Major League Baseball

Marlins, Diamondbacks ready for rubber match

DIAMONDBACKS (53-52) AT MARLINS (39-63)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-A, MLB.TV

Sunday’s series finale between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the host Miami Marlins could feature some bruised feelings.

The teams have split the first two games of the weekend set. The Marlins rallied for a 3-2 walk-off win on Friday, and Arizona rolled 9-2 on Saturday.

In the latter game, both benches emptied in the eighth inning after Marlins reliever Tayron Guerrero hit Christian Walker with a 99-mph fastball. It was the second time in the game that Walker was hit with a pitch, and he was clearly frustrated.

“I 100 percent know that (Guerrero) didn’t do it on purpose,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But you also know the frustration when the same guy gets hit twice in the same area.”

Walker was removed from the game after the pitch hit his left forearm, but there were no ejections. There was no immediate update on Walker’s injury status for Sunday’s game, but it would not be surprising if his Arizona teammates seek some sort of retribution.

That leads us to Sunday’s pitching matchup, which will feature Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray (9-6, 3.95 ERA) against Miami right-hander Elieser Hernandez (1-4, 5.24 ERA).

Ray has been the subject of trade rumors. He has yet to come close to duplicating his 2017 season, when he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA. Still, he is 30-13 since the start of that season, and he is 4-for-4 on quality starts this month.

Rival teams have noticed, and he was heavily scouted in his most recent start as he struck out 10 batters in six innings in a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. He is 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA this month.

Ray, who is 2-2 with a 2.28 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins and is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in two starts in Miami, is averaging 11.0 strikeouts, 4.0 walks and 1.2 homers per nine innings in his career. And that’s pretty much what he has done this season: 11.9 strikeouts, 4.2 walks and 1.5 homers.

“It’s a business,” Ray said when asked about the trade rumors. “I’ve been traded twice. It’s something that happens.”

Meanwhile, Hernandez will be making his first start since Miami removed Trevor Richards from the rotation. Hernandez is 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA in six relief outings this year and 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA in five starts.

“It’s something we want to try,” Mattingly said when asked about Hernandez, who hasn’t started a game since July 4.

Hernandez, who is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two career starts against Arizona, could have just a few weeks to impress as a starter. Pablo Lopez, who is rehabbing his sore right shoulder in the minors, is expected to return to the rotation in late August, and he would presumably replace Hernandez.

Richards had gone 0-6 with a 7.32 ERA in his past seven starts, resulting in the change.

In other Marlins news, closer Sergio Romo was traded to the Minnesota Twins after Saturday’s game. He is 2-0 with a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves this season.

Meanwhile, Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed enters Sunday coming off his huge performance on Saturday, when he slugged his second career grand slam and added an RBI double. His five RBIs matched his career high.

Arizona is 30-26 on the road this season, which is better than its 25-28 home record.

Miami, which had its three-game win streak snapped on Saturday, is just 19-33 at home.

–Field Level Media

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