MARLINS (23-36) AT BREWERS (34-28)
2:10 p.m. ET; FSWI, FS-F, MLB.TV
Even a hot streak has not made a dent in the standings for the Miami Marlins.
Miami, which beat the host Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Wednesday night and will go for a three-game sweep on Thursday afternoon, has won four games in a row and seven of its last nine.
The Marlins are also 13-5 since a 10-31 start but still have the worst record in the National League.
“We’ve been playing good baseball — that’s what it’s all about,” said Marlins backup catcher Bryan Holaday, who hit a two-run single in the eighth inning on Wednesday. “We’re trying to keep it going. I don’t think we’re trying to do anything out of the ordinary. We just want to go about our business and win every game we can. When you win, it’s a blast.”
The Marlins have outscored the Brewers 24-3 in the past two games, including 16-0 on Tuesday. The big blow on Wednesday was Brian Anderson’s first career grand slam.
“That was pretty exciting,” said Anderson, who hit a first-pitch fastball from Jimmy Nelson. “We had seen a lot of pitches in that inning. It was a good time to attack.”
The Marlins hope to keep their hot streak going on Thursday with left-hander Caleb Smith (3-3, 3.10 ERA), who has 80 strikeouts in 61 innings this year.
Smith has other good numbers such as a 0.97 WHIP. However, he has already allowed 10 homers — the same total he gave up all of last season.
Marlins starting pitchers have a 1.99 ERA during this 13-5 hot streak, but Smith hasn’t won a game since May 1 and is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his past four starts.
He has faced the Brewers only once, taking a 4-2 loss at Milwaukee on April 22, 2018. He allowed just two runs in six innings in that game, striking out 10 and walking none.
Milwaukee will counter with right-hander Freddy Peralta (2-2, 5.68 ERA), who turned 23 on Tuesday. His last three appearances have been in relief.
However, with starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Jhoulys Chacin on the injured list, Peralta has been called to action. He has only faced the Marlins once and did not get a decision but produced a shoddy 7.36 ERA. It happened last year on July 11 as Peralta started and allowed three hits, three walks and three runs in 3 2/3 innings.
For his brief career, Peralta has enjoyed June more than any other month. He is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 13 innings, allowing just three hits with a 17-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is 6-6 in the other months, and his career ERA is 4.72.
He has also been much better as a reliever (2.12 ERA in six games) as opposed to a starter (5.16 ERA in 20 games).
This has been a poor series for the Brewers, who have four starters with Miami ties, including former Marlins right fielder Christian Yelich, who won the National League MVP trophy last season in his first year with Milwaukee. Trading Yelich on Jan. 25, 2018, is a deal that could haunt the Marlins for a long time.
In addition, the Brewers also have two former University of Miami players in their starting lineup: left fielder Ryan Braun and catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Gonzalez, who is injured, was born and raised in the Miami area. And Brewers manager Craig Counsell won a World Series as a Marlins player.
–Field Level Media