The Miami Marlins (44-50) hope the All-Star break cleansed them of a disappointing ending to a once promising first half.
After taking two of three in St. Louis, the Marlins dropped five of the next six to sub-.500 clubs in Arizona and New York. They are 7 1/2 back and in fourth place in the National League East.
San Francisco (52-43) visits a game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West after pacing the division for most of the season. The Giants have gone 6-7 in July and 7-13 over their past 20 games.
When the clubs met by the bay in May, they split a four-game set. The Marlins were digesting the Jose Fernandez news yet were within a game of first in the NL East. The Giants, meanwhile, were three games up.
Miami will face a pair of All-Stars in the series in lefty Madison Bumgarner and righty Tim Hudson.
In the opener, righty Nathan Eovaldi will contest Bumgarner. Over Eovaldi’s past eight starts, the Marlins have gone 1-7. He did, however, post consecutive quality outings on the trip leading up to the break by allowing just four runs over 13 innings. On May 15, he was knocked around for six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 in San Francisco. Bumgarner, who has given up five runs or more in his past four starts, has blasted two grand slams at the plate.
All-Star right-hander Henderson Alvarez pitches on Saturday against Hudson. His final start of the first half snapped a string of nine straight with two earned runs or fewer and 10 consecutive wins by the Marlins in his outings. Right before that stretch, he surrendered five runs (four earned) over six frames in San Francisco. Hudson has thrown seven or more innings in 11 of 18 starts and permitted just two earned runs or fewer 13 times.
Southpaw Brad Hand seeks his first win as a starter since July 7, 20111 to close out the series. After being reinstated from the DL, Hand is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three starts. He pitched the final game of the first half, but exited with a right shin contusion. Lincecum has been stellar in his past four starts, giving up just one earned run over 30 1/3 innings. He took the loss against the Marlins despite three runs over six frames. Lincecum tossed a no-hitter on June 25.
3B Pablo Sandoval (Giants): It’s hard to tell what will carry over from the All-Star break, but Sandoval closed it out the first half by going 6 for 12 (.500) with two runs, a homer and three RBI against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He walked once and didn’t strike out.
LF Christian Yelich (Marlins): Yelich is 16 for 43 (.372) with seven runs, two homers and seven RBI over his past 10 games, picking up where he left off prior to a disabled list stint. His presence at the top of the lineup was sorely missed. He has six multi-hit contests during the span.
C Buster Posey (Giants): Sure, Posey knocked a grand slam on the final day of the first half. But he has just one RBI and no other homers or runs over the past 10 games. During this stretch, he is batting .154 with five strikeouts, three walks and no multi-hit contests. Posey went hitless in his other 12 previous at-bats.
RF Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): Although he leads the NL in homers (21) and RBI (63), Stanton is batting .135 with no dingers and just two runs driven in over his past 10 games. He last hit a homer June 26 in Philadelphia, a span of 58 at-bats. Perhaps his participation at the Home Run Derby will help wake up his bat.
52: Wins for Giants starters, tied for third in the NL
2.95: ERA for Giants righty Tim Hudson in 25 starts against the Marlins. He is 14-4 for his fourth-most wins over an opponent.
115: Hits for Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee, tied with Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen for the NL lead
15: Runs off Marlins starters in a four-game set in San Francisco in May
"I don’t know. We’re all All-Stars." — Slugger Giancarlo Stanton on whether he noticed more cheers for him during the All-Star parade because of the Home Run Derby
"I’m happy that the team has reacted, played a lot better than last year. Lately we’ve been struggling, things haven’t gone well. But those are things that happen in baseball. I think we’re going to turn it around and keep fighting like we have all year until the end." — All-Star right-hander Henderson Alvarez on the club’s first half
"I get a little bit of both worlds. I get to watch my kids little league games and throw some BP in the Home Run Derby. This is what it’s all about." — Manager Mike Redmond on his All-Star break
PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS
July 18 — Fireworks Friday; Colombian Heritage Night; Homestead Challenge; Youth Baseball and Softball Night
July 19 — Saturday Spectacular (postgame party and DJ at the Clevelander and East Plaza); All You Can Eat Special
July 20 — Marlins 2014 All-Star Poster courtesy of Franklin Dodd Communications; Family Sunday; Marlins Foundation Charity Partner Day; Youth Baseball & Softball Day; Pepsi 4-for-$54 Pack