Surprising Giants set to visit hot Marlins

MLB

The San Francisco Giants, who are set to open a three-game road series against the Miami Marlins on Friday, are off to a better-than-expected start.

San Francisco has won two games in a row and three consecutive series. The Giants are succeeding despite an offense that ranks as the second worst in the majors at 3.42 runs per game.

The Giants, though, are making up for that deficiency by having the second-best ERA in the majors (2.78). The Giants, who were idle on Thursday, also enter the weekend with a .995 fielding percentage, which is best in the majors.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler believes his offense is better than the numbers indicate. The San Francisco batting order is led by six-time All-Star catcher Buster Posey and three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria.

“There’s a lot of confidence up and down our lineup,” Kapler said. “We haven’t scored that many runs (yet), but we’ve demonstrated that we are resilient.”

On Friday, the Giants will hope to support right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2014.

DeSclafani is 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins.

This year, DeSclafani is off to a strong start with a 1-0 record and an 0.82 ERA through two starts. He has 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.

“I was trying to mix my pitches as best I can,” he said after beating the Colorado Rockies 4-0 on Sunday, when he tossed six shutout innings and struck out eight. “It was fun.”

The Marlins, after a slow start, enter with confidence of their own. On Saturday, they beat two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets. The Marlins then won three of four games against the Atlanta Braves, who have won three straight National League East titles.

“We’re showing that we deserve to be talked about in this league,” said Jazz Chisholm, Miami’s rookie second baseman.

The Marlins nearly completed a four-game sweep of the Braves on Thursday afternoon, but they blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning as Atlanta walked off with a 7-6 victory.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly finally announced left-hander Daniel Castano as the scheduled starter for Friday’s game. The 26-year-old was called up to the Marlins on Sunday and will see his first action of the season in what likely will be a spot start.

He pitched in seven games last season, including six starts, and went 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA over 29 2/3 innings. Six of his seven outings came against NL East opposition, as he finished the 2020 season with 6 1/3 scoreless frames against the New York Yankees on Sept. 27, when he earned his first major league win.

The Marlins’ bullpen has been a bit of a problem. In Miami’s seven losses so far this season, there have been three blown saves in the ninth. Anthony Bass squandered two leads, and Dylan Floro was the culprit Thursday.

The good news for Miami is that reliever Yimi Garcia should be rested and available for Friday’s game. Garcia, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, has a 1.23 ERA and two saves this season. In 7 1/3 innings, Garcia has struck out seven while allowing three walks and two hits.

In Wednesday’s save chance, Garcia — a power pitcher — was all over the zone, getting strikes on 11 of his 12 pitches. He fanned two batters in a perfect inning.

The Marlins’ offense is led by center fielder Starling Marte (.326 average) and first baseman Jesus Aguilar (team-high .333). Marte hit his first homer of the season in the Thursday defeat.

–Field Level Media

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