Preview: Marlins set sights on another series win against Reds
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 3:30 p.m.
When they dealt stars Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich during the offseason, the Miami Marlins realized they were tearing down their offense as well as their roster.
For the first one month-plus of the season, the effect of shedding so many home runs and so many RBIs was more than apparent. Going into the weekend, the Marlins were the last team in the majors that had not scored 100 runs this season, and they had 15 fewer runs than any other team.
It is why manager Don Mattingly keeps scrambling to find a batting order that can put some runs on the board. And why second baseman Starlin Castro‘s first homer with the Marlins was so important Saturday in Miami’s 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds behind starter Caleb Smith and three relievers.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Marlins and Reds two of the majors? worst-record teams will wrap up their three-game series Sunday at Great American Ball Park as a pair of pitchers who were injured at the start of the season oppose each other.
Marlins right-hander Dan Straily (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will make only his second start of the season as he matches up with Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-2, 7.24 ERA), who has yet to pitch more than five innings in his four starts.
Castro’s two-run homer in the first inning off Reds starter Tyler Mahle was his first in 146 plate appearances and gave Smith an important early lead. The left-hander went on to pitch 5 1/3 scoreless innings as Miami won its seventh in 10 games and Mattingly made out his 28th different lineup in 32 games.
Castro finished with three RBIs.
“You’re trying to mix it up enough to find a combination that works, and you can be consistent with,” Mattingly said. “It’s a little challenge because we’re pretty right-handed so it’s hard to, like, stack the lineup one way or another. If it’s a lefty, it’s a little easier.”
It will be a lefty Sunday for the Reds in Finnegan, who has surrendered 14 earned runs while walking 12 and giving up five home runs in 17 1/3 innings this season. He didn’t figure in the decision despite giving up three runs on five hits, including two homers, in the Reds’ 6-5 loss Monday to the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Ninety pitches isn’t much but five innings, it is a lot,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said of Finnegan, who had a biceps injury at the start of the season. “The word that’s used now is `stress innings. It was kind of a stressful 90 pitches. (Pitching coach) Danny Darwin and I felt he was a little gassed. Danny said, ‘I think he’s had enough.”
Straily lasted only four innings himself in his season debut Monday what turned out to be an 8-4 Marlins win over the Philadelphia Phillies as he gave up six hits, including two homers, and four runs. He had been on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a right forearm strain that developed late in spring training.
“Getting out there was a big step, now it’s getting to work,” Straily said. “It was frankly bad command of the breaking ball, and kind of turning myself into a one-pitch pitcher at times. Then, when I was throwing the slider, it was kind of in the dirt or over the plate.”
Straily is 0-2 in two career starts and 10 innings pitched against the Reds. Joey Votto is 3-for-5 (.600) against him while Scooter Gennett is 3-for-13 (.231). Eugenio Suarez is 1-for-2 (.500), Billy Hamilton is 1-for-3 (.333) and Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall are 0-for-3 (.000).
Finnegan has faced the Marlins once, a 6-3 loss on Aug. 15, 2016 in which he gave up seven hits, with two home runs, in 5 1/3 innings. J.T. Realmuto is 0-for-2 (.000) against him.