St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins series primer

BY foxsports • June 23, 2015

The Miami Marlins (30-41) return for a nine-game homestand to host the St. Louis Cardinals (45-24).

Miami lost four of five on its recent trip, falling to 7.5 games back in the National League East standings. St. Louis, meanwhile, boasts baseball's best record and sits atop the NL Central.

Rookie Jose Urena opens the three-game set having gone at least six innings in each of his last four starts. Though he has a 1-2 record in June, he has posted a 2.55 ERA. At Yankee Stadium, he battled control issues (four walks and a hit batter) but still managed a quality outing, allowing two runs over six innings with one strikeout. Since May 9, righty Carlos Martinez has given up two runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts. In Minnesota, he permitted two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts and three walks over 6 2/3 frames in a loss.

Right-hander Mat Latos got burnt for a game-tying, two-run homer in a no decision in his last start against the New York Yankees. It chased him after 5 2/3 innings on nine hits and three runs. Latos has a 7.90 ERA in six home outings. Lefty Jaime Garcia hasn't surrendered a run in 16 straight innings that dates back three starts. Despite a losing record, Garcia, who made his first start on May 21, has yet to yield more than three earned runs in an outing.

To close out the series, veteran Dan Haren will oppose southpaw Tyler Lyons. Haren has a 2.74 ERA in his last seven starts but a 2-2 record during that span. He has taken back-to-back losses even though he has allowed just five runs over his past 12 1/3 innings. Lyons, who has five starts on the year, hasn't pitched more than five frames. Still, he has won two in a row with five runs permitted over 10 innings against the Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies.

Miami went 4-2 against St. Louis last season, including a 2-1 mark at Marlins Park. The Marlins have taken four of the last five against the Cardinals.

Here's a look at the upcoming Cardinals-Marlins three-game series:

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO'S HOT

RF Jason Heyward (Cardinals): Heyward is batting .579 (11 for 19) during the current trip spanning five games. He has multi-hit games in four of his last five, including three in a row. Heyward has four runs, two doubles, two homers and five RBI in those five contests.

3B Derek Dietrich (Marlins): Called up with Martin Prado on the disabled list, Dietrich has made the most of his opportunity. He is batting .333 (8 for 24) after consecutive multi-hit games in Cincinnati and four of six of his starts. Dietrich recorded his first multi-homer game on Saturday and has a .429 on-base percentage thanks to two walks and two hit by pitches.

WHO'S NOT

2B Kolten Wong (Cardinals): Wong, who sat Sunday's game, is 3 for his last 24 (.125) with four runs, a double, a triple, a homer and three RBI with two walks and four strikeouts. His average has gone .303 to .283.

SS Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins): Hechavarria went hitless during the five-game trip in 14 at-bats with four walks and five strikeouts. His average has dropped from .303 to .286. This comes after consecutive two-hit games against the Yankees at Marlins Park at the beginning of the week.

STORYLINES

2.71: ERA for the Cardinals pitching staff, best in the majors

.345: Average for Matt Holliday against the Marlins in 65 games (64 starts). He also has 21 doubles, two triples, 14 homers and 46 RBI.

3.62: Catcher's ERA for JT Realmuto, which would be the best mark for a Marlins rookie catcher

4: Wins against the Cardinals for Dan Haren. He is 4-2 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts.

QUOTE BOARD

"You have to pick up the slack. You can't count on (Giancarlo Stanton) every night. You can't count on Dee (Gordon) getting three hits every night. They're certainly getting their share of it. But the rest of us have to pick up the slack. Do the small things. Move runners over. Get runners in from third, less than two out. It's huge. We had those times (Sunday) where we were unable to capitalize." -- Manager Dan Jennings, to reporters in Cincinnati, about Sunday's loss

"They just made a great play. It's part of the game. Those guys, they go out there and work out, just as we do. They made a great play. That's part of it." -- Dee Gordon on being thrown out at the plate as the go-ahead run on Sunday

PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS

June 23 -- Miami Herald Half Price Tuesday

June 24 -- Chevron Crazy 8's Wednesday; Kids Eat Free Wednesday Night

June 25 -- Marlins Add-A-Cap Thursday Group Offer; Seniors Free Ticket Thursday presented by Wellmax Medical Centers (Seniors 55 and older); Subway Restaurants $5 Ticket Offer

LOOKING AHEAD

The Marlins continue their nine-game homestand with a weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.


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