ST. PETERSBURG (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – If there is one thing the Miami Marlins are looking for this season, its consistency.
One of Miami’s key players has been very consistent against their cross-state rival.
Marcell Ozuna looks to continue his dominance over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night when the Marlins visit for the finale of a four-game, home-and-home interleague series.
Ozuna has hit safely in all 20 games against the Rays in his career and highlighted the 10-6 victory on Wednesday with a blast that was estimated at 468 feet – one of the longest homers in Tropicana Field history.
Ozuna is 8-for-19 during a five-game hitting streak and catcher J.T. Realmuto has hit safely in his last eight road contests after going 2-for-5 with four RBIs in Wednesday’s win, which was only the Marlins’ second in eight outings.
Dan Straily will try to gain a split of the Citrus series when he takes the mound for Miami on Thursday and fellow right-hander Matt Andriese goes for Tampa Bay, which dropped to 9-5 at home on the season.
Evan Longoria (foot) was back in the lineup Wednesday as the designated hitter for the Rays, but went 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .200.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is just 2-for-42 in his last 11 games, but had a two-run single in the loss to snap a 0-for-19 slump.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Dan Straily (1-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Rays RH Matt Andriese (1-1, 3.86)
Straily, who is in his first season with the Marlins, allowed only 11 hits and seven earned runs over 22 2/3 innings the last four games but managed just one victory.
The 28-year-old Marshall product gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh last time out and boasts 29 strikeouts in 26 frames overall while opponents are batting just .183 against him.
Straily will be facing the Rays for the first time, but Colby Rasmus owns two hits in five at-bats against him.
Andriese permitted four runs (three earned) on five hits over seven innings at Toronto on Saturday to suffer his first loss of the season, but posted his third quality start in four outings.
The 27-year-old California native has surrendered at least one home run in each of his five starts (six total) and earned his only victory at home despite a 4.80 ERA in three starts.
Derek Dietrich is 2-for-3 versus Andriese, who yielded three runs over six innings in a no-decision against Miami in 2016.
- Tampa Bay OF-DH Corey Dickerson, who sat out against the left-handed starter for Miami on Wednesday, leads the team with 12 multi-hit games.
- Ozuna is 30-for-75 during his streak against the Rays – the longest run versus Tampa Bay since Derek Jeter also went 20 games in 2004-05.
- Rays LHP Jose Alvarado was recalled from Double-A Montgomery on Wednesday and gave up three runs in one inning during his major-league debut.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)