(Photo credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
The Miami Marlins are looking for a bounce-back series.
Miami (79-74), which is in contention for a National League wild-card playoff berth, is set to host the Milwaukee Brewers (87-66) on Friday night to start a three-game series.
Which Marlins team shows up is anyone's guess. Earlier this week, the Marlins lost two of three games to the out-of-contention New York Mets. Miami played poorly defensively (six errors) and offensively (eight runs) during that series.
"We didn't play well -- that's the bottom line," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said.
Prior to the series against the Mets, the Marlins were brilliant in a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves, who have the best record in the majors. Miami scored 36 runs in that series.
The Marlins, who were idle on Thursday, played poorly in the series prior to sweeping the Braves. In that series, the Brewers took three of four games from Miami, outscoring the Marlins 19-5.
Schumaker is hoping to get two of his injured stars back in the lineup on Friday. Second baseman Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .354 batting average, has missed two straight games due to a sprained left ankle. Third baseman Jake Burger, who has established career highs this year with 27 doubles, 33 homers, 76 RBIs and 69 runs, left Wednesday's loss to the Mets due to right quad tightness.
The Marlins have not announced a starting pitcher for Friday, but it could be right-hander Bryan Hoeing (2-2, 4.19 ERA).
Hoeing started last Saturday in Miami's 11-5 win over the Braves. He got a no-decision, allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
For his career, Hoeing has faced Milwaukee twice, both in relief, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Hoeing has made eight career starts, posting a 7.96 ERA. In 31 career relief appearances, he has a 3.78 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Brewers, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 on Thursday night, are closing in on the NL Central title.
The Brewers have won 22 of their past 31 games as they gear up for the postseason.
"We've got a bigger picture in mind," Brewers right-hander Adrian Houser said. "We don't want to just get into the playoffs. We want to go and win the World Series."
The Brewers, who are seeking their third division title in the past six years, are scheduled on Friday to start right-hander and three-time All-Star Corbin Burnes (9-8, 3.56 ERA).
Burnes, 28, has been in Milwaukee's organization since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2016.
He won the Cy Young Award in 2021 when he led the league with a 2.43 ERA. He led the NL last year with 243 strikeouts, and he is one win from his third straight season with double-digit victories.
Burnes has faced the Marlins five times in his career, including three starts, going 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA. In two games in Miami, he is 0-0 with a 1.00 ERA over nine innings.
He is backed by a Brewers team that has won eight of its past 11 games and has a magic number of three to clinch the division.
"We're playing solid baseball in all three areas," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Let's finish the job."
--Field Level Media