The Oakland Athletics, who have the worst record in the majors at 12-46, will begin a nine-game road trip when they face the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
Oakland, which has lost 12 of its past 14 games, has won only two series this year. One of those series wins, however, came earlier this week, as the A's took two of three from the National League East-leading Braves. Oakland snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over Atlanta on Monday.
"Ending the losing streak was big," said Athletics manager Mark Kotsay, a former outfielder who played for eight major league teams, including the Marlins and A's. "Definitely something that's weighed on the guys. But to see the enthusiasm in the dugout ... that was a good sign."
On Friday, Oakland is scheduled to start rookie left-hander Hogan Harris (0-0, 10.13 ERA).
Harris, 26, was a third-round pick by Oakland in 2018. He made his major league debut on April 14, recording one out and yielding six runs against the New York Mets. He returned to the majors on Saturday, when he tossed five scoreless relief innings against the Houston Astros. He is set to make the first start of his career on Friday.
Kotsay, who was the Marlins' first-round pick (ninth overall) in 1996, doesn't have much to work with when it comes to Oakland's offense.
Designated hitter Brent Rooker (.874 on-base-plus-slugging percentage) and first baseman Ryan Noda (.841) are the Athletics' only two hitters with an OPS over .800. Rooker also leads Oakland with 11 homers and 32 RBIs.
Oakland ranks 28th out of 30 major league teams with a .299 on-base percentage and 29th with a .353 slugging percentage.
Speedy center fielder Esteury Ruiz, who bats leadoff for Oakland, leads the majors with 28 steals.
To try and keep the Athletics' lackluster offense in check, the Marlins will start right-hander Edward Cabrera (3-4, 5.02 ERA) on Friday.
Cabrera has faced the A's just once in his career, and it was the best performance of his 32 major league starts. Last Aug. 22, Cabrera pitched eight scoreless innings as Miami beat Oakland 3-0. He struck out seven and allowed just two hits and three walks.
Overall for his career, Cabrera, 25, is 9-11 with a 4.20 ERA.
The Marlins started their nine-game homestand by losing two of three to the San Diego Padres, capped by a 10-1 defeat on Thursday.
Miami managed just four hits, all singles, in the final vs. San Diego, including a hit from Jorge Soler, who tops the team in homers (17), RBIs (35) and runs (31).
Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez, who went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly on Thursday, leads the majors with a .382 batting average.
However, first baseman Garrett Cooper, who became a first-time All-Star last year, missed the past two games.
"He's having similar symptoms from his previous (injured-list) stint," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said on Thursday of Cooper, who missed 11 games due to an inner-ear infection before returning in mid-May. "He is getting evaluated further."
Cooper has hit just .143 (7-for-49) with two homers and six RBIs in his past 13 games.
--Field Level Media