The Miami Marlins will begin a ten-game homestand when they host the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
Miami enters the long stretch, with the worst home record in all of baseball at 6-14. The Marlins are also currently tied with the Philadelphia Phillies, for the worst overall record in Major League Baseball. Miami has struggled mightily in trying to string wins together and has been decimated by injuries.
The Angels have not visited South Florida, since the Marlins moved into Marlins Park back in 2012. Albert Pujols was reportedly in talks with Miami prior to that season, before ultimately signing with the Angels. Pujols is chasing some history and has an outside chance of hitting the mark at Marlins Park. The All-Star is only three home runs shy of 600 in his career.
In addition to Pujols, the Angels will bring one of the biggest stars in baseball to Miami. Mike Trout is a prolific game-changing player, who could give Miami's pitching staff fits in the three-game series. Trout can beat teams with his bat, glove and legs on any given night. Pitching around Trout may be something that manager Don Mattingly will need to consider at times.
The Marlins will trout Dan Straily, Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena during the three games. Straily has some history against the Angels, from his days with the Houston Astros. That history could work against the right-hander, who at times has been Miami's ace this season. Trout and Pujols have both posted big numbers against Straily in their careers.
Nicolino and Urena are wild-cards for Miami, after beginning the season without jobs in the big-league rotation. Urena was forced into the rotation, following a run in the bullpen. Nicolino meanwhile was called up from AAA and has thus far done a decent job. The names in Los Angeles' lineup can be imposing, but there could be some advantage to Miami's arms in the two games. Urena and Nicolino have both never faced the Angels.
In Miami's lineup, there is one player that could prove to be pivotal. JT Riddle is off to a solid start at shortstop and has added a whole new dimension to the bottom of Miami's lineup. Prior to Riddle's promotion, Miami struggled on most days to find any offense at the tail-end of the everyday lineup. Riddle has changed that and has put himself into a position, to get even more playing time going forward.
Friday's series opener is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m.