Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins game preview
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins have gone 19 consecutive innings without scoring a run.
Help could be on the way in the form of second baseman Dee Gordon and first baseman Justin Bour, but that won’t happen until Thursday for Gordon and sometime after that for Bour.
When it comes to the Tuesday game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins’ best hope to get back in the win column may be their starting pitcher, Tom Koehler.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season, beating them last Thursday with eight innings of solid work, allowing just two hits and one earned run.
Koehler, who is 7-8 with a 4.42 ERA overall this season, will face Philadelphia’s Jerad Eickhoff (6-11, 3.98 ERA).
Eickhoff has good memories of Marlins Park. It was here that he made his major league debut, keeping the Marlins off the scoreboard for six innings on Aug. 21, 2015.
This year, though, Eickhoff is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA against the Marlins — though that was earlier in the year before the current Miami slump.
It remains to be seen if Eickhoff will face Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, who is hitting just .173 in his past 14 games. Miami manager Don Mattingly may opt to rest Ozuna, inserting instead 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki in center.
Suzuki, just four hits away from 3,000, has not started a game since Thursday, when he finished 2-for-5 at Philadelphia. Since then, he is 0-for-4, all as a pinch hitter.
Ozuna, though, has two doubles and a homer in nine career at-bats against Eickhoff for a .333 batting average. It is a small sample size, but maybe it will be enough to sway Mattingly against the idea of resting him.
Gordon, who led the NL in steals and batting average last season, is nearing the end of an 80-game suspension after he was caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
He is eligible to return on Thursday, when his speed should inject some life at the top of the Marlins’ lineup.
Bour, who has 15 homers this season and 38 in his past 622 at-bats, is trying to come back from a sprained right ankle. He has been on the disabled list since July 5, and the injury has been slow to heal. He is expected to start a minor league rehab on Thursday and should arrive at Marlins Park next week.
With Bour gone, the Marlins have gotten little pop from their first basemen, and that has been especially true against right-handed pitchers such as Eickhoff.
Don Kelly, a left-handed hitter who has been used in a platoon with righty hitter Chris Johnson, has been ineffective, batting just .053 in 19 at-bats.
Getting more punch in the lineup is crucial because the Marlins (53-46) — by virtue of their 4-0 loss to the Phillies on Monday — fell percentage points behind the idle New York Mets in the race for the second and final wild-card spot in the National League.
The Phillies (46-55) are out of contention at this point, but they own a 6-5 record against the Marlins this season.