The Miami Marlins will look to improve their playoff chances when they begin a series with the San Diego Padres on Friday.
Miami enters the series with a 63-63 record and is only 5.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. The Padres meanwhile are nearing mathematical elimination with their 57-70 mark. This series represents a great chance for the Marlins to get over the .500 mark for the first time since April.
This weekend's series will feature special uniforms for both teams. The Marlins will have nicknames on the back of their jerseys, with each player choosing a name that is significant to them. Miami will also wear special colored hats for the series and the look could bring back memories of the original Florida Marlins.
Miami took three of four in Philadelphia earlier this week, after winning a series in New York. The recent run has taken the Marlins out of a spoiler role and has set them up for an exciting final month. Miami needs to continue to win series, as one skid could derail the playoff hopes for good.
Giancarlo Stanton will bring his 47 home runs into the series, as the slugger continues to eye 60 in that department. Stanton has had an incredible month of August and still has nearly a week left. The slugger is considered a favorite to take home the Player of the Month award, but he is likely more focused on the Wild Card. Stanton's homer-happy bat has helped Miami's playoff push and has covered up for erratic pitching at times.
Adam Conley will try and keep San Diego off the board, when he gets the ball for the series opener. Conley is coming off a strong performance in New York, where he held the Mets to one run in seven innings of work. The lefty struck out 11 in the victory and has posted two consecutive quality starts.
Due to a doubleheader in Philadelphia, Miami has been forced to find an emergency starter for Saturday's game. The assignment will go to reliever Odrisamer Despaigne. The right-hander has been decent out of Miami's pen, but will likely be on a pitch limit. Despaigne has not eclipsed 30 pitches in appearance in several weeks, which means manager Don Mattingly will need his other relievers to step up in this one.
Following a bullpen game, the Marlins will turn to Dan Straily for Sunday's series finale. Miami will need innings in that game and Straily is a pitcher who could get the job done. Straily struck out ten in his six innings of work last time out and has a 3.83 E.R.A. overall in 2017.
Friday's series opener will begin at 7:10 p.m.