Miami has lost eight of its past nine games to the Cincinnati Reds, a trend the visiting Marlins will try to reverse on Saturday night.
Cincinnati has also won five straight games against the Marlins at their stadium, Great American Ball Park.
The Reds are led by slugging first baseman Joey Votto, who is tied for second in the National League with 28 homers.
“He’s just not missing right now,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Votto following Friday’s game.
Reds second baseman Jonathan India has also raved about Votto.
“Joey does something cool every night,” India said. “He’s been a leader for us all year. He’s fun to watch. … As Joey goes, we go.”
Indeed, Votto homered in Cincinnati’s 5-3 win over Miami on Friday. Votto has gone deep 20 times in his past 47 games. He also has 49 RBIs during that span.
In contrast, he had just eight homers and 29 RBIs in his first 41 games this season.
In his past 53 games, Votto has 20 homers and 49 RBIs. In his first 47 games, he had eight homers and 32 RBIs.
The Reds on Saturday will start lefty Wade Miley (10-4, 2.84 ERA). Miley has been outstanding in five career starts against the Marlins, going 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA.
Miley, who hasn’t faced Miami this year, has won six straight decisions, and the Reds are 14-8 when he starts. He has 13 quality starts this year, including three in his past four appearances.
The Marlins will be looking for cutters, which Miley throws about 50 percent of the time. Miley doesn’t throw hard, relatively speaking, and fires his fastball only 16 percent of the time.
Meanwhile, Miami will start rookie right-hander Zach Thompson (2-5, 2.91 ERA) on Saturday.
The Marlins are 3-8 when starting Thompson, who has never faced the Reds.
Thompson, who has lost his past three decisions, has three quality starts in 11 games this year.
Besides Votto, Thompson might be wary of Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas, who is overdue for a breakout game. Moustakas, a three-time All-Star and a World Series champion, went 0-for-4 on Friday, and his hitless streak is now a career-worst 25 at-bats.
Miami is hoping to ride rookie second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr., who went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer on Friday. He has 14 homers and 12 steals this year.
“He has always had really good power, but his swing is getting better and better,” Mattingly said of Chisholm. “His swing is getting more disciplined, and he is starting to understand it more. We are seeing the results.”
Unfortunately for Miami, Marlins hitters not named Chisholm went a combined 2-for-27 with 0 RBIs on Friday.
–Field Level Media