The Miami Marlins will host the MLB-best Houston Astros for a three-game series beginning on Monday.
In this rare interlegue series, Miami will face a tough challenge. Houston sits at 26-12 this year, which paces all of baseball. In contrast, the Marlins have one of the worst records in baseball at 14-22.
Miami is fresh off a win against the Atlanta Braves, but has still lost eight of the last ten games it has played. The Marlins are 6-11 at home this year and that is the worst mark in MLB. Houston meanwhile is tied for the best road record at 12-6.
On paper, this series would point to a sweep for the Astros. The Marlins are dealing with a number of injuries and simply do not match up talent wise with the title contending Astros. Lucky for Miami, the games are played on the field however and not on a calculator.
Monday's series opener will feature Dan Straily taking on Joe Musgrove and it could be Miami's best chance at a win. Straily has been dominant at times this season and he will need his entire arsenal working in this one. The veteran is 1-3, but has a solid 37 strikeouts in his 38 innings pitched.
On Tuesday, Tom Koehler will toe the slab for Miami and he will be opposed by Dallas Keuchel. Houston's ace is 6-0 this season with an impeccable 1.69 E.R.A. Koehler and the Marlins could have trouble coming away with this one and will likely need to play some small ball.
In the series finale on Wednesday, Miami will send Jose Urena to the mound. Houston will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. Urena has been solid in his two starts, but could be tested by Houston's young powerful lineup. Urena will need to limit the walks, or it could be a long day for Miami.
With much of the team's infield depth sitting on the disabled list, Miami will be forced to turn to reserves again in this series. JT Riddle should see plenty of time at shortstop, while Mike Aviles could also see a little action. Derek Dietrich is expected to continue his work at third base as well.
Monday's first pitch will be thrown at 7:10 p.m.