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Marlins vs. Rays: Top 3 things to look for

The Marlins desperately need to collect some W’s as the Rays come to town.

Brian Anderson’s bat must wake up for the Marlins to compete with playoff contenders like Tampa Bay.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After a strong effort in Chicago, where the Marlins took the Cubs to extra innings in two out of the four games, got at least one win, they were then shut down by the Mets in New York.

For the first time in 2019, the Fish will meet with in-state “rival” Tampa Bay Rays as they’re back at Marlins Park to host them for a two-game series.

Here are some things to look for as Miami prepares for the challenge.

  1. Does the Caleb Smith Show go on for another start?

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve obviously seen that I'm a huge Caleb Smith fan. Currently, Smith is sitting pretty with a 3-0 record and 2.11 ERA, and has struck out eight or more batters in each of his last four starts. The left-handed ace also leads NL lefties with 56 strikeouts. Smith will get the start for Tuesday’s series opener.

Tampa Bay doesn’t necessarily have the most intimating offense in MLB, ranking 20th in the league for runs scored, though seventh in team batting average. Their top threats include Tommy Pham, Yandy Diaz and Austin Meadows, who recently returned from the injured list.

2. More from Harold Ramirez

Saturday was the much-anticipated debut of Harold Ramirez, the 24-year-old Colombian who the Marlins acquired in the offseason. The outfielder earned a call-up with his .355 BA and .999 OPS at Triple-A. He went 1-for-4 in his first major league game.

Ramirez will get a long look given the lack of solid alternatives in the organization.

3. Is the offense completely lifeless at this point?

The Marlins’ hitting is bad. No, it’s like really, really bad. The second worst BA in the NL, OBP is last in the majors, and they’re by the far the worst team when it comes to runs scored. The fact they were only able to score three runs in two games against the Mets is laugh-out-loud material. Brian Anderson has just one hit in the last three games, and catcher Jorge Alfaro is only at four hits for the month.

Not such great news for the Marlins, is that Tampa Bay ranks first in the MLB with a combined 2.96 ERA.