The postseason chase continues with a four-game set between the Miami Marlins (53-54) and Cincinnati Reds (53-54). Both teams sit 4 1/2 back in the National League Wild Card race.
While Miami has won nine of 11, Cincinnati has dropped 10 of 12 since the All-Star break. The Marlins took two of three from the first-place Washington Nationals. The Reds lost two of three to the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
This will be the first meeting between the clubs this year. They will close out the season series next weekend at Great American Ball Park. Since 2012, Cincinnati has won five in a row against Miami, including seven of the last eight.
Right-hander Tom Koehler opens the set against All-Star Johnny Cueto. In his last start, Koehler barely got through five innings, giving up three runs on nine hits to the Houston Astros. It was just the second time in his past eight outings he didn’t reach the sixth. Though Cueto is third in the NL in ERA and has 19 quality starts, he has posted a 5.27 ERA in his career against the Marlins. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Nationals, scattering four hits.
Since rejoining the rotation, righty Jacob Turner is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA. He has won back-to-back outings for the first time through 44 career starts. In Houston, he allowed one run in 5 2/3 frames. Right-hander Mat Latos, who is from South Florida, enters 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA in seven starts against Miami. In a loss to Washington, he walked a season-high four batters, hit another and permitted three runs on just three hits.
Although he lines up as the No. 1 starter, righty Nathan Eovaldi has had a rough time since May. After opening the first month of the season with a 2.58 ERA, he has a 5.15 ERA over his last 16 starts. On Monday, he gave up a first-inning run and settled down to retire 12 of 14. In the sixth, he was chased and charged with four more runs. Unlike his teammates, righty Homer Bailey has had success against the Marlins with a 2-1 record and 2.68 ERA in six starts. He threw eight innings of one-run ball in a no decision in his last outing.
Even not at his best, All-Star Henderson Alvarez managed seven scoreless innings. He walked a season-high four but escaped jams. Miami has won 11 of his last 13 starts. Righty Mike Leake also didn’t give up a run in his last start, going 7 2/3 scoreless with no walks and eight strikeouts. He is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA against the Marlins.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Reds-Marlins series …
C Devin Mesoraco (Reds): Though the club is slumping, Mesoraco has multi-hit games in three of his last four appearances. He went 4 for 12 with two runs, two homers and four RBI in the series against the D-backs. His three-run shot in the ninth on Wednesday nearly helped Cincinnati come back in a 5-4 loss.
SS Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins): With his 28th multi-hit game on Wednesday, Hechavarria ranks third among NL shortstops. He is batting .333 with five runs and three RBI over his last 10 games. In two of the past three, Hechavarria produced clutch two-out RBI extra-base hits in the ninth inning.
SS Zack Cozart (Reds): Take your pick. Though Cozart has two hits in his past six at-bats, he is still batting .074 since July 19. During this span, he has just one run, no RBI, no walks and five strikeouts. His average has dropped 10 points to .223.
3B Casey McGehee (Marlins): McGehee is facing the first adversity of his solid return to the big leagues. He is batting just .132 with one run, three RBI, four walks and 10 strikeouts over his past 10 games. McGehee has been held hitless in six of those, including two of the past four.
41: Stolen bases for Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, second in the NL and just three fewer than the Marlins as a club
2: All-Star players in the series with at least 20 homers and 10 stolen bases this season — Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Both are All-Stars.
3.23: ERA for the Marlins since the All-Star break, seventh in the NL
.282: Average for Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones against Reds ace Johnny Cueto
"We’ve put a lot of pressure on them in this series. Had we maybe got things going a little bit earlier in the game, that outcome could have been different. But overall it was a great series. We won two out of three when we needed to. We’ll go out there (Thursday) night and try to start a new streak." — Manager Mike Redmond on the club nearly extending its win streak to seven
"Yeah, but we need to do it before the last out. We can’t rely on scoring three runs in the ninth inning every single time." — Slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the club’s comeback ways
"It’s good to see we’re never giving up, we’re going out there and getting all 27 outs and we’re going to make it tough on them. It was a good battle." — Left-hander Brad Hand on the club’s never-give-up attitude
PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS
July 31 — Seniors Free Ticket Thursday presented by Wellmax Medical Centers; Marlins Caps Thursday Night group offer
August 1 — Fireworks Friday (postgame)
August 2 — Saturday Spectacular (postgame part and DJ at The Clevelander and East Plaza); All You Can Eat Special; Billy’s Bunch Annual Clinic (pregame, pre-registration)
August 3 — Christian Yelich bobblehead; Family Sunday (Snapshot Sunday and Radio Disney pregame, Diamond Dash postgame); Bark at the Park with the Humane Society of Broward County; Pepsi 4-for-$54 Pack