Preview: Caleb Smith makes 1st career start in Colorado as Marlins close out road trip against Rockies

TV: FOX Sports Florida

TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 2:30 p.m.

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DENVER — In the rubber game of their series Sunday, the Miami Marlins for the third straight game will start a pitcher against the Colorado Rockies who has never taken the mound at Coors Field.

The Marlins’ hope is that left-hander Caleb Smith (5-6, 4.03 ERA) replicates the effort of Trevor Richards and not Wei-Yin Chen.

The latter wasn’t hit hard Friday night but gave up nine hits and seven runs in four innings, and the Rockies romped 11-3. On Saturday, Richards allowed three hits and one run in six innings in Miami’s 6-2 victory.

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Smith received a no-decision Monday at San Francisco, allowing four runs and six hits and throwing 88 pitches in four innings in Miami’s 5-4 victory. Smith allowed two hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in his only start against the Rockies on April 29 in Miami.

Smith has limited opponents to a .221 average and in 76 innings has allowed 62 hits with 87 strikeouts and 32 walks.

“He’s been pretty good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Smith, who turns 27 next month and was acquired in a November deal with the New York Yankees. “He’s been a nice surprise for us. He’s a guy with a lot of swing-and-miss without having huge velocity. But they don’t see the ball that well.

“He’s got a good little breaking ball. He’s got a good changeup. And everything works off his fastball. He’s not really a young, young guy. He’s a guy that’s been a little bit more polished, a guy that we’re really more willing to just keep putting him in there, not worrying about his innings (limit) or things like that. Early in the year, we were trying to find out is he a reliever, is he a starter, but he’s been pretty solid for us out of the rotation.”

German Marquez (5-7, 5.20) will start for the Rockies. He won for the first time in four starts Tuesday against the New York Mets when he gave up four runs in six innings in Colorado’s 10-8 victory. He’s 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against the Marlins, including April 28 when he gave up three runs (one earned) in six innings in Colorado’s 4-1 loss.

The Rockies are 7-8 in starts by Marquez, who is 2-4 with a 7.45 ERA in eight starts at Coors Field this season.

The Marlins broke a three-game losing streak Saturday and are 4-4 on a three-city road trip that ends Sunday. They scored at least six runs for the first time in a 10-game span, which they last accomplished June 11 in a 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The Rockies had their four-game winning streak end Saturday as they dropped to 4-2 on a homestand that ends Sunday. Bryan Shaw gave up a grand slam in the seventh inning to J.T. Realmuto, a line drive that just cleared the wall in right field and put the Marlins ahead 6-1.

It was the career-high-tying eighth home run Shaw has allowed this season and the first grand slam he has yielded.

In a major-league leading 41 appearances, Shaw has a 7.57 ERA. He has been scored upon in 11 of his past 16 appearances, a stretch in which he has a 13.15 ERA in 13 innings while allowing 29 hits, including five homers.

A free agent after last season, Shaw signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Rockies, who envisioned him working in a setup role. That may be changing.

Scott Obert (back strain) and Mike Dunn (rhomboid strain) are scheduled to make rehab appearances Saturday and Monday and if all goes well, they will join the Rockies on Tuesday in San Francisco and be activated the following day. That would pave the way for Shaw to pitch earlier in the game in lower-leveraged situations.

“We might have to take a step back with Bryan going forward, if we get some of our guys back,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.