After a stretch last week where we saw the Marlins win three out of four games, Miami then cooled off a bit in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the Marlins are back home in Little Havana taking on the Indians in a two-game series. Sitting with an 8-20 record, Don Mattingly’s team will look to take advantage of the upcoming five-game homestand.
Here are some things to look forward to as Cleveland comes to Miami.
1. Can Sandy Alcantara get back on track?/Can Caleb Smith stay hot?
The two Marlins starting pitchers for their series against the Indians are going in very different directions lately.
Alcantara will be on the mound Tuesday night, having been shaky his last three starts, and been thumped in two of them. After allowing just two ER his first two starts, Alcantara’s given up 12 runs the past three. His last start was against these same Indians back on April 24, where went he survived five innings without his best stuff and gave up two runs (one earned).
it's been up and down for Sandy Alcantara lately, but he is still flashing some pretty bonkers stuff. here's a ludicrous changeup (?!) he threw to Carlos Santana earlier today pic.twitter.com/DU32pPqw9v— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) April 24, 2019
Caleb Smith, on the other hand, has been one of the brightest spots on the Marlins. Smith will start Wednesday, entering the game with a 2-0 record. In his last two starts, he’s struck out 16 batters while allowing just two runs. No qualified starter in baseball is better at limiting baserunners (0.83 WHIP).
2. Offensive production early
Scoring runs has been a problem all season for the Marlins, and that’s no surprise. However, Miami is shooting themselves in the foot early in their ballgames. Over the past three games, the Marlins have scored just one run in the first three innings and they’ve been outscored 8-1.
When you have a declining Martín Prado slotted near the top of the lineup every game, it speaks volumes about how Mattingly doesn’t have any bats that he trusts right now.
3. Will we see Garrett Cooper in this series?
Something that Marlins fans are very hopeful for is that we’ll be able to see Garrett Cooper in the majors again, and maybe even for the Indians series. Garrett injured his calf on March 31. He spent this past weekend rehabbing in Jupiter and impressed in those three games.
Cooper finishes his weekend slashing .667/.700/1.222 with 0 K. Marlins could go in a few different directions to add him back to the roster, depending on whether he's ready to return NOW or later in the week. https://t.co/7n2DjPPBGm— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 28, 2019
Cooper was one of the most exciting and promising stories coming out of spring training this season. The 28-year-old hit .395 in the Grapefruit League and had an OPS on .926. Cooper’s return could spark the Marlins offense, which is currently the worst in MLB. With Neil Walker battling a minor hamstring injury, Cooper could play first base (though the original plan was to play him at the corner outfield positions).