Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins series primer

Rafael Furcal will make his Marlins debut Friday against the Pirates.

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The Miami Marlins (34-31) open a season-long 10-game homestand this weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates (32-34) after securing their first winning roadtrip of the year.

Miami is one game back of the Washington Nationals in the National League East. Pittsburgh sits 7.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers (2.5 from second-place St. Louis) in the NL Central.

Friday will mark the Marlins debut for Rafael Furcal, who has been on the 60-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain and right groin strain. Justin Bour was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans following Wednesday’s game.  

Although the Pirates lost two members of their starting rotation this week as well as second baseman Neil Walker, they did call up top prospect Gregory Polanco. They also won three of four against the Chicago Cubs.

After debating on starting him during the midweek set with the Texas Rangers, righty Nathan Eovaldi will instead pitch in Friday’s opener. His wife is due with their first child this weekend. Last Friday against the Cubs, he was perfect through 4 2/3 innings until Nate Schierholtz’s single. He would go on to receive the no decision after giving up three runs on six hits in 7 2/3 frames.

Countering him will be lefty Jeff Locke, who has had polarizing results in his previous two starts. He surrendered six runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings for a no decision in May. Last week, he allowed just one run on three hits in seven frames yet still took the loss against the Brewers.

On Saturday, southpaw Randy Wolf makes his fourth start since signing with Miami last month. Although he has gone at least five innings in each of his first three starts, he has given up four earned runs in two of those. Righty Charlie Morton has limited offenses to three runs or less in his past four starts.

Right-hander Henderson Alvarez’s 26 consecutive scoreless innings streak was snapped in a no decision against the Cubs last Sunday. He also exited the game after 5 1/3 innings with a left hip strain when he awkwardly landed on a high throw to first from Garrett Jones. No starter has been named for Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh has won seven of the last nine against Miami with an all-time 85-77 advantage. The Marlins are 47-31 when hosting the Pirates.

Here’s a look at the upcoming Pirates-Marlins series:

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO’S HOT

CF Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): McCutchen has five straight multi-hit games with four runs, three homers and nine RBI during that span. In 11 games in June, McCutchen has a .429 average, 14 RBI and 1.071 slugging percentage.

LF Christian Yelich (Marlins): Since his average dropped to a season-low .240 last weekend in Chicago, Yelich has gone 9 for 17 (.529) with three runs, a homer, five RBI, two walks and two stolen bases. With the return of Rafael Furcal, Yelich will likely move to second in the batting order.

WHO’S NOT

1B Ike Davis (Pirates): The former Met is just 2 for 28 (.071) over his past 10 games with three runs, a homer and three RBI. His average has dropped from .268 to .240. He does not have a multi-hit game this month.  

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SS Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins): In 10 games this June, Hechavarria is batting just .189 with one run, two RBI, no walks and eight strikeouts. He has just one multi-hit game and has gone hitless in four others.

STORYLINES

.980: Fielding percentage for both the Pirates and Marlins, tied for second worst in the NL

5: Seasons with the Marlins for Gaby Sanchez, and seasons with the Pirates for Garrett Jones

.279: Home batting average for the Marlins, third in the majors

3: Batters with a .400 average or better against Pirates righty Charlie Morton — Casey McGehee (1.000), Christian Yelich (.667) and Giancarlo Stanton (.455)

QUOTE BOARD

"We played well on this road trip. It would have been nice to get one (Wednesday), going into the off-day and the homestand. But you can’t let (Wednesday) take away from what we were able to do in the other games." — Christian Yelich, to reporters in Texas, after the club completed its seven-game trip 4-3

"I think we will wait and see how he feels. He’s been out quite a few days. We just want to make sure he feels good and is ready to go when he comes back. It’s been a couple weeks. That would make sense for him to get in a game and get used to the grind again, get a couple at-bats." — Manager Mike Redmond, to reporters in Texas, about catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s progress from a concussion

PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS

June 13 — Fireworks Friday

June 14 — Saturday Spectacular Summer Concert Series with Fat Joe; All You Can Eat Special; Boy Scouts Day

June 15 — Miami Marlins Dads Ceramic Beverage Mug courtesy of Preferred Care Partners; Family Sunday; Father’s Day/Prostate Cancer Awareness Day; Pepsi 4-for-$54 Pack; Marlins Foundation Day Play Catch With Dad

LOOKING AHEAD

June 16-18 — Cubs at Marlins

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.