Prior to the Mets’ four-game series with the Marlins, we spoke with Ehsan Kassim of fellow FanSided site Marlin Maniac about some pressing Marlins issues…
Rising Apple: What’s the latest on Henderson Alvarez? He was placed on the disabled list with both elbow and shoulder issues, but the Marlins are being a bit vague about what’s wrong with him.
Ehsan Kassim: Since he was placed on the DL, the Marlins have been very mum about Henderson Alvarez’s situation,. He landed on the 15-day DL after his start last Sunday, due to inflammation in both his right elbow and shoulder. The more concerning injury is the shoulder, as he has missed time each of the previous three seasons with the injury. The last report I read was that the team did feel he could be back within the month, if not right after his 15-day DL stint expires. For the team’s best chance at competing, that needs to be what transpires.
RA: How has Giancarlo Stanton looked so far this season? I know the results aren’t there yet, but is he hitting into hard luck? Is there any thought that last season’s hit by pitch is negatively impacting him?
EK: I don’t think he’s let last year’s pitch to his face affect him negatively, too much. I’ve seen him flinch a couple of times on inside pitches, but other than that, he’s seemed fine to me. Other than last season, Giancarlo has struggled in the month of April, so him not hitting yet does not concern me too much. Historically, he has also struggled against Braves pitching, so playing them six of the first nine games of the season does not help, either. His bat did come alive the final two games in Atlanta, so we may be nearing one of his hot streaks.
RA: What are your thoughts so far on Dee Gordon, who the Marlins acquired this offseason?
EK: I’ve always liked Dee Gordon as a player and when I heard the Marlins were interested in him, I was happy. However, I was afraid the Marlins would overpay for a one tool player, which turned out to be the case. Dee’s game is very exciting and he can spark a rally at any time with his speed. He has a 157 wRC+ so far this year, something I do not see him sustaining. But he will bring the Marlins a league average second baseman, something the team hasn’t had since Omar Infante. So that’s pretty good.
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RA: How has the fan reaction been to this team? Are the fans legitimately excited and turning out, or has it been muted?
EK: The Marlins sold out opening day and then their attendance started to flatten out after that. They are currently 28th in average attendance this season, which would seem to indicate there isn’t interest in the team. But from working social media and the blog, I do see lots of interest in this team – some which may translate into fans filling the stadium – if the team can get into contention as summer hits.
RA: Lots of experts picked the Marlins to make the playoffs, something I found to be a bit odd considering their current lack of top of the rotation pitchers. What were your thoughts on their potential heading into the season and what are your thoughts now?
EK: I pegged the Marlins as an 83-win team before the season, citing the lack of top of the rotation arm you mentioned and questions around their infield. Those 83 wins are not a playoff team in my view, so I agree with you that I was not on board with these experts picking the Marlins to win the wild card. Jon Morosi picking the Marlins to win the division was extremely delusional. Right now, I’d peg the Marlins as an 81-win team. The outfield talent, Jose Fernandez, and Henderson Alvarez are phenomenal, but the rest of the team is close to average, in my opinion. I hope they prove me wrong.
RA: How do you see the upcoming four-game series with the Mets shaking out?
EK: My gut tells me the Mets take 3 of 4 in this series, as they have an edge in the pitching matchups. My Marlins fan bias tells me to say Marlins win 3 of 4. So I’ll hedge my bets and say the two teams split the four game series, 2 apiece. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mets win it.