The banged-up Miami Marlins complete a 10-game road trip with a three-game series beginning Friday against the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins continue to endure injuries but remain in the thick of an NL East race in which no team is taking charge. After dropping three of four in San Francisco, the Marlins took two of three from Milwaukee and basked in an off-day Thursday after nine straight days of baseball.
“I think I just refer to this time and this trip as really, ‘Every win we can get,’ ” manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re kind of treading water, keeping ourselves going while we’re in this little lull of injuries. It’s going to be hopefully a short period of time. … We’ve got to just continue to get down the road and tread water and keep ourselves in the pack, and knowing that you still got a lot of baseball to be played.”
The latest injuries involved left fielder Corey Dickerson (minor right groin discomfort) and first baseman/right fielder Garrett Cooper (sore left foot). They left during Wednesday’s 6-2 win over the Brewers.
Miami was already without center fielder Starling Marte (fractured left rib), third baseman Brian Anderson (left oblique strain), catcher Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring strain) and second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. (left hamstring strain).
The Marlins are getting by on the strength of their bench and their pitching.
Right-hander Pablo Lopez (0-2, 2.93 ERA) makes his sixth start of the season on Friday. Last time out he allowed one run on two hits over six innings against the Giants. He struck out seven, taking a no-decision in a pitcher’s duel with San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman.
“You’ve got to give him credit. His changeup was really nasty tonight,” Gausman said of Lopez. “I just think our guys had a hard time. He was really throwing good, quality pitches.”
Lopez is 2-2 with a 6.61 earned-run average in seven starts against Washington. His ERA at Nationals Park is 8.10 in four starts.
The Nationals return from a 2-3 road trip against the Mets and Blue Jays. Ace Max Scherzer will start Sunday’s series finale. Joe Ross, Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester could divide the other two starts.
Lester, who has yet to make his debut after starting the season on the COVID-19 injured list, has made three starts at the team’s alternate training site and threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday.
“We want to make sure that he’s fully ready,” manager Dave Martinez said on Wednesday. “With that being said, who knows? He might pitch this weekend for us, or he might get another (rehab) start.”
Lester, 37, signed with the Nationals as a free agent in the offseason. His spring training was interrupted when he had a parathyroid gland removed from his neck. Then he was one of nine Nationals determined to have COVID-19 or close contact with someone who did.
Washington’s road trip ended with an 8-2 win against the Blue Jays. The Nationals got homers from Josh Harrison and Josh Bell, and Trea Turner went 4-for-5, raising his batting average to .317.
“He’s our catalyst,” Martinez said of the 27-year-old Turner, who has 12 career four-hit games. “He’s what makes us go.”
–Field Level Media