MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins may be getting out of their funk, having played .500 baseball over their last eight games.
Mother nature helped Jason Hammel get an extra two days of rest, and the Chicago Cubs are hoping that’s enough for him to resume what has been an excellent season.
Hammel looks to remain consistent Monday night as he takes the mound for the visiting Cubs against the Marlins.
Hammel (3-2, 2.98 ERA) has completed seven or more innings in five of his last six starts, though he lost for the first time in that span last Sunday. He gave up four runs over seven innings while striking out a season-high nine in a 4-3 defeat at Arizona.
The right-hander has set a high standard for himself through the season’s first two months, as the four runs allowed matched the most he has surrendered this year. All four came in the first three innings, during which he allowed five hits. He didn’t give up another hit.
“I adjusted where I was throwing (the) first pitch,” he told MLB’s official website.
Hammel was initially slated to pitch Saturday but was pushed back to give him extra time to heal a cracked fingernail. Saturday’s rainout delayed his start another day with Tsuyoshi Wada starting Sunday versus Kansas City. He won his lone start with six-plus days’ rest this season, but he’s 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 32 such outings for his career.
Limiting walks has been a big key to Hammel’s success this year. His 1.04 walks per nine innings are a career low, and he has issued seven bases on balls after walking 13 through his first nine outings in 2014.
He’s 1-3 with a 4.86 ERA in eight games against the Marlins, including six starts, only winning in 2011 with Colorado.
Chicago (26-22) had dropped seven of 11 prior to Sunday’s 2-1, 11-inning victory against the Royals. The Cubs walked off on David Ross’ single, though they’re still averaging just 2.2 runs over the last six games with 39 strikeouts in the last three.
Starlin Castro was 0 for 3 but has eight doubles and two home runs with nine RBIs in his last 10 meetings with Miami.
The Marlins (20-31) were unable to sweep the New York Mets, losing 4-3 Sunday, their 15th defeat in 20 games. Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 4 after Saturday’s two home runs, though he has five homers in his last five home games versus Chicago.
Justin Bour hit his fifth home run and has gone deep in each of his last three games. The rookie is 24 for 65 (.369) this season.
Jose Urena (0-1, 9.39) is trying to bounce back after a rough first career start Tuesday. He gave up five runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh, but he didn’t sound overly discouraged.
“I was confident in what I was doing today,” said Urena, whose call-up from Triple-A was prompted by injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos. “It didn’t work out for me.”
Rookie starters are 1-2 against the Cubs but have limited them to four earned runs over 17 1-3 innings.
Dee Gordon is 8 for 17 over his last four games and has stolen seven bases in 10 career games against the Cubs.
Chicago has won 10 of the last 15 meetings.
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