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Marlins/Giants Series Preview

Ozzie Virgil will lead us through the afterlife one of these days, and we'll get a full tour of everything the Marlins have done to the Giants. The first circle has a two-hour .gif of Kevin Brown's no-hitter that makes your computer run like an Apple IIe. The ninth circle is Fox commentators dissecting the Buster Posey injury with slow-motion video and wacky sound effects. In the middle is J.T. Snow chugging around third base. Dante Powell wrote the whole thing, of course.

There's a problem, though. There are circles to fill in, and there are more Marlins series to play before one of us sinks into the ocean. There's so much more that can go wrong. Think about the Reds. What in the hell have the Reds done to the Giants? Those two teams have been playing each other for over a century. You can pick out little things, like Paul O'Neill and Scott Garrelts, but now you're digging deep.

The Marlins have been around for 19-plus years, and they've already graffitied the mural of Giants history more than most teams. Every series against them is going to make me a twitchy, jittery thing from now until the end of time. DON'T YOU GET IT, THERE ARE CIRCLES TO FILL IN!!! I'm not superstitious or fatalistic in real life, but baseball gets me. And the Marlins make me a superstitious, fatalistic idiot like few other teams.

I've already explored the idea of Cody Ross as some sort of cosmic peace offering. And it makes sense, even if it makes you get into all sorts of philosophical arguments about how much annoyance and suffering you would endure as a fan in exchange for a single championship. Maybe the ledger is clean.

But what I'd like to think is this: The Marlins have been assigned a cosmic penalty for hurting Buster Posey. Not a huge one, mind you. The cosmos is orderly and civilized, remember.

Well, okay, "orderly and civilized" probably aren't the best words for the universe. But I'd like to think the penalty meted out by it in this situation wouldn't be unfair or too harsh. Nothing to do with Giancarlo Stanton, and nothing to do with getting contracted, or anything vindictive like that. I'd like to think that for one season, they get to watch a team pitch their brains out without hitting a lick. Congratulations, Marlins: You're now the 2011 Giants, a monstrosity which you helped create. Something like that.

And it's kinda sorta happening. Other than a slow start from Josh Johnson, the rotation has been pretty good for Miami. Mark Buehrle is great fit for their ballpark, which can fit six Petco Parks in left-center alone. Ricky Nolasco is off to one of his better starts in years, Anibal Sanchez has been going nuts with the strikeouts, and even Carlos Zambrano has been adding value to the team.

The offense is being absolutely carried by Omar Infante.

My hope is that the Marlins get to enjoy 2-1 game after 3-2 game after 1-0 game all year long. Maybe they'll win more than they lose … but not win enough to make the playoffs. And when they look back on the season filled with great pitching, they'll lament what could have been if we had any hitting worth a damn.

It would be poetic. A harsh-but-fair punishment. In order for this to happen, the Marlins would need to continue pitching well, though. They'd have to continue keeping runs off the board.

I think I know of a way the Giants can help.

Hitter(s) to watch
Do I believe any of that crap up there? Of course not, but you think of something interesting about the Marlins. All of those words were fancyspeak for "The Marlins are sucking offensively right now. That probably isn't going to last, so it's best to point it out now." There's no way you can possibly believe that Jose Reyes, Giancarlo Stanton, and Hanley Ramirez are going to be this decrepit all year.

That's before even getting into the players who should at least be decent, like Gaby Sanchez, John Buck, or Emilio Bonifacio. The Marlins should hit a lot better than they have been. If they could just hold off for one more series, that'd be just ducky.

Pitcher to watch
The average start for Anibal Sanchez against the Giants in his seven-year career: a complete-game shutout. And by "average", I mean "mode", but still. Check this out:

San Francisco Giants 2 0 0.75 3 2 2 24.0 11 2 0 4 19

And our secret weapon is gone, too. Both of those earned runs were driven in by Aaron Rowand. His infiltration efforts to join the Marlins were thwarted, and now we're really screwed.

Also of note: The only reason Sanchez isn't 3-0 against the Giants in three starts is that Rowand hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning against Leo Nunez, who was so embarrassed that he changed his name.

If there's any consolation, it's that Sanchez isn't pitching that well. He had walked four hitters in seven innings in his last game, which is way above the league average. Just ignore the 14 freaking strikeouts, and it looks like he's scuffling.