June 21, 2024

The Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 16 games, climbing from a season-low of six games under .500 to an impressive road series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re now playing better baseball, receiving more consistent starting pitching, and getting increased production throughout their lineup. Their next challenge is the Miami Marlins, a team likely to finish in last place in the National League East. On paper, this is a series the Diamondbacks should aim to win, if not sweep.

Although it’s easy to underestimate the Marlins, who are 17-34 and have already given up on postseason hopes, they have won seven of their last 10 games. This stretch includes series victories over the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and Milwaukee Brewers, so they are capable of beating solid teams. The Diamondbacks must not take the Marlins lightly or risk facing their third consecutive series loss to them.

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Bryce Jarvis and catcher Gabriel Moreno celebrate a win over the Dodgers.

Braxton Garrett has been mostly injured this season, with just two starts after beginning the year on the injured list due to a shoulder issue. His performance has been rough, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) in 9 2/3 innings across those starts. However, he has a solid track record, with a 3.66 ERA in 30 starts in 2023. Garrett’s arsenal includes a fastball, sinker, cutter, slider, and changeup, which can keep hitters off balance.

Zac Gallen has been gradually returning to his midseason form after a slow start with slightly diminished velocity and stuff. His last two outings have shown signs of vintage Gallen. In his most recent start against the Tigers, he was in control and nearly completed seven scoreless innings before the inning slipped away, resulting in an 8-3 loss for the Diamondbacks. Facing the Marlins, Gallen will be eager to perform well.

### Saturday, May 25, 7:10 PM: RHP Sixto Sánchez (0-2, 6.41 ERA) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 4.98 ERA)

Sixto Sánchez, once a top prospect and the key piece in the J.T. Realmuto trade with Philadelphia, hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Marlins. This year marks his return to the mound since 2020, and his performance has been underwhelming across seven relief appearances and five starts. With the Marlins’ rotation struggling due to injuries, Sánchez has a chance to secure his spot. He brings a mid-90s fastball, sinker, cutter, and changeup to his repertoire.

Jordan Montgomery has pitched better than his stats suggest for the Diamondbacks in 2024, consistently giving his team a chance to win in five of his six starts. In his last outing, he managed a quality start against a hot Detroit lineup, going six innings before facing one batter in the seventh, who later scored. This cost him both the win and the quality start, but the Diamondbacks ultimately won the game.

### Sunday, May 26, 1:10 PM: LHP Ryan Weathers (2-4, 3.49 ERA) vs. TBA

Ryan Weathers, a former top draft pick for the San Diego Padres, was traded to the Marlins for Garrett Cooper. He has found stability in Miami, posting a solid 3.49 ERA in 10 starts, helping to shore up a rotation hit hard by injuries. Weathers averages 96 MPH on his four-seamer and complements it with a sinker, sweeper, and changeup.

The Diamondbacks have yet to announce a starter for Sunday but are likely to turn to left-hander Blake Walston for either a start or bulk relief.

### Key Batters

**Diamondbacks**
– **Randal Grichuk**: Likely to start two games against left-handers, hitting .327 with a .429 slugging percentage against them. Though lacking extra-base hits, he has been valuable as a fourth outfielder and occasional DH.
– **Kevin Newman**: Hitting .389 with seven extra-base hits and four walks since May 4, solidifying the shortstop position.
– **Ketel Marte**: Enters the series with a 21-game hitting streak, aiming to surpass Tony Womack’s 24-game streak from May 2000.

**Marlins**
– **Jazz Chisholm Jr.**: Part of the Zac Gallen trade, batting .254 with seven home runs and a 114 OPS+. He is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts against Gallen in his career.
– **Bryan De La Cruz**: Batting .259 with nine home runs and a 112 OPS+.
– **Otto Lopez**: Took over second base after the Marlins traded Luis Arraez, hitting .283 with three home runs and a .806 OPS (126 OPS+).

### Bullpens

**Diamondbacks**
– Recent strong performances, especially with Paul Sewald returning as the closer. Despite one bad series against Detroit, Arizona’s relievers have been solid in May. Sewald, Thompson, and Mantiply have combined for eight shutdowns versus one meltdown. Kevin Ginkel has struggled recently but showed signs of returning to form in his last appearance.

Arizona Diamondbacks beat LA Dodgers 4-2; team now enjoys 2-0 lead in NLDS

**Marlins**
– The bullpen has been a strength, with Tanner Scott and Declan Cronin both posting sub-2.00 ERAs. Scott has struggled with control, issuing 18 walks in 21 innings. Andrew Nardi and Anthony Bender have higher ERAs (5.68 and 6.20, respectively), but FIP suggests they’ve been unlucky.

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