The Miami Marlins have dropped eight of their last nine games and will next play host to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Miami is 3-10 on the season and is coming off an embarrassing sweep in Cincinnati. When the Marlins arrived in Cincinnati, the Reds were 1-8 on the season and had lost eight games in a row. The Marlins were held to only one total run in the three-game series against the Reds, despite playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Philadelphia will enter the series with two straight losses and a 7-4 record on the season. The Phillies have one of the best lineups in baseball, with Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto in the middle. Realmuto will be playing against the Marlins for the first time in his career during this series. Jorge Alfaro will likewise be playing against Philadelphia for the first time.
Sandy Alcantara has been Miami's best starter this season and he will get another opportunity in Friday's series opener. Alcantara is 1-0 with a 1.50 E.R.A through two starts, but his second appearance was much shakier. The right-hander walked six and lasted only four innings in a no-decision against Atlanta. Alcantara hurled eight shutout innings in his season debut against the Colorado Rockies.
Caleb Smith is coming off a quality start and will get the ball on Saturday. Smith has a 4.09 E.R.A so far and has not been credited with a decision in either of his two starts. The lefty has continued to be a strikeout machine with 15 in 11 innings, but he also been a little too easy to hit for power. Smith has allowed two home runs in his two starts, after allowing ten all of last season.
Sunday's pitching assignment will go to Jose Urena, who is off to a brutal start in the 2019 season. Urena is 0-3 with a 9.22 E.R.A and Miami could be forced to look elsewhere soon. With pitchers such as Zac Gallen doing well in the minors, Urena's leash could be short. Not only is Urena putting Miami behind in games, but he is leading to a tired bullpen in subsequent games.
Starlin Castro leads Miami with his .255 batting average, but he's hitting only .174 over the last seven days. The Marlins' offense has been a problem all season long and it will not get any easier against Philadelphia's pitching staff. For the Marlins to string some wins together, they will need contributions from Castro and others in the middle of the lineup in a hurry.
The series will begin on Friday at 7:10 p.m.