The Miami Marlins will start the second half with a three-game series against the New York Mets beginning on Friday.
Miami went 33-55 in the first half of the season and put together some strong stretches along the way. After beginning the year as the worst team in baseball, the Marlins almost had a winning record in June. Miami went 13-14 in June and won four series during the month.
Caleb Smith returned from the injured list prior to the All-Star Break and will be Miami's starter for the first game of the second half. Smith is 4-4 with a 3.50 this season and prior to his injury, he appeared to be on his way to the All-Star Game. The lefty has been Miami's ace with 88 strikeouts in 72 innings, but he has not been at his best since early May. The 27-year old began the season with a 3-0 record and had a stretch of six quality starts in a row along the way.
Zac Gallen will be Miami's starter on Saturday, after posting a 4.50 E.R.A through three big-league outings. Gallen's last outing lasted only two innings, but it was not performance related. The 23-year old's appearance against the Washington Nationals was shortened by rain, after he allowed a pair of runs in two frames. The Marlins will need to make a rotation decision in the coming days and Gallen is one of the pitchers contending for a spot.
All-Star Sandy Alcantara will start for Miami in Sunday's series finale. Alcantara represented the Marlins well, with a scoreless inning of All-Star Game work. The right-hander went 4-8 with a 3.82 E.R.A in the first half of the year and hurled Miami's only complete game of the season. That nine-inning effort came against the Mets in May.
Brian Anderson was Miami's hottest hitter, before an injury took him out of the lineup. Anderson is expected back for the start of the second half and the Marlins desperately need his bat. Miami went 1-5 without Anderson in the lineup as the All-Star Break approached. The 26-year old did appear as a pinch-hitter in every game since his injury, but went hitless in those appearances.
The second half of the season will begin on Friday at 7:10 p.m.