Miami Marlins Host The Tampa Bay Rays in Three-Game Set
By David Levin
Welcome to the Sunshine State Series as the Miami Marlins play the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series that begins Monday night at Marlins Park. Game time for Game 1 is set for 7:10 p.m.
The Marlins come off a series win over the New York Mets, but lost their last game, 5-2, on Sunday. Miami looks to bounce back to continue to gain momentum as the ball club inches closer to the All-Star break. At 34-51 and by virtue of their loss to the Mets, Miami is back in last place in the National League East.
The Rays are smack in the middle of the American League East division with a 42-41 record and have won their last three games in a row.
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JULY 2: Nathan Eovaldi (Tampa Bay) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (Miami)
Eovaldi is no stranger to the Marlins, as he pitched for the team from 2012-2014. He is 2-3 this season with a 4.08 ERA with 30 strikeouts on the season. The Marlins counter with Chen, who is a different pitcher at home than on the road. Don’t let the 2-5 record and 6.14 ERA fool you, home is where Chen has pitched his best baseball this season.
Per MLB.com, Chen was impressive in his last outing, allowing just five hit and one run over six innings. In five starts this season at home, he has posted a 2.30 ERA.
Eovaldi held the Washington Nationals hitless for 5 2/3 innings in his last outing, which led to his second win of the 2018 season.
JULY 3: PITCHERS TBA. Game time is 7:10 p.m.
JULY 4: PITCHERS TBA. Game time is 1:10 p.m.
Trends to watch
The Marlins continue to be an enigma on the diamond. The team started rookies Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez on the mound on Friday and Saturday. Each earned their first Major League win in their first starts as Marlins.
Per Miami’s public relations department, that marks the first time since 1967 that two NL teammates won their first career starts in consecutive days.
I am interested to see if Chen continues his success at home. While the road has not been kind to him, he appears more comfortable on the rubber at Marlins Park. Can he get the run support needed to grab a lead before giving way to the bullpen?
Miami hitters have enjoyed success against Eovaldi in the past.
First baseman Justin Bour, outfielder Derek Dietrich, and catcher J.T. Realmuto are all batting 1.000 against the right-hander. On the flip side, there are a number of Marlins who have not faced Eovaldi and this will be their first encounter.
Brian Anderson, Lewis Brinson, Bryan Holaday, JTRiddle, Yadiel Rivera and Miguel Rojas will try to join the club of players who have gotten a hit off the former Marlins pitcher.
Next: Can Dan Straily Lead This Group Of Young Marlins Pitchers?
Late Push For Realmuto
Realmuto is still on the outside looking in but has made it to the top five catchers in the National League All-Star voting. This series could help him in terms of fan voting. In 60 games this season since returning from the disabled list, Realmuto is batting .309 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI. He has an OBP of .366, slugging percentage of .542 and an OPS of .908.
Miami will have at least one All-Star (MLB rules state each team must have one representative in the game). The only other player that may get consideration is rookie Brian Anderson who has split time between third base and the outfield this season. Anderson is batting .288 and leads the team with 40 RBI.