The Marlins have traded away their team. Make no mistake, we can't afford to lose this series. This is the very definition of the must-win games you capitalize on when you are in a pennant race. The Marlins have gone 3-7 in the last 10, even though they've won 2 in a row off the Padres. If it was possible, the Padres are even worse than the Marlins. The only downside is we have to play on a Monday. Here are the matchups.
Game 1: Hanson v. Buerhle
Game 2: Medlen v. Nolasco
Game 3: Sheets v. Zambrano
Game 4: Minor v. Eovaldi
If you were looking for a series where you didn't have Tim Hudson going, this is probably the best case scenario. Game one is on a Monday, so I don't really care who's pitching. It could be Cy Young out there for us in his heyday, he's still gotta deal with the curse. Until we break it, I don't bother previewing those games.
Medlen makes his first start of the season on Tuesday. Hallalujah! Somebody finally got the memo that JJ was slipping and Delgado was cursed. I get my wish that Krissy Meds takes the hill against a mediocre, fading to awful Marlins squad. Now, there is the possibility of a trade that could screw this up, but I doubt it. I think the Braves can't get any value for the guys we have right now, unless they are willing to deal somebody like Bourn or Prado, and that would be insane. I'd love to dump Delgado on somebody, but the only takers were the Cubs, and unless Dempster changes his mind that deal is dead. Medlen will go against Nolasco aka "That guy we owned in the face last series." I love that as a starting matchup considering Nolasco has lost 3 in a row, and 7 of his last 9. He's in trouble and we need to step on his throat.
Sheets may not actually be human. He could be some sort of cyborg that came out of retirement with the mission to win games and save John Connor. You've seen the results. He's 3-0 with a miniscule ERA. He faced Zambrano, who is one more violent tirade away from being thrown in prison. Zambrano has lost 8 of his last 9 with a 6.04 ERA in July. He's a walking emotional bomb. All we have to do is light the fuse and watch him blow up all over the infield. That should be relatively simple with Brian McCann hitting .643 off him with a dinger, and Chipper going .333 with 2 homers. Or yikkity's as he calls them. He may be going publicly senile on Twitter. However, he's allowed to make up words because he's Chipper Freaking Jones.
Minor isn't the Minor we remember from the beginning of the season. He's been slowly maturing into a pitcher that can hold his water in tougher spots, but he still struggles with the long ball. The difference now is that he doesn't let it ruin his day when he gives up a solo shot. That, and he's holding the homers to solo shots for the most part. However, last time he faced Miami he lost. Not his fault, since we only scored one run in that game. It's impossible to win at this stage of the year with that kind of offense, so Mike will hopefully get more support. The facts are impossible to deny that he's getting better though, 2-2 record aside. Mike's gone 27 innings in his last 4 games with only 6 earned runs. We should have gone 4-0 in that stretch with that kind of pitching. We didn't because of a bullpen implosion in SF and the aforementioned lack of production in Miami. Going for the Marlins, Eovaldi is a guy you've never heard of. Why? Because he's a 22 year old rook out of LA that they got in a trade. He's probably the guy to take most seriously in this series. He's on a tear in July going 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA. That's certainly better than any of the other dregs Miami will toss at us.
I agree with what Chipper said about these two upcoming series. There's no reason why we can't go 3-1 and win this thing. There's also no reason why we shouldn't win a game on Monday. Yet, here we are 0-12 on the season. So, put on your talismans, turn around three times, click your heels together, cross your fingers, and unplug your clocks. We're off to snap a curse.