Marlins, Pirates start at opposite ends of spectrum

With a young team, the Miami Marlins probably could have expected some inconsistency this season, especially early.

It probably has been a little worse than anticipated.

The Marlins are 3-9, last in the National League East, after being swept by the New York Mets earlier this week. They were off Thursday and begin a weekend series Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park.

“I just want them to enjoy this because it’s a great opportunity that they have,” shortstop Miguel Rojas said of the Marlins’ youngsters, according to mlb.com. “This is their team. This is the young guys’ team, and they have the opportunity to make a name for themselves.”

Dillon Peters (1-1, 9.35 ERA), a 25-year-old left-hander scheduled to start the series opener against Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (1-0, 5.06 ERA), is a good illustration of Miami’s inconsistency.

He made his first start of the season April 1, throwing six shutout innings against the defending champion Chicago Cubs, giving up six hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

Then came his second start of the season, when he gave up two grand slams and took the loss in a 20-1 setback against Philadelphia. Peters allowed nine runs and nine hits, walked three and struck out three in 2 2/3 innings.

“No matter how many runs I give up, I need to save the bullpen, and keep as many arms off the field as possible,” Peters said after that game, which was his eighth major league start. “It was kind of a bad day at the park all around.”

Peters got ahead in the count several times in that game, but the Phillies got big hits off him.

“I’ve just got to do a better job of putting them away when I’m ahead like that,” he said. “From a stuff standpoint, I felt fine out there.

“It’s going to be a long five days, to get back out there and go back to work.”

Those five days are up. Peters will make his first career start against the Pirates, a club that has been a surprise compared with low expectations for 2018 from many quarters after an offseason that seemed to have more subtraction than quality addition.

Pittsburgh (9-3) just won two of three against the Cubs, including a 6-1 win Thursday that featured four homers.

“We’re having so much fun as brothers, as a family,” said right fielder Gregory Polanco, who hit two homers Thursday. “We’ve got to stay like that the whole season. We’re just running, just playing and having fun.”

Pittsburgh, which is leading the National League Central, has won or tied each of its first four series of the season for the first time since 1992.

The Pirates are leading the National League with 77 runs and in slugging percentage at .460.

“It just says we like to play,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “And we’ve got some fight. And it’s early. We like the direction we’re heading. We know what we’ve got to do to play and to win games.”

Kuhl is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins.