MIAMI (AP) — After staking themselves to a sizable divisional lead, the San Francisco Giants open the season’s second half in second place.
The Miami Marlins come out of the All-Star break trying to salvage a season that started in promising fashion.
The Giants hope Friday night’s road matchup with the Marlins and Nathan Eovaldi – who they’ve dominated in the past – helps them get back on track.
San Francisco (52-43) enjoyed a 9 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers on June 8, but has gone an NL-worst 10-22 since. The Giants are a game behind Los Angeles, which went 21-12 in the same stretch.
“The challenge for us is to look at the overall record,” catcher Buster Posey said. “We’re still in a good spot. We have to go forward.”
Posey is hitting a career-low .275 and came into the break particularly cold, going 6 for 39 over his final 10 contests. He’s also batted .140 in his last 13 games against Miami and is 1 for 5 off of Eovaldi.
However, Eovaldi (5-4, 3.61 ERA) has posted a 12.27 ERA in four career starts against the Giants. Hunter Pence is 5 for 10 off the right-hander while Pablo Sandoval is 6 for 8.
Eovaldi ended his first half in strong fashion, limiting Arizona to a run and four hits over seven innings of a 4-3 loss July 9. He didn’t get the decision.
The Marlins (44-50) occupied first place a week into May but have lost 11 of 16. They scored 12 runs in the last six of a nine-game trip and are 7 1/2 games out of first place, falling to fourth after Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the New York Mets.
“I know we got some guys pressing. We got some guys on tilt. We got some guys frustrated,” manager Mike Redmond told MLB’s official website. “Obviously, when you lose games, that’s what happens. We need to relax a little bit for a few days, come back, get to work next week.”
Giancarlo Stanton’s 21 home runs are tied for the NL lead, but he went 4 for 33 with 13 strikeouts during the club’s 3-6 trip and hasn’t homered in 15 games.
While Stanton was 0 for 3 in Tuesday’s All-Star game, the Marlins are hoping he can snap out of his funk after putting on a show in the home run derby with a 510-foot shot at Target Field.
He’s also 7 for 11 with five doubles against Madison Bumgarner (10-7, 3.47), who became the first pitcher since 1966 with two grand slams in a season after hitting one in an 8-4 win over Arizona on Sunday. Bumgarner is batting .275 on the season and leads all pitchers with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
He wasn’t as sharp on the mound against the Diamondbacks, allowing four runs and 10 hits over 6 1-3 innings, though he still ended a three-game losing streak. The left-hander has posted a 7.03 ERA in his last four outings.
Bumgarner has gone 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in four career starts against Miami, though his 1.98 road ERA this season is among the best in the majors.
These teams split four contests in San Francisco from May 15-18, though the Giants have won 17 of their last 25 away games against the Marlins. Michael Morse was 7 for 15 in the first series, while Sandoval is hitting .464 with seven RBIs over his last seven matchups.
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