Major League Baseball

Marlins’ Lopez out to cure road woes against Brewers

mlb7MARLINS (21-36) AT BREWERS (34-26)
7:40 p.m. ET; FSWI, FS-F, MLB.TV

Pablo Lopez could be the latest version of Wei-Yin Chen — and that’s not good news for the Miami Marlins.

Lopez, who will face the Brewers in Milwaukee on Tuesday, has a 1.84 ERA in five home starts this year but a 8.26 ERA in six road starts. Chen last year had a 1.62 ERA in 13 home starts and a 9.27 ERA in 13 road starts.

This year, Chen has been relegated to the Miami bullpen as a middle reliever despite the Marlins signing him to a five-year, $80 million contract through the end of the 2020 season.

Lopez’s best pitch this year has been his curve — batters are hitting just .152 against his bender. He has faced Milwaukee just once, last July 10 in his third major league appearance.

The Brewers handed Lopez his first major league loss that day, pounding him for six hits, three walks and five runs in six innings. The right-hander struck out six batters, which tied his season high for 2018.

This year, Lopez has four quality starts in 11 appearances. Three of his quality starts came in May, including his most recent appearance, when he held the San Francisco Giants to one run in six innings on Wednesday. But in two other starts in May, Lopez failed to last four innings. He allowed a total of 14 runs in 6 2/3 innings in those two games.

Milwaukee will counter the 23-year-old Lopez with a veteran right-hander, 31-year-old Chase Anderson (3-0, 3.31 ERA). Anderson has split his 10 appearances this year evenly between the rotation and the bullpen.

The last time he faced Miami was July 9, 2018, a 4-3 Brewers road loss. Anderson started that game and pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and one run, which was unearned. He struck out four and got a no-decision.

For his career against the Marlins, Anderson is 3-2 with a 3.57 ERA in seven appearances, all starts.

This year, Anderson began the season in the bullpen but moved back to the rotation on April 20. He was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA as a reliever, but he’s been better as a starter (2-0, 2.78).

However, he has yet to pitch more than five innings in an outing this year.

Anderson is hoping to provide a boost for the Brewers, who are just 7-7 since May 17.

Milwaukee beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Sunday, and Brewers manager Craig Counsell was pleased that his starter, Zach Davies, was able to go eight strong innings. That allowed rest for most of the Milwaukee bullpen after Counsell used six pitchers in Saturday’s 13-inning, 12-10 win over the Pirates.

“You pitch eight innings on the night after an extra-inning game — that’s huge,” Counsell said. “That’s a valuable performance.”

Brewers second baseman Mike Moustakas (bruised right hand) was rested on Sunday but could return by Tuesday. Milwaukee infielder Travis Shaw was activated Monday from the injured list after recovering from a right wrist ailment, but that meant that rookie second baseman Keston Hiura was sent back to Triple-A San Antonio despite a .281 batting average and five home runs over his first 17 major league games.

Meanwhile, the Marlins, who have the worst record in the National League (21-36), have been playing better lately. They are 11-5 since May 17.

On Sunday, the Marlins hammered the San Diego Padres, 9-3. Marlins rookie Harold Ramirez, who is hitting .373 since making his major league debut on May 11, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Brian Anderson also went 3-for-5, and Jorge Alfaro finished 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and a career-high four RBIs.

“Everything clicked for us,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It was just one of those days.”

–Field Level Media

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