The Arizona Diamondbacks are in last place in perhaps the best division in baseball, the National League West.
But if they can beat the host Miami Marlins on Tuesday night, the D-backs will win their third straight series, including two on the road.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said opponents shouldn’t overlook his D-backs.
“This group is slowly coming together,” Lovullo said. “I have a very good feeling of how our guys go out each day and give you a chance to win. That’s all we ask. Just do your job. We have a good feeling in this clubhouse.
“Based off what we did last year, teams probably are going to think easy wins, a three-game sweep, against us. But that’s not the case. We’re going to play good baseball.”
That was the case in Monday’s 5-4 win in the series opener at Miami. Arizona beat Pablo Lopez (3-1), who entered the game with the best ERA in the majors at 0.39. The D-backs ended Lopez’s scoreless-innings streak at 18 1/3.
In fact, Arizona was in control 5-0 but hit three batters in Miami’s four-run seventh inning.
Other than that, Arizona dominated, including former Marlins pitcher Zac Gallen, who allowed just two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
“We didn’t do a whole lot against him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s got good stuff.”
Tuesday’s pitching matchup features Arizona right-hander Humberto Castellanos (1-1, 5.79 ERA) against Miami lefty Trevor Rogers (1-3, 5.09 ERA).
Rogers wins with a 95-mph fastball and a nasty changeup. His curve is a work in progress, and his command has not yet been as sharp as last year, when he had a 2.64 ERA in 25 starts.
However, in his most recent start, Rogers had his best performance of the year, allowing just two hits, two walks and one run in a season-high six innings against the Washington Nationals.
He also has a good — although brief — track record against Arizona, going 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his only start against the D-backs.
The Marlins have lost two straight games, a small skid that has directly followed an impressive seven-game winning streak.
Arizona, which has won five of its past seven games, will now look to Castellanos, who is considered the D-backs’ fifth starter. Castellanos began this season with two relief appearances before moving into the rotation.
He is coming off his worst performance of the year, allowing five hits and five runs in just two innings in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
A 24-year-old native of Mexico, Castellanos will be facing the Marlins for the first time in his career.
One of Castellanos’ biggest challenges will be against lefty-swinging Jazz Chisholm Jr., who nearly hit a grand slam on Monday, settling for a two-run double that one-hopped the wall in right field.
Chisholm also scored from second on an infield single, showcasing his speed and power on the same night.
“There are only a few guys who can run like Jazz,” Mattingly said. “He’s an exciting player. The fans love the energy he plays with.
“Jazz has a chance to be a great player.”
–Field Level Media
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