The Milwaukee Brewers are two games over .500. The Miami Marlins are two games under .500. Yet, when the teams meet on Friday in Miami, it’s the Marlins who will come in all smiles, on a three-game win streak.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, arrives on a five-game losing skid. Injuries are a big part of the Brewers’ story as they have had 19 players placed on the IL.
The Brewers, among others, have star outfielder Christian Yelich (back stiffness) on the IL along with both their catchers, Omar Narvaez (left hamstring) and Manny Pina (fractured left big toe); and two of their top three starting pitchers, Corbin Burnes (undisclosed but believed to be COVID protocol) and Josh Lindblom (right knee).
“We’ve been challenged, that’s for certain,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “We’re digging deep into our depth.”
Yelich, who came up through the Marlins organization and became the NL MVP while playing for Milwaukee, spent three weeks on the injured list before going 2-for-4 on May 3. He then went right back on the IL the next day.
“We’re seeking other avenues,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the treatment options.
Milwaukee will start Friday’s opener of a three-game series with a “bullpen day”. Lefty Brent Suter (2-1, 2.70 ERA) will get the ball first, and he made four such starts last season, going at least three innings each outing. He held the opponent scoreless in three of those starts.
This will be Suter’s first start of 2021, but it’s his second time facing the Marlins this year. On April 27, he allowed one run and two hits in one inning but still got a hold in a 5-4 Brewers win. With that outing, he’s 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in three career games, one start, against Miami.
The Marlins won two of three games of that April series in Milwaukee, and Miami manager Don Mattingly will surely be confident on Friday when he sends rookie lefty Trevor Rogers to the mound.
Rogers (3-2, 1.91 ERA) is the reigning National League Rookie of the Month. He also blanked the Brewers over six innings on April 26, outdueling Burnes in his only meeting with Milwaukee.
Oddly, Rogers has not seemed comfortable in four starts in Miami (1-2, 5.82 ERA). He is 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA in nine road starts.
He also has three quality starts in six appearances this year. In those three quality starts, he is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 19 innings.
“Our starting pitching has been really good all year,” Mattingly said. “Our bullpen has come together over the past 10 days.”
Defensively, the Marlins made a big play in Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks as backup center fielder Magneuris Sierra stole an extra-base hit from Asdrubal Cabrera.
Sierra may start on Saturday because Lewis Brinson is dealing with a jammed finger that hurts when he swings and misses.
Miami could also move Adam Duvall to center with Corey Dickerson in left and Garrett Cooper in right, giving the Marlins three veteran hitters. Duvall homered on Thursday, his sixth of the season.
Sierra offers more speed and defense than any of those outfielders, but he has struggled to find playing time this season.
“We haven’t seen ‘Mags’ as much as he would like,” Mattingly said of Sierra. “But it was good he was able to contribute (with the catch).”
–Field Level Media