The Arizona Diamondbacks, who are 11-5 against teams with losing records, are set to visit the sub-.500 Miami Marlins on Tuesday for the start of a three-game series.
Arizona is just 4-8 against teams with winning records, and they figure to play plenty of those this year because they belong to the NL West, arguably the toughest division in baseball.
That makes the Marlins series vital for the Diamondbacks, who just finished a 4-2 homestand with an 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies. Prior to that, Arizona won seven of 10 games on the road.
In Sunday’s victory over Colorado, Torey Lovullo became the fourth manager in Diamondbacks history to win his 300th game, joining Kirk Gibson (353), Bob Melvin (337) and Bob Brenly (303). Only Brenly got there faster than Lovullo.
After that game, Lovullo did some fast-paced and frenetic dancing in the clubhouse with his players.
“I got tossed into it,” Lovullo said of the dance moves his players made into a TikTok video. “Like I told the guys, for special moments, I will be front and center with them, jumping into their world. It was a good moment.”
The Diamondbacks — who Monday afternoon had yet to name a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game — are two games over .500 despite significant injuries.
Among the players who’ve been sidelined are four starting-caliber players: first baseman Christian Walker (oblique strain) and outfielders Ketel Marte (hamstring), Kole Calhoun (hamstring) and Tim Locastro (dislocated finger). Walker and Locastro were reinstated from the injured list Monday.
Starting pitcher Taylor Widener (groin) and reliever Joakim Soria (calf) have also been out.
Fortunately for the D-backs, they have players who have stepped up in their absence, including catcher Carson Kelly, who leads Arizona in OPS (1.184). Second baseman Eduardo Escobar leads Arizona in homers (seven), and left fielder David Peralta tops the team in RBIs (22).
Meanwhile, Marlins manager Don Mattingly remained optimistic despite getting swept in three games over the weekend by the Washington Nationals.
That completed a 3-7 road trip, and now they return home, where they are 4-7 this season.
“I’m not sure you ever expect to play less than .500, but I’m happy in general with where we’re at,” Mattingly said. “I expect us to get better as the season goes on, play more consistently.”
Right-hander Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 3.19 ERA) will start on Tuesday for Miami. He has four quality starts in six appearances this season, including his most recent effort, beating the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2, for his first win of the season. In that game, Alcantara pitched a season-high seven innings, allowing five hits, no walks and two runs.
In two career starts against the Diamondbacks, Alcantara is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA.
The Marlins’ 3.09 ERA for starting pitchers is sixth-best in the National League, but their bullpen has failed to close out eight save opportunities, tied for the most in MLB.
Not surprisingly, the Marlins are just 2-7 in one-run games.
–Field Level Media