Game Day Preview: 4/8, Mets vs. Marlins

As predicted, the Mets and Marlins will play a rubber game after each team won in a favorable pitching match-up. Last night's game was intense, at times excruciating, and probably left you thinking, "This schlub is our #2 starter? Our rotation really is that bad." Good news: the Mets' third and fourth starters are better than Maine. Also good news: it's just the second game, calm down. Potentially bad news: our rotation might actually be that bad. 

Predicted Lineups

The tyranny of Mike Jacobs batting cleanup is over...for a day. Tatis will likely start against the left-handed Nate Roberston, with Tejada spelling Cora. I'm guessing Matthews leads off because he's a centerfielder, ergo he is fast and should lead off. 

  1. Gary Matthews-"CF"
  2. Luis Castillo-"2B"
  3. David Wright-3B
  4. Jason Bay-LF
  5. Fernando Tatis-1B
  6. Jeff Francoeur-RF
  7. Bod Rarajas-C
  8. Ruben Tejada-SS
  9. Marathon Niese-P

The Marlins, a team with useful platoons that don't involve Mike Jacobs, will probably go with the Opening Day lineup.

  1. Chris Coghlan-shallow LF to the backstop
  2. Cameron Maybin-CF
  3. Hanley Ramirez-SS
  4. Jorge Cantu-3B
  5. Dan Uggla-2B
  6. Ronny Paulino-C
  7. Cody Ross-RF
  8. Gaby Sanchez-1B
  9. Nate Robertson-P

Probable Pitchers

Jon Niese

#49 / Pitcher / New York Mets





Oct 27, 1986

Scouting Report: The SBNation picture of Niese wasn't working, so I stole this huge one. It appears his face is pretty asymmetrical. Anyways, Jon throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cut-fastball, curveball, and changeup. Due to a lack of velocity, his fastball is limited in its effectiveness as a primary pitch. His ability to run the two-seamer in on lefties and the cutter in on righties compensates quite well, however, and generates some groundballs. A 12-6 curveball is his out-pitch. His control projects to be at least decent, a feat on this team. Scouts love to throw the "fourth starter" projection on Niese, but that's a label meant to indicate his ceiling is limited by his stuff. The combination of the parts is a pretty solid starter. 

Key Matchups:

  • Chris "cogz4SimontheCanaanite" Coghlan hits curveballs well and hasn't demonstrated a platoon split so far in his young career. 
  • Cameron Maybin can hit curveballs decently too, which makes sense, considering he swings 12 to 6.

Nate Robertson

#39 / Pitcher / Florida Marlins





Sep 03, 1977

Scouting Report: Nate Robertson actually debuted with the Marlins in 2002, before being traded to the Tigers, where he would later take a picture of himself with the camera way to close to his face and goggles on. A switch to the National League might help Robertson, who was quietly decent for the Tigers for several years. His stuff is the epitome of average--his career swing strike percentage is exactly average at 8.6%. His fastball is even slower than Niese's, in the 86-89 range, complimented a changeup that's equally uninspiring. Robertson's favorite pitch is a slider that was flat last year, but had been decent in the past. It's worth nothing he missed significant time in '09 to elbow surgery. 

Key Matchups:

  • Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes--Fangraphs run values lists these switch hitters as particularly good against sliders when...crap. 
  • Rod Barajas--Well, not really. I looked up which of the Mets' American League imports had hit Robertson the best and it was Rod Barjas, with four hits and a few walks. Way to beat out Little Sarge, Rod. 

Things to Watch For

  • Only three times in his career, twice in his miserable '08 and once in his rookie season, has Jeff Francoeur walked three games in a row. In each instance, he walked exactly 3 times. He has walked in four games in a row once.
  • Mike Jacobs trying to set the Guinness World Record for total volume of tobacco in a mouth. 
  • Mike Jacobs striking out from the dugout.
  • Keith and Ron debating the relative merits of Robertson's goggles versus Frankie's. 
  • The results of my decision to pick up Robertson in the Amazin' Avenue NL-only league.
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