The Miami Marlins travel to Atlanta to square off against the Braves for the first time this season, and we have a special series preview for you here at Tomahawk Take. For this series preview, Jeff and I teamed up with Chris Logel, co-editor of Fansided’s Marlin Maniac, for a special Q & A edition of the series preview.
7:10 PM EST, Monday, April 21st
7:10 PM EST, Tuesday, April 22nd
12:10 PM EST, Wednesday, April 23rd
Q&A with Chris Logel
Brandon Woodworth: The Marlins are off to a 9-10 start, including winning 5 of the first 6 games to open the season, which is frankly more than a lot of people in baseball expected from a team that is still in full rebuilding mode. Do you think this better than anticipated start is sustainable into and out of the summer, and what do you attribute most to this early success?
Chris Logel: In a sense I do think the success is sustainable in the fact that I expected them to be competitive from the start of the season. They simply have to much talented pitching to not be in games. That being said, the ceiling for this team is really .500 baseball, and many of their contributors have exceeded certain stats that would imply that a regression is coming. This team is still learning what it means to win games day in and day out, on the road or at home. This season their success has been against teams outside of the N.L. East and at home, we will see if they can take the next step
BW: There have been a lot of solid contributors to the Marlins offense early on, who should the Braves fear in this series (Giancarlo Stanton excluded)
CL: Casey McGehee has been a pleasant surprise this season. He has proven clutch with runners in scoring position and has provided more than adequate protection for Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. His numbers aren’t incredible, but he seems to get the big hit when needed. Also shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has been excellent. New Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino has worked with all of the Marlins’ hitters and he has done wonders in a short amount of time. Hech is staying back on off speed pitches and taking them the opposite way, and really showing some quick hands at the plate
BW: The starting rotation has been pretty solid out of the gate, with Nathan Eovaldi posting really good peripheral numbers. What can you say about the Marlins pitching staff coming into this series?
CL: Miami have only given up 3 earned runs in the last 27 innings pitched by their starting rotation. The first game you will see Tom Koehler who allowed 1 hit in 7 shutout innings last time out against the Nationals. He was one of the Marlins best pitchers in spring training and has parlayed that start into a 1.89 ERA early this season. The second game you will see Jose Fernandez. Obviously you are familiar with him. Fortunately you get him away from Marlins Park where he has been lights out. He has merely been fantastic on the road. For the finale you will see Nathan Eovaldi, who is the Marlins workhorse of the staff. He strikes out almost a hitter an inning and has seen a considerable improvement on his secondary pitches this season which has allowed him to really take the next step
BW: The Braves play extremely well in the later innings of the game, do the Marlins have the bullpen to fend off the Braves?
CL: Well that is certainly where the difference between the two teams lie. The Marlins bullpen has been suspect at times, including manager Mike Redmond‘s use of certain relievers. This team is a completely different team on the road, and a lot of that is due to the bullpen. If the game is close late, I would bet on the Braves hitters to overcome the Marlins relievers. Hopefully the Marlins can put it out of reach early.
BW: Given the detailed history of the Marlins and their star players, do you see Giancarlo Stanton or Jose Fernandez signing an extension that ensures the team a true star going into post rebuilding years?
CL: The multi-million dollar question. Selfishly I hope they sign both players to long contracts, but that won’t happen. As far as I am concerned, Stanton is a lost cause. Too much bad blood has transpired for him to trust this organization enough to sign him without a no-trade clause, which Miami refuses to give to anybody. Not to mention he is getting expensive quickly and could bring in a nice haul of young players in return. The Marlins have a loaded outfield and Stanton won’t be in the future plans. Fernandez, on the other hand, is a definite possibility. Owner Jeffrey Loria has brought his grandmother over the the States from Cuba, and has seemed to put forth some effort into making sure Fernandez knows how special he is to the organization. If they give him a fair offer he likely will sign, I just don’t see them offering him any large contract that he will deserve.
Special thanks to Chris Logel, co-editor of Marlin Maniac for his time and for bringing the idea of a Q&A to us, and I apologize in advance for the sweep the Marlins will be experiencing over the next three days!
Tags: Atlanta Braves