Series Preview: Marlins at Rays

The Marlins and Rays will wrap up the 2019 Citrus Series with two games this weekend in St. Petersburg

The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays will continue their annual Citrus Series in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

The Rays swept the Marlins in a two-game series at Marlins Park earlier this season and remain in a Wild-Card position in the American League. The Marlins are last in place in the National League East and have won six of the last nine games they have played. Miami is a solid 8-7 in games against the AL this season, while Tampa Bay is 9-4 against the National League.

Miami and Tampa Bay completed a trade earlier this week and it could be a factor in this series. The Marlins sent Nick Anderson to the Rays after he had a superb rookie season in Miami. Anderson has pitched one inning so far for Tampa Bay and it was a scoreless effort.

Elieser Hernandez will start for the Marlins in Saturday's series opener. Hernandez has split time between the rotation and bullpen this season, with inconsistency along the way. The 24-year old is 1-4 with a 4.93 E.R.A. and he has faced the Rays once in his career. Hernandez went three scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in the 2018 edition of the Citrus Series.

Caleb Smith will bring a 7-4 record into Sunday's game, after going seven innings his last time out. Smith has a 3.43 E.R.A. and has been Miami's ace all season long. The lefty has struck out nine in each of his last two outings and has 119 punchouts overall in his 97 innings pitched. Smith took a loss against the Rays earlier this season, but he pitched decently in the outing.

Miguel Rojas' status for the series is uncertain after he was forced to leave Thursday's game early. Rojas is riding a nine-game hitting streak and leads the team with his .290 batting average. The 30-year old ran into some hip tightness in his last game and is considered day-to-day. Rojas hit .294 in July and he will be looking to continue that success in August.

Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.

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