Facing an offensively challenged Miami team that’s been particularly bad against left-handers lately, Wade Miley appears to be in a good spot to rebound from his worst outing of the season.
Miley will try to keep the Marlins’ bats quiet and lead the Diamondbacks to their fifth straight win in the finale of a three-game series at Marlins Park on Sunday.
The D-backs (25-18) moved into sole possession of first place in the NL West on Saturday after Brandon McCarthy pitched a three-hitter to beat the Marlins 1-0, Arizona’s ninth win in its last 12 games.
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“He just got on a roll and we left him in there,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “He did it quickly — that was the best sign of all.”
Diamondbacks starters have been largely responsible for the team’s success during the past 12 contests, posting a 2.32 ERA and pitching at least seven innings seven times.
Miley (3-2, 3.75 ERA) contributed one of those strong starts, but his next outing didn’t go as well. The left-hander allowed a season-high seven runs over five innings of a 10-1 loss to the Braves on Monday.
“He didn’t make the pitches he needed to make,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Miley, though, may be able to bounce back Sunday. He’s given up just one run and five hits over 14 1/3 innings while winning his two career starts against the Marlins.
Miley faces a Miami team that ranks last in the major leagues with a .221 batting average and 2.67 runs per game. The NL-worst Marlins (11-32), losers of seven straight, are hitting .188 with five extra-base hits in their last five games against left-handed starters. Greg Dobbs (.139), Juan Pierre (.152), Adeiny Hechavarria (.154) and Rob Brantly (.091) have endured the biggest struggles against lefties.
Miami has totaled just three runs for Ricky Nolasco (2-5, 4.39) in his past three starts, though the right-hander allowed 10 runs over 11 innings in two of them. He lost all three games. Nolasco gave up a season-high six runs in five innings of a 6-2 loss to the Reds on Tuesday.
“It kind of stems from our offense — with him going out there, he knows he can’t give up much,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He’s trying to be perfect.”
Nolasco has gone 5-2 with a 4.62 ERA in eight career starts against the Diamondbacks, but he’s allowed 14 runs — 10 earned — and 14 hits over eight innings in the last two.
The D-backs’ Gerardo Parra, who hit a leadoff homer to account for the only run Saturday, is 13 for 28 during an ongoing seven-game hitting streak. Teammate Paul Goldschmidt has gone 11 for 20 with three homers and five doubles over his last five games.
Miami hasn’t lost eight in a row since an 11-game skid June 11-20, 2011.