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Red Sox vs. Marlins Series Preview

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The Red Sox welcome the Marlins to Fenway for a three-game set.

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

SB Nation Blog

Fish Stripes

The opponent in one sentence

The Marlins were the most surprising team to make the postseason last year, and they are hanging around .500 again this year thanks to a young rotation carrying the roster.

Record

24-26

Head-to-head record

0-0

Trend

Up. The Marlins have been on a bit of a rollercoaster this year, but the last couple of weeks have been good at an important time for them in division games. They are coming off a series split with the Phillies, and before that they took two of three from the Mets and two of three from the Phillies.

Pitching Matchups

5/28: Martín Pérez vs. Cody Poteet, 7:10 PM ET (MLB Network for out-of-network)

Pérez has been a revelation at the back of the Red Sox rotation, and he’s getting more and more trust as the year goes on. He’s been pitching well pretty much the entire season so far, but earlier in the schedule he was only pitching four or five outings each times out. The performance has allowed Alex Cora to give Pérez more leash of late, and he’s gone six full innings in each of his last two outings, allowing just three runs with 12 strikeouts. The strikeout rate has been most impressive for him this season, and he has a good chance to keep his momentum in this series against an underperforming Marlins lineup.

Poteet is the first of three young starters the Red Sox offense is going to see this year, and the young righty is having a very good start to his major-league career. He’s only been up for three starts, but he’s allowed just two runs total, and they were both in his first start. Since then he has tossed 12 shutout innings. Poteet isn’t going to be getting a ton of strikeouts in this game. Instead, he relies on terrific command to limit his walks and make it difficult to square him up. It’s certainly worked so far. The 26-year-old will feature a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a changeup, a slider and a curveball.

Boston Red Sox v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

5/29: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Trevor Rogers, 4:10 PM ET

After getting off to a scorching start at the top of this rotation, Eovaldi has been on a bit of a rollercoaster for his last handful of outings. Look back specifically at his last seven starts, dating back to April 19, he has allowed at least four runs in four of them, but two or fewer in the other three. He’s also seemingly gone back and forth between performances of late, with a bad start being followed by a good one. The bad news there is that he allowed just two runs in his last start, which means he will be looking to string together positive starts for the first time since his third time taking the mound this season.

Rogers has emerged as the ace of this staff in the early portion of this season, building off a tough rookie year in 2020 to dominate through his first 10 starts in 2021. The southpaw has tossed 56 23 innings so far this season, pitching to a 1.75 ERA with over 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He has had a little bit of trouble with walks, but he’s been able to work past that with the stuff and some luck in keeping the ball in the ballpark. He’s been particularly great of late, allowed just one earned run in each of his last four starts. Rogers will feature a fastball that sits in the mid-90s along with a a changeup and a slider.

5/30: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Sandy Alcantara, 1:10 PM ET

This is a big start for Rodriguez, I think, as the lefty has hit a snag in his season of late. The peripherals still suggest there is success right around the corner, but the fact is he’s giving up contact, and that contact is leading to hits, and those hits are leading to runs. The lefty has allowed at least four runs in four of his five outings this month, and this is his last chance to reverse the trend before June. If he’s not able to keep this Marlins lineup in check, there may be some cause for concern that at least I have not reached yet. That said, it seems to me that he needs to a good outing to build off and will be able to take that momentum going forward, and this is a good matchup to make it happen.

Alcantara has been around for a few years now, and despite being only 25 years old he qualifies as the veteran of this rotation. Although he came up allowing a ton of contact and relying on luck and command to get results, he’s starting to miss more bats the last couple of years and looking like a guy who can sustain his success. The ERA looks more fine than great at 3.46, but that’s largely due to a blow up outing earlier this month in which he allowed eight runs in just an inning and a third. Not including that start, he’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in his last six outings, including two total runs over his last two starts. Alcantara, a righty, will feature a pair of high-90s fastballs, a changeup, and a slider.

Old Friends

Sandy León was in Boston for a few years, serving as a defensive-oriented backup catcher with little-to-no offense. That said, he did have that one run in 2016 where he looked like a superstar for a random six-week stretch. We’ll always have that stretch. He’s now serving a similar role in Miami to the one he served in Boston.

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Notable Position Players

Jesús Aguilar has been the big power bat in the middle of the Marlins lineup. He looked like he was about to lose his job as a full-time player in this league, but has revived his career in Miami and he has nine homers so far this year to go with impressive plate discipline.

Miguel Rojas is the face of this lineup insofar as there is one. He’s a good defensive shortstop and he’s using his on-base skills to put together a strong start to the year with a 125 wRC+.

Adam Duvall won’t walk much and he strikes out too much, but he also mashes against lefties and hits for big power in general, making him a threat every time he steps to the plate.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. has been electric at the top of this lineup, and despite a high strikeout rate he’s using power and some batted ball luck to provide a spark in the leadoff position.

Garrett Cooper has been a bit banged up of late, but when he’s healthy he is a solid power hitter who can get hot and provide an impact.

Corey Dickerson is a good platoon lefty, although he’s had some trouble tapping into his power so far this year.

Jon Berti can fly on the bases, but he doesn’t really have the skillset offensively to utilize the speed as much as he’d probably like.

Jorge Alfaro was once a top prospect, but his free-swinging and lack of contact has held him back and he’s never been able to get his career going consistently.

Bullpen Snapshot

Yimi García has emerged as the Marlins closer, and he's making good on the promise of which he showed flashes in LA earlier in his career. His sub-2.00 ERA was is probably a bit inflated based on his peripherals, but he will miss bats and show off control, making him a tough ninth inning matchup.

Dylan Floro is another former Dodger, and he’s been able to keep the ball in the yard all year which has led to good numbers as a setup man.

Anthony Bass hasn’t been quite as effective in the late innings as the other two, largely due to being mediocre with both strikeouts and walks.

Injuries

Starling Marte hasn’t played since the first couple of weeks of the season due to a rib injury, but it looks like he may be activated for this series, which will be a boost for this Marlins lineup.

Brian Anderson just hit the injured list earlier this week with a shoulder issue and will likely miss most of June.

Lewis Brinson has been dealing with a finger injury for about a week, and while it doesn’t appear serious there is also no timetable for his return as of yet.

Elieser Hernandez went down early in they ear with a biceps injury, and he was recently transferred to the 60-day IL meaning he’ll be out for a bit longer, at least.

Nick Neidert just hit the IL on Thursday with a biceps issue of his own.

Jordan Holloway suffered a groin strain last weekend and will miss a bit of time in the Marlins rotation.

Jorge Guzman has been dealing with an elbow issue since camp, and a recent setback will keep him out for the foreseeable future.

Jeff Brigham was put on the 60-day injured list when he was first able to be placed there in February and there hasn’t been much news since.

Paul Campbell tested positive for a PED in early May and was suspended for 80 games.

Weather Forecast

It’s going to be a dicey weekend in Boston and it seems like rain is going to make things very difficult for this whole series. On Friday, there is some rain in the forecast pretty much all night, and Sunday afternoon looks rainy too. There is a window in the late afternoon and evening on Saturday, but I’m not sure how they’ll be able to get all three games in as scheduled this weekend. We’ll see.


A big thank you to FanGraphs, and particularly their Roster Resource tool, as well as Baseball Savant for research.