The Miami Marlins, who ended their longest losing streak in six years on Sunday, are set to visit the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Miami beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1, snapping what had been the longest active skid in the majors at eight games.
“You don’t really think about (the losing streak) at first, but then it starts to grow,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We lost a couple of tough games, and it creeps in there. It felt good to get a win on the board.”
On Monday, the Marlins will start Pablo Lopez (1-3, 2.82 ERA) against Boston’s Nick Pivetta (6-1, 3.77 ERA) in a battle of right-handers who each struck out nine batters in their most recent start.
Lopez allowed just five hits, one walk and two runs in his start Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. He also struck out seven of eight batters during one particularly dominant stretch.
Yet — in a continuing trend that shows how the game is often played these days — Lopez was lifted after just four innings while leading the Jays 4-2. He had thrown 90 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Mattingly defended the decision to lift Lopez even though Toronto went on to beat Miami 6-5.
“We had the lead (toward) the end of the game,” Mattingly said. “That’s where you want to be able to hand the ball off to your bullpen.”
Monday night’s contest serves as a makeup for a May 30 rainout.
Lopez, whose nine strikeouts tied a career high, has never faced Boston. He has six quality starts in 12 tries this year. The Marlins are 5-7 when he pitches.
Boston has won four straight games and completed its first three-game sweep of the Yankees in New York since June 2011 with a 6-5 win in 10 innings on Sunday night.
The Red Sox are a season-high 13 games over .500, but in 11 career appearances against the Marlins — including eight starts — Pivetta is just 2-4 with a 5.36 ERA.
But since arriving in Boston in time for the 2020 season, Pivetta has been outstanding — 8-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts.
Prior to that, he went 19-30 with a 5.50 ERA in 92 appearances, including 71 starts, all with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pivetta hopes to continue a Red Sox trend in which Boston pitchers have allowed one or no homers in 22 of their previous 23 games.
Boston prevailed in its first two games against Miami this season, winning 5-2 on May 28 and 3-1 on May 29.
That brief series featured several story lines such as star Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers against Marlins rookie infielder Jose Devers. They are cousins.
In addition, that was the first time Fenway Park had allowed full capacity, and the Marlins players certainly heard the fans then and likely will again on Monday.
“They were loud,” Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers said. “I heard it for sure. The atmosphere was crazy. It was a lot of fun.”
On the injury front, Miami shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr. is expected to play Monday despite getting hit with a pitch on his right foot on Sunday. Marlins outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper, who has missed two straight games due to back stiffness, is questionable.
Boston outfielder J.D. Martinez is questionable after jamming his left wrist while diving back into first base on Friday. He has missed two straight games.
–Field Level Media