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Orioles-Marlins series preview: Swimming with the fish

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The O’s are in Miami for a quick two-games series, with games tonight and tomorrow afternoon.

MLB: AUG 05 Marlins at Orioles Game 1
Orioles catcher Pedro Severino leaves the field after Marlins second baseman Jon Berti strikes outs.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a shared off day yesterday, the Orioles and Marlins kickstart a two-game series this evening in Miami. Last year the Marlins swept the season series against the O’s, four games to none. Baltimore was outscored 15-8.

So far in 2021, the Marlins occupy third place in the NL East — two games behind the division-leading Mets — with a 7-8 record. At home, the Fish are 3-6. Their pitching staff ranks ninth in the majors with a 1.15 WHIP and 11th in ERA at 3.69. Hitting-wise, they rank near the middle of the league in several offensive categories.

The Marlins have a few standouts who currently rank No. 1 and No. 2 on the team in OPS: 23-year-old second baseman Jazz Chisholm, who’s slashing .325/.451/.675 with a 1.126 OPS, and veteran Starling Marte, who’s got a .316/.420/.491 triple slash with a .912 OPS. Each has three steals as well. However, Marte was diagnosed with a rib fracture yesterday and will miss the series.

And don’t forget, there’s a familiar face in the Marlins bullpen. Former Oriole minor leaguer and Rule 5 pick Zach Pop did well enough in spring training to earn a spot on Miami’s 26-man roster. But he’s had a rough start to the year, having allowed seven earned runs in 4.1 innings (14.54 ERA), with three walks, five strikeouts, and two home runs.

Game 1: Tuesday, 6:40 PM

RHP Matt Harvey (0-1, 5.02 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Neidert (0-0, 4.00 ERA)

Harvey is still looking for his first win of 2021. The Dark Knight carries a 5.02 ERA, 4.07 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP into tonight’s game, along with 7.5 K/9 and 4.00 K/BB.

In his most recent start, a no-decision, Harvey allowed two runs over 4.2 innings. In seven career starts (40 IP) at loanDepot park in Miami, the right-hander has a 3.83 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 4.50 K/BB, and only one home run allowed.

Marlins 24-year-old right-hander Nick Neidert made his major league debut last year, appearing in four games and allowing five runs over 8.1 innings. The former 2nd round pick of the Mariners in 2015, Neidert is currently listed by MLB Pipeline as Miami's 11th best prospect and has notable scouting grades of 60 (20-80 grading scale) for his changeup and control.

The control has yet to show up in the bigs, and with a 1.89 WHIP so far this year, Neidert is letting a lot of guys on base. He walked five and struck out three in 4.1 innings against the Mets, and more recently, that ratio was four walks to three strikeouts in 4.2 IP versus the Braves. This wildness presents an interesting foil to the Orioles’ aggressive batting approach.

Game 2: Wednesday, 1:10 PM

LHP Bruce Zimmermann (1-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. LHP Trevor Rogers (1-1, 2.40 ERA)

A rare mid-week day game will close out the two-game series. And it will be a left-on-left pitching matchup in the finale.

In each of his three games started this year, young Oriole Bruce Zimmermann has thrown five-plus innings. Two of those were quality starts. Overall, the O’s lefty has allowed eight runs in 17 innings pitched with 5.8 K/9 and 2.20 K/BB. His four home runs allowed equates to a 2.1 HR/9 in the early going. With loanDepot park ranking as one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball, maybe Zimmermann can turn around his fortunes in the long ball department.

On the other side, left-hander Trevor Rogers gets the ball for Miami. He was a first-round high school draftee of the Marlins in 2017 who debuted in 2020, putting up a 6.43 ERA and 1.61 WHIP despite a 4.33 FIP. He’s fared better this year, coming into the series with a 2.40 ERA, 2.90 FIP, and 1.13 WHIP in three starts covering 15 innings. He’s also missing a lot of bats with 23 strikeouts already (13.8 K/9). How will the O’s lineup fare against this strikeout pitcher?

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    2 (sweep the Marlins)
    (34 votes)
  • 62%
    1 (even split)
    (79 votes)
  • 10%
    0 (get swept by the Marlins)
    (13 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now