Almost unthinkable as recently as two weeks ago, the Miami Marlins have taken full advantage of some of the worst teams in the National League to put themselves in the running for a wild-card spot. The Marlins attempt to continue their surge against another sub-.500 team on Friday, when they begin a three-game series versus the visiting San Diego Padres.
Miami (63-63) fell seven games below .500 after dropping three of four at Washington from Aug. 7-10, but a sweep of Colorado - which currently occupies the second wild-card spot in the NL - provided the necessary momentum for series victories against San Francisco, the New York Mets and Philadelphia. The Marlins improved to 10-3 over their last 13 contests Thursday with a wild 9-8 victory over the Phillies, belting three of their four homers after falling behind by five runs in the fourth inning to remain 5 1/2 games behind the Rockies. San Diego took the rubber match of its three-game set with St. Louis on Thursday, allowing Miami to move within one-half game of one of the two teams (the Cardinals) it has to leapfrog in order to make a run at Colorado. Padres rookie Manuel Margot went 6-for-12 and scored five times in three games against St. Louis after going 15-for-74 with eight runs scored over his first 18 contests this month.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres LH Travis Wood (3-4, 5.81 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Adam Conley (6-5, 4.93)
Wood turned in his best start in five tries as a Padre in a win over Washington on Saturday, allowing only an unearned run on three hits and two walks in seven innings. The 2013 All-Star has taken a liking to Petco Park this season (3-0, 1.96 ERA in four outings - including three starts) but is 0-4 with a 7.19 ERA away from San Diego. Giancarlo Stanton is only 1-for-10 with a home run against Wood, who is 1-3 with a 7.92 ERA in 10 career appearances (four starts) versus the Marlins.
After failing to strike out a batter in a start for the first time in his previous outing, Conley fanned a career-high 11 on Sunday, yielding only a solo home run among the three hits he allowed over seven innings in a win against the Mets. The 27-year-old Washington State product has worked at least six frames in five of his seven trips to the mound since his mid-July promotion, lasting at least seven innings three times. Conley settled for a no-decision at San Diego on April 21 despite permitting one run in six frames.
1. Stanton extended his own club records for most homers in a month (14) and season (47) with a third-inning solo blast on Thursday.
2. Margot is batting .414 with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and four RBIs during his seven-game road hitting streak.
3. Miami OF Marcell Ozuna needs only two more RBIs to join Stanton as the first pair of Marlins to reach 100 before the end of August in the same season.
PREDICTION: Marlins 6, Padres 3