MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins failed to feed off the momentum of a season-high offensive explosion before returning to their lackluster ways in the opener of the four-game, two-city series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The reeling Marlins look to avoid their sixth loss in seven contests on Tuesday when the Sunshine State rivals conclude the first leg of their set in Miami.
Marcell Ozuna homered in the 4-2 setback on Monday, one day removed from collecting three of the Marlins’ season-high 15 hits in a 10-3 rout of Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old Dominican has feasted on the Rays by going 10-for-20 since last season – with one hit in two at-bats versus Tuesday starter Alex Cobb.
Tampa Bay is slowly getting its act together on the road, improving to 3-4 on its eight-game road trip after limping to a 1-7 mark in its previous eight contests away from Tropicana Field. Tim Beckham had a two-run double in the series opener to give him hits in nine of his last 10 outings overall while improving to 5-for-19 with a homer and five RBIs in his career in Miami.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Alex Cobb (1-2, 4.66 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Edinson Volquez (0-3, 4.44)
Cobb saw his winless stretch extend to four starts on Wednesday despite allowing three runs in five innings at Baltimore. The 29-year-old kept the ball in the park for the first time in a start this season, after surrendering five homers in his previous four turns. Cobb has limited experience against the majority of the Marlins’ roster – save for Ichiro Suzuki, who is batting just .130 in 23 career at-bats versus the hurler.
Volquez vies for a better start out of the blocks as the 33-year-old Dominican has permitted five first-inning runs in his five starts. Better control would also help as he suffered his second loss in as many trips to the mound on Thursday after issuing four walks for the third straight time in a 3-2 setback to Philadelphia. Volquez owns a 3-1 career mark versus Tampa Bay and has struggled against Corey Dickerson (.300), Kevin Kiermaier (.300) and Evan Longoria (.294), although Kiermaier is mired in a 1-for-33 stretch with 13 strikeouts in his last nine games.
1. Miami OF Giancarlo Stanton is 0-for-10 with six strikeouts in his last three games.
2. Longoria, who sat out the series opener, told the Tampa Bay Times that he hopes to play Tuesday as he deals with an ailing left foot.
3. Marlins 2B Dee Gordon is 5-for-7 with three runs scored in his last two games.
PREDICTION: Marlins 3, Rays 2
By SportsDirect Inc.