The Marlins come limping into Petco Park for a three game set against the San Diego Padres. For the Marlins it’s been a tough road back from the All-Star Game after getting swept by the NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies sending them a game below the .500 mark (46-47) and seven games back in the standings. If the Marlins still intend on making the playoffs, they might have to start looking at something they are a bit more familiar with, the wild card race. The Fish currently sit five games back in the wild card race and can’t afford to lose any more ground at the hands of the last place Padres. The time is now for the Florida Marlins to decide whether or not they plan on contending with news circulating that the club is very close to becoming sellers rather than buyers in the trade market. The two-time winner of the Scott Olsen Mugshot Memorial Award, the Marlins offense, will have to start putting runs on the board if they plan on winning anytime soon.
The Padres (37-55) are also looking for ways to win. They are owners of the National Leagues 2nd worst record and just dropped three of four games to the Rockies. San Diego’s offense has been stuck in a rut for quite some time now, not only did they get no-hit by San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez a week ago, they only mustered up 8 runs total in the four games against the Rockies. The Padres do lead the majors in one category though, the least amount of runs scored per game. The Friars average a whopping 3.7 runs per game, and can blame some of that on the pitcher-friendly Petco Park where they average 3.5 runs per game. So the series should come down to which teams offense decides to wake up first, and if you’re a Marlins fan, you’ve got to think that the Marlins need at least two of three from the Padres to stay in contention.
Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups:
7/20/09, 10:05 PM ET
Rick VandenHurk, RHP (0-0, 0.00) vs. Tim Stauffer, RHP (0-1, 2.57)
Marlins: Welcome back Rick. The Netherlands pride and joy has made his way back to the majors for the Marlins and will take Sean West spot in the rotation. VandenHurk has certainly earned his shot to be the fifth starter after posting a 4-1 record with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts for AAA New Orleans since returning from the disabled list on May 30. The Padres offense should be a nice welcome back for the youngster.
Padres: Tim Stauffer is also getting another shot in the Majors after missing the entire 2008 season with labrum surgery. This will be Stauffer’s second start back with the Padres. In his last outing he went seven innings and gave up two earned runs in receiving the loss against the Giants. The right hander features a fastball in low 90′s , and a decent curveball being his out pitch.
7/21/09, 10:05 PM ET
Chris Volstad, RHP (6-9, 4.53) vs. Chad Gaudin, RHP (4-8, 4.84)
Marlins: For Chris the home run woes continue, he has now allowed 20 home runs over his last 19 starts. The Phillies handed Volstad the loss his last time out backed behind his six innings of four run ball. The Marlins are hoping Petco Park keeps some of Volstad’s pitches in the park and he can pick up where he left off since last visiting the west coast.
Padres: For the Padres they will send Chad Gaudin to the mound. Gaudin has had an up and down year for the Padres, he has strung several solid starts together in the past to follow it up with a meltdown. If Gaudin is going to avoid another meltdown he will need to work on the base on balls, he has allowed four free passes in his last three games. Gaudin does have the ability to strike out a few batters and the Marlins swing happy offense could provide a nice matchup.
7/22/09, 3:35 PM ET
Ricky Nolasco, RHP (6-7, 5.77) vs. Josh Geer, RHP (1-5, 6.02)
Marlins: Nolasco will look to turn it around after going six innings and surrendering four runs to Phillies. Nolasco was not all bad in his last start, he struggled out the gate allowing two runs in the first off a Chase Utley home run, but then settled down to retire the next 9 batters. He was later touched up for two more runs and left the game with a no decision. Nolasco is a key part for the Marlins success and will need to step up his performances if the Marlins look to contend.
Padres: Josh Geer’s troubles continue, the right hander has allowed eleven earned runs over his last two outings and has yet to make it to the fifth inning. Like Volstad, Geer has also been bitten by the home run ball, he has allowed 23 home runs this season and leads the National League in that department.