The Arizona Diamondbacks, who have won six of their past eight contests, will go for a three-game sweep at the Miami Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.
Arizona won the first two games of this series in similar fashion — building a 5-0 lead, allowing a four-run seventh inning and holding on for a 5-4 victory.
“It felt like the same game,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Wednesday’s pitching matchup seems to favor the Diamondbacks, who will start left-hander Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 1.17 ERA).
Bumgarner, the four-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, is now in his third year with Arizona. In 12 career starts against the Marlins, Bumgarner is 3-4 with a 3.79 ERA. In seven starts in Miami, he is 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA.
This season, Bumgarner’s control was a bit off in his first three starts. He walked 10 batters in 13 innings. However, in his past two starts and 10 innings, he has allowed just seven hits, one walk and one earned run.
His most recent start resulted in his first win of the year, a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Miami will start right-hander Elieser Hernandez (2-1, 5.75 ERA). Hernandez has made three career starts against Arizona, going 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA. However, in 42 appearances in Miami, Hernandez is 8-9 with a 3.66 ERA.
May has historically been Hernandez’s best month; he has a 3.15 ERA in six appearances.
Offensively, everyone who started for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday has a batting average below .260. But first baseman Christian Walker could be starting to heat up at the plate.
Walker began Tuesday hitting just .148 and in a 2-for-17 slump. However, he went 2-for-5 with a massive 435-foot homer and hit a double and tallied three RBIs.
“There’s a lot of pressure for us to get off to a good start every year,” Walker said. “It’s good to see us settling in and bouncing back.”
The Marlins, who have missed infielder Joey Wendle for the past two games due to general soreness, also have some cold bats. Catcher Jacob Stallings and right fielder Avisail Garcia are both batting .177. In addition, left fielder Jorge Soler and shortstop Miguel Rojas are both batting .182, giving the Marlins four starters under the infamous Mendoza Line.
Miami’s most dynamic batter right now is lefty-swinging second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr., who is hitting .313 with a .657 slugging percentage. Both of those marks are tops on the Marlins.
It will be interesting to see whether Mattingly starts Chisholm against the lefty Bumgarner.
For his career, Chisholm has 19 homers, 59 RBIs and a .768 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Against lefties, he has five homers, 17 RBIs and a .677 OPS.
This year, in a smaller sample size, the disparity is even greater as Chisholm is hitting .333 with four homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.116 OPS against right-handers. Against lefties, in eight at-bats, he is hitting .125 with no homers, two RBIs and a .361 OPS.
Mattingly this year has used a lineup with nine right-handed batters to combat lefties, and that could be the plan again Wednesday as the Marlins try to snap their three-game losing streak.
–Field Level Media