Marlins-Rockies preview

BY foxsports • August 7, 2016

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins meet in the rubber game of their series Sunday against the backdrop of history.

Ichiro Suzuki is one hit shy of becoming the 30th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits. He got No. 2,999 with a pinch-single in the eighth inning on Saturday night, stayed in the game and narrowly missing No. 3,000 in the ninth when pitcher Scott Oberg bobbled Suzuki's high-bouncer, slipped to one knee while retrieving the ball and narrowly threw him out.

After the Marlins' 12-6 loss, manager Don Mattingly would not say whether he plans to start Suzuki on Sunday afternoon against Rockies right-hander Jon Gray.

Ichiro declined to speak Saturday night, saying through a Marlins public relations official that after a loss he had no desire to talk about his personal accomplishment or anything upbeat.

Regardless, the baseball world will be watching Sunday, waiting and hoping that Suzuki makes history. One of those with more than passing interest in his quest is Ken Griffey Jr., who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July and was Suzuki's teammate in Seattle. The Mariners provided the following remarks by Griffey.

"I got a first row (seat) to watch one of the greatest ballplayers to (ever) play ... to watch what he's done, day in and day out," Griffey said. "It's pretty impressive ... for him to go out there and roll out the hits that he has, it's pretty incredible.

"It's a tribute to his work ethic and everything that he believes in. ... It is something special, not just for the guys who played with him but for all of baseball and all the people in Japan. This is something that's huge. I know that he doesn't take it lightly. He works hs butt off day in and day out."

Opposing Gray for the Marlins will be Adam Conley, who is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 22 starts. Right-handed hitters have hit 10 homers against Conley but are batting just .225 (78-for-347). Left-handed hitters haven't homered against Conley but are batting .306 (33-for-108) against him.

He has been much more effective against right-handed hitters.

Conley is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA on the road, including his last start on Monday in Chicago where he lost 5-0 to the Cubs and gave up two runs, five hits and six walks with four strikeouts in four innings.

Gray, a rookie in his first full season in the majors, is 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA overall in 19 starts and 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA in nine starts at Coors Field.

In Gray's past seven outings, he is 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA, and he's 3-0 with an 0.69 ERA (26 innings, two earned runs) in four starts since the All-Star break with eight walks and 25 strikeouts. Not surprisingly, Gray is brimming with confidence.

"Even when I'm not on my game, I know I can keep us in the game, just by competing," Gray said.



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