Marlins play Diamondbacks not looking like last-place team
Yet, this four-game series between Arizona and Miami — which started on Monday night with a 9-5 Marlins win — doesn’t have the feel of an elite juggernaut against a helpless loser.
The Marlins have won three games in a row and are 12-11 in June. They arrived home on Monday from their first winning road trip (5-4) of the season.
Miami on Tuesday will return right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-4, 5.12 ERA) to the rotation after three weeks in the bullpen. He replaces Jose Urena, who is on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury.
Hernandez, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Houston Astros, had a 4.50 ERA during four starts in late May and early June.
The Diamondbacks, who have won four of their past five games, will start right-hander Zack Godley (8-5, 4.64 ERA).
Godley is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA in his past three starts, striking out 21 batters in 18 1/3 innings.
His arsenal includes a low-90-mph sinker as well as a cutter and curve.
“Velocity is not a huge concern for me with Zack,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told The Arizona Republic. “He has so much deception, spin and movement.”
Godley, who made his major league debut in 2015, is one win away from setting a single-season career high in wins. His career record is 26-19 with a 4.30 ERA. He averages 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings for his career as well as 9.0 in that stat this year.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are hoping to return their top player to the lineup — catcher J.T. Realmuto, who is batting .308 with 18 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 32 RBIs and a .916 OPS.
Realmuto took a foul ball off his right wrist on Sunday and was rested on Monday.
“That last at-bat (on Sunday), he took a swing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You could tell something was bothering him.
“We think it will just be for one day. Let’s see how he feels. He was really sore (on Monday).”
The Marlins managed to win without Realmuto on Monday, in large part because starting pitcher Dan Straily (3-3) allowed just four hits, no walks and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six for his first win since May 18.
“It was a good day for me,” said Straily, who was also effective on offense, getting one hit, drawing one walk and scoring two runs.
The Marlins had lost his past five starts, before Straily reversed the tide.
On Tuesday, Hernandez will try to keep Miami’s surge moving forward.
The Marlins cranked out 11 hits and nine runs on Monday, and they would love to give Hernandez that type of support on Tuesday.
Arizona, meanwhile, has a dangerous offense of its own. The Diamondbacks usually start quickly — they have scored a first-inning run in six of their past seven games — and they can catch fire from there.