The Miami Marlins (57-60) conclude a stretch of 13 consecutive games against National League Central opponents with a home series against the NL Wild Card-leading St. Louis Cardinals (62-54) from Monday through Wednesday.
Miami returns from a 3-3 trip for a nine-game homestand. The Marlins are 4-7 at Marlins Park since the All-Star Game. The Cardinals are 5-4 this month but dropped a weekend set in Baltimore.
Prior to the break, Miami took two of three from St. Louis for its first series win vs. the Cardinals since 2009. The Marlins are five games back in the wild-card race with the Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds ahead in the standings.
Right-hander Tom Koehler opens the series on Monday. He lost his last start, but settled down after surrendering four first-inning runs. Koehler gave the club five scoreless frames but his early lack of command (four walks) proved to be costly. He has pitched at least six innings in eight of his past 10 outings. Righty Shelby Miller has been solid since the All-Star break, allowing just five runs in 18 2/3 innings. He has not permitted more than four hits in each of those games. Miller lasted just 5 1/3 innings after the Marlins scored three runs on nine hits July 5.
Since starting the All-Star Game, righty Adam Wainwright has had two good and two bad starts. Last week, he allowed just two runs over seven innings for a win against the Boston Red Sox. Before that, the Milwaukee Brewers put up seven runs in 5 1/3.
Can righty Nathan Eovaldi continue showing flashes of his 2014 early-season and 2013 form? Over his past two starts — both against the Reds — Eovaldi has given up just one run on seven hits over 15 innings. His velocity has consistently been in the upper 90s with mechanical adjustments. He lost to the Cardinals prior to the break, allowing three runs over six. Righty Justin Masterson, acquired at the trade deadline, hasn’t lived up to the deal in two starts. He has surrendered 10 runs (five apiece) on 14 hits over eight frames.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Cardinals-Marlins series …
SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS
SS Jhonny Peralta (Cardinals): Peralta capped the final two games in Baltimore with five hits over eight at-bats with two runs, two RBI and a walk. Sunday marked just his third three-hit game of the season and first time with back-to-back RBI games since July 11-12. He has multi-hit contests in three of his past four.
3B Casey McGehee (Marlins): Call him a ”hot” hitter compared to how he looked at the plate over the past few weeks. McGehee’s bat is starting to come around as he has multi-hit games in two of the past four, bringing his average back to .300. He knocked his third homer of the season on Sunday for his first RBI in 11 contests. Also note: Giancarlo Stanton has six homers in his past 10 games (all but one solo shots).
1B Matt Adams (Cardinals): Although he still leads the team in hitting, Adams went just 2 for 12 with an RBI and three strikeouts this past weekend in Baltimore. Over his past 10 games, he is batting .216 with three runs, no homers, three RBI, two walks and six strikeouts.
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Marlins): Over his past 10 games, Saltalamacchia is batting .080 (2 for 25) with five runs, three RBI, 12 strikeouts and nine walks. He last collected a hit on July 28 — a span of seven games. His .218 average is lowest among Marlins regulars. He has, however, reached via a free pass in four straight games.
78: Homers for the Cardinals, the fewest in the NL
2.11: ERA for Wainwright in eight games (six starts) against the Marlins
41.6: Percent of Miami’s total runs have come with two outs
16: Runs over the three-game series in St. Louis for the Marlins. They have not been able to score as many in a three-game stretch since.
”I’m happy with the way we responded after losing two in Pittsburgh. We came in here and won two games, two close games. To finish the trip 3-3, I’m fine with that. Now we’ve got a long homestand, where we can get home and get comfortable — and hopefully win some ballgames.” — Manager Mike Redmond, to reporters in Cincinnati, on the club’s 3-3 trip
”I was stuck at 119 forever.” — Right-hander Brad Penny, to reporters in Cincinnati, on collecting his 120th win (first since 2011) on Saturday
PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS
August 11 — South Florida Heroes Monday; All You Can Eat Special; Monday Madness group offer