The suddenly red-hot Miami Marlins will host the Arizona Diamondbacks for four games beginning on Thursday.
Miami is coming off a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies and has won four games in a row overall. After going a month without a series win, the Marlins have now won back-to-back series. The sweep for the Marlins was also their first since the 2016 season.
Arizona could be a tough challenge for Miami, even with the recent success. The Diamondbacks have a talented roster and will start the series with Cy Young contender Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke who has already won the prestigious pitching award in his career, has three double-digit strikeout games already in 2017.
With Greinke on the other side, the Marlins will counter with a rather large question mark. Jeff Locke will be activated from the disabled list and will make his first start as a Marlin. Locke is a veteran with some success, but he could be rusty after a delayed start to his season.
Jose Urena and Edinson Volquez will get the ball in games two and three of the series respectively. Volquez is coming off his first win of the season and now has a slightly better 1-7 mark. For the fourth game of the series, Miami has not yet announced a starter.
Miami's offense could rely heavily on the production of Justin Bour in this series. With Giancarlo Stanton nursing a hamstring strain, Bour could be Miami's main power threat. The first baseman slugged a league-leading 11 home runs in May and is a contender for Player of the Month. Bour will try to carry over that success into this important series.
The D-Backs will use an assortment of powerful throwers in the series, which could be good news for Marcell Ozuna. The left fielder has been feasting on fastballs this season and has been a consistent run producer. With Ozuna and Bour in the middle of the lineup, Miami could put up runs even if Stanton misses some time.
JT Riddle continues to hold down the fort at shortstop admirable, both with his glove and his bat. Riddle has been asked to bat in a variety of slots lately, but is likely to stay in the eighth slot on most days. Riddle's ability to get on base ahead of the pitcher, has been a difference maker in his brief time as a big-leaguer.
The bullpen has also been reliable as of late and could be needed in this series. With Locke's situation and the rotation in flux, the relievers could see a big increase in their time on the mound.
Thursday's series opener will begin at 7:10 p.m.