Having young superstars like Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez gives the Miami Marlins potential to be a special team down the road.
The pair is doing plenty to help Miami be a factor presently as well.
Stanton looks to extend his hitting streak and Fernandez takes the mound seeking another stellar outing as the Marlins shoot for a sixth straight victory Friday night against the host San Diego Padres.
Miami (20-15) won for the ninth time in 10 games Thursday thanks to Stanton, who crushed a two-run homer in the 11th for a 3-1 victory in the series opener. That blast was his NL-leading 11th and brought his major league-leading RBI total to 40.
Stanton is hitting .361 with four homers and 11 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak, with the Marlins outscoring opponents 52-27 in that stretch.
”That was pretty ridiculous,” pitcher Jacob Turner said of Stanton’s latest blast. ”To be able to hit that ball, on a line, at this park like that … I don’t know how many other guys could do that. He’s swinging a hot bat and whenever he does, he’s dangerous.”
This marks the Marlins’ first five-game winning streak since they won their first seven games in May 2012. Miami sits atop the NL East and is alone in that position in May for the first time since 2009.
Fernandez (4-1, 1.74 ERA) has been stellar as well, holding opponents to a .176 average while leading the majors with 65 strikeouts. He extended his streak to 25 innings without allowing an earned run in his last start before yielding two – plus another unearned run – while striking out 10 in seven innings of Miami’s 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
The right-hander was struck by a batted ball but said there are no lingering issues.
”It hit me hard,” Fernandez said. ”Right away my hamstring became really tight. I didn’t know if I was going to keep throwing. After that it was a little tougher to pitch. It was getting tighter and tighter and tighter.
"I already worked out and did everything I was supposed to do. So it’s fine. (Sunday) night it was hurting a lot. But I woke up (Monday), and it was a lot better."
Fernandez has dominated the Padres in two career starts, giving up two hits and striking out 10 in eight innings of a 4-0 win July 1 before allowing three hits and punching out eight in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-0 victory April 5.
San Diego’s offense, which ranks last in the majors with a .214 average and 92 runs and is tied at the bottom of the NL with 20 homers, may have a tough time getting to Fernandez this time around as well.
The Padres (15-21) have scored two runs during their three-game losing streak and have been outscored 37-17 while dropping seven of nine. Ian Kennedy’s homer in the second inning accounted for their only run Thursday.
San Diego will look to get on track behind Tyson Ross, who will try to build on his last start.
After posting a 2.13 ERA through his first four outings, Ross (3-3, 3.30) has gone 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA over his last three. He had a solid start Sunday, though, giving up three runs – one earned – in seven innings before San Diego walked off with a 4-3 win over Arizona.
"My slider was working well and I got a lot of ground balls, and the defense was good behind me," Ross said.
The right-hander has never started against the Marlins, though he loaded the bases before allowing a walk-off grand slam to Jeff Mathis in relief in a 6-2 loss June 30.