The Seattle Mariners and host Miami Marlins saved the best pitching duel for last.
When the teams close their three-game series on Sunday afternoon, the Marlins will start right-hander Sandy Alcantara (2-0, 1.78 ERA).
Seattle will counter with right-hander Logan Gilbert (3-0, 0.40), who leads the American League in ERA.
The Marlins have won seven straight games – the longest active streak in the National League.
“Our pitchers have been great all year,” Marlins third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson said. “Our position players are just starting to roll.”
Alcantara will look to continue against Seattle, a team he has never faced. But one of the game’s trends favors Alcantara, who has a 3.22 career ERA in Miami spanning 44 games (40 starts). On the road, his career ERA is a tick higher at 3.60.
Alcantara’s four starts this year have come with wide receiver Jacob Stallings, who is expected to start on Sunday.
Gilbert, who has yet to face Miami, has actually been better on the road (3.82 ERA in 14 starts). He has a 4.18 home ERA, also in 14 starts.
It will be a homecoming for Gilbert, a native of Florida (Winter Park) who played his university ball in this state in Stetson, Jacob deGrom’s alma mater.
Gilbert already has two major league starts in Florida, going 1-1 and having a 2.53 ERA at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.
This year, Gilbert will enter Sunday’s game on a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings. One of the keys was increasing its slider speed, from 83 mph to 86.
Seattle has won all four of Gilbert’s starts. This may be where the Mariners end their four-game losing streak.
The Marlins, who started nine right-handed hitters on Saturday in their 3-1 win over southpaw Robbie Ray, are expected to return to their usual starters on Sunday.
That means left-handed hitters Jazz Chisholm Jr., Joey Wendle and Jesus Sanchez are expected to face Gilbert.
Chisholm leads the Marlins in homers (four), steals (four), triples (three), RBIs (15) and OPS (1.010).
If Chisholm isn’t Miami’s best young hitter, then his 24-year-old compatriot Sanchez is. Sanchez is batting .286 and is second on the team in home runs (three) and RBIs (12).
Wendle is batting .304 and has shown versatility playing third base and shortstop.
“I don’t plan on throwing nine right-handers against left-handers all the time,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of his Saturday lineup. “It worked (Saturday). We want to take care of our guys (with the occasional rest). »
The Mariners are led by receiver Tom Murphy (.385), shortstop JP Crawford (.360) and first baseman Ty France (.337). France also leads the team in home runs (five) and RBIs (21).
Slumping Mariners include right fielder Jarred Kelenic (.148), center fielder Julio Rodriguez (.205) and left fielder Jesse Winker (.169).
“Playing these tight games against really good pitchers,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said, “you have to find a way to do that.
“We’re fine. You’ve got streaks like this. It’s just a matter of getting through it now.”
–Field level media
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