The Miami Marlins have impressed Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais.
“They are athletic in the field,” he said. “But the name of the game for the Marlins is pitching. Very deep pitching staff. They are one of the most aggressive teams in the league throwing the breaking ball.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Servais said that before the Marlins beat the Mariners, 8-6, on Friday night in the opener of their three-game series in Miami.
Miami has now won six straight games, the Marlins’ longest streak since 2020. It’s also the longest active win streak in the National League.
“Pretty good night for our offense,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after Friday’s victory.
The Marlins will go for seven straight wins on Saturday night, when they will start lefty Jesus Luzardo (1-1, 3.71 ERA). He is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in four career appearances against the Mariners, striking out 19 in 10 2/3 innings. But he’s allowed three homers.
Seattle will counter with its own lefty, Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.91 ERA). Ray is 4-3 with a dominant 2.12 ERA in nine career appearances against the Marlins.
Ray, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, will try to snap Seattle’s three-game losing streak.
The Mariners, though, will likely be without DH Mitch Haniger, who suffered a high-ankle sprain to his right foot on Friday.
It was a tough break for Haniger, who had been activated Friday after missing 11 straight games due to COVID protocols.
Ray, who signed a five-year, $115 million contract with Seattle in November, went 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA last year for the Toronto Blue Jays.
This year, his strikeouts are way down — from 11.5 in 2021 to 6.4 this season. That could explain why his ERA is up by more than one run.
Still, Ray is an elite pitcher with a terrific fastball-slider combination. It will be interesting to see if the Marlins start all three of their lefty-hitting stars against him.
That would be second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr., who tripled on Friday and is batting .293; third baseman Joey Wendle, who is hitting .304; and center fielder Jesus Sanchez, who is batting .286 after adding two RBIs and a diving catch to his ledger on Friday.
Miami’s eight runs on Friday marked its third-highest scoring game of the season.
The Marlins still have some slumping veteran hitters who may be starting to awaken. Left fielder Jorge Soler, who mashed a 468-foot homer on Friday, is hitting .178.
Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas also homered on Friday. He’s batting .189.
Avisail Garcia doubled and is batting .190.
Lastly, first baseman Jesus Aguilar went 2-for-3 on Friday, raising his batting average to .226.
Last year, Aguilar slugged 22 runs and drove in 93 runs. Garcia hit 29 homers and drove in 86 runs. Soler hit 27 homers with 70 RBIs.
Rojas, more of a defensive force, is still a solid hitter and better than what he has shown so far this season. He hit .265 with nine homers and 48 RBIs last year.
–Field Level Media