Thursday, September 25, 2008

Scouting Report: Marlins at Nationals (9/25)

Again, I'm going to refer you to the preview I did on this exact match-up last week. Click here to check it out if you didn't read it the first time.

Since then, Anibal Sanchez has had two decent starts and seen his ERA begin to fall, as I predicted it would. Collin Balester however is coming off his second worst start of the season (game score 33) against the Padres and is dangerously close to seeing his ERA creep over 5 to end the season. Strasburg or no, you have to root for him tonight.

One recent slightly concerning trend is that Balester is suddenly becoming much more of a flyball pitcher--he hasn't had more GBs than FBs on balls in play in four straight starts. That's not his game. For the season, his GB/FB ratio stands at 1.06, while in Columbus it was 1.09. He needs to get back in that area or even better. That means keeping the ball down better.

Finally, for more on the Marlins' offense, check out my preview of game one of the series.

Fearless Prediction
Season Record: 32-21
Weather.com says the best prediction is that they aren't going to get the game in at all, in which case I suppose the Marlins would have to come back to DC for a make up game the day after the last game of the season. But if the game is played I'll bet on Sanchez continuing his run of solid but unspectacular starts as the Marlins win, 5-2.
  • Brian from NFA points out that if there aren't playoff implications that tonight's game could simply be canceled, leaving the Nationals and the Marlins each with 161 games played for the season. There are probably other examples, but this at least happened in 2003 when the Giants and the Mets had a season-ending make-up game canceled at the request of the playoff-bound visiting Giants. The Mets ended the year with a 66-95 record while the Giants finished 100-61. Interestingly, in that case I'm not sure it's even fair to say that skipping the regular season make-up finale had no playoff implications. The Giants began their playoff series with the Marlins on September 30, two days after the cancelled make-up, allowing them more time to rest their staff and set up their rotation. Personally, without deep thought, I don't like this. The baseball season is 162 games, dammit. Would it be ok for the Cubs to just take the rest of their season off since they've already clinched? How about if Manny had just folded the ninth inning last night since it was a blowout and the season is over anyway. Why not just cancel tonight right now, or decide the outcome with a game of rock-paper-scissors with Fredi Gonzalez. I'm obviously making too much out of a pretty much meaningless thing, but I've been watching meaningless baseball since August 2005. It's hard for me to accept that somehow this game is not worth playing because the players would have to get on a plane and skip some tee times.

7 comments:

Brian said...

Weather.com says the best prediction is that they aren't going to get the game in at all, in which case I suppose the Marlins would have to come back to DC for a make up game the day after the last game of the season.

I doubt it would be made up since it has no bearing on the playoff races.

Steven said...

Really? You think they'd just let the teams end the season with 161 games played? Then what do you do about Strasburg? And service time? And the fans who paid for tickets?

Has this ever happened before? I really have no idea--I was just guessing that they'd have to make it up somehow.

Sean Hogan said...

I'm with Brian...I'm pretty sure they only make up games that have playoff race implications. I know game 3 the Cubs-Astros series that was moved to Milwaukee was only going to be played if the game had any bearing on the playoff race.

Brian said...

They only make games up when they have to. The White Sox have a game with Detroit that will only be made up if it has playoff implications. As of today, it would but if either the Twins or White Sox have a 1.5 game lead after Sunday, the game is not made up.

Strasburg question - It's based on the winning percentage. If Seattle plays 162 and the Nats play 161 then if the M's were to finish with the same number of wins as the Nats, the Nats would lose out by 0.5 game. If the Mariners finish with the same number of losses as the Nats, the Nats would take the #1 pick by 0.5 game.

Service time - They already got a full season of service time with Sunday's game. They earned the day already on the rainout game. The "extra" day is just that an extra day. And when you weigh it out versus the travel, I'm preet sure the MLBPA is not too concerned

Fans with tickets - SOL is my guess though I'd imagine there might be consideration for the last game of the season. (Maybe a ticket to a non-opening day next year)

Happened before - It has happened before (St. Louis & San Francisco played only 161 in 2006 [last time])

Brian said...

also TB & PIT in 2004

Steven said...

Brian--thanks for the examples. I amended my post with another example, the Mets in 2003.

Oh well, I'm a hopeless completist I guess. Shit, I even own copies of Under the Red Sky and Self Portrait.

An Briosca Mor said...

Fans with tickets - SOL is my guess though I'd imagine there might be consideration for the last game of the season. (Maybe a ticket to a non-opening day next year)

Most likely if the game is canceled tonight and you're holding a ticket, that ticket then becomes a rain check. For the rained out Cards game earlier this season, rain checks could be used either for admittance to the rescheduled game or traded in at the box office for a ticket to a future game this season. If tonight's game is rained out and not rescheduled, then they'll let you trade in your rain check for a future game next season. Or maybe they'll give you a refund, but you'd probably have to take your rain check to the box office to get it.