalry will continue to be as heated as it was at the end of last season? If you recall, Josh Johnson came out and said he ‘hated’ the Phillies and would do anything to make sure they didn’t make the playoffs.
The Marlins – Phillies rivalry has been heated for some time now. Shoot, I remember a series a few years ago when the two teams spent most of it throwing at each other. Not to mention the history of [the] empty benches brawls. Last season I thought it would come to an end with so many new players on the Marlins team but for some reason there seems to be an institutional memory for both teams. So it continued. Will it persist? [If it did] it wouldn’t surprise me.