Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Miami Marlins will be looking for their first sweep of the season since July 7-9 against the Cincinnati Reds.
In Game One of this series against the Pirates, the Marlins prevailed in a seesaw game by a 6-5 score. And Saturday, Miami won again 3-1 behind six innings of shutout baseball from starting pitcher David Phelps.
Sunday’s game concludes a seven-game road trip for the Marlins — while the Pirates are looking to end this skid going into a three-game series against the Houston Astros.
Ryan Vogelsong (2-2, 3.20 ERA) will be tasked with starting for the Pirates against the Marlins’ Jose Ureña (1-4, 6.80 ERA). Vogelsong is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA and 19 strikeouts in the five starts he’s had this season. This is Vogelsong’s fourth start since being activated off the 60-day disabled list for facial fractures.
Vogelsong’s latest win came against his former team, the San Francisco Giants. In 5.2 innings of work, he allowed four runs on a season-high nine. He’s 3-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 career games (seven starts) against the Marlins.
Ureña is making his third career appearance against the Pirates and his second start against the team. This will be his fourth start of the season. His last time out, he took the loss against the Reds; Ureña pitched six innings allowing five runs on seven hits.
Bell continues defensive progression
Prospect Josh Bell has a historic first (of sorts) as Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wrote Bell’s name on today’s lineup card as a starter. Bell will be batting sixth and playing first base.
This is Bell’s second taste of first base action in the big leagues.
“He’s definitely continued growing,” said special assistant to baseball operations Kevin Young. “There are a lot of different things he’s been able to experience playing a position every day now for the last couple of years. He’s been preparing for this moment to get out on the field and play at the major league level. We’re going to have to get him out here and be allowed to do the things he’s been able to do in Indianapolis and Altoona. We’re looking forward to watching him compete and contribute to the team defensively.”
Bell was unable to gain any first base experience in the majors when he was recalled just prior to the All-Star Break. He was used as a pinch-hit option — but never as a starter or defensive replacement.
That made last night’s defensive appearance, where Bell had a couple of opportunities to make plays, all the more important.
“He immediately got to see a bunt come his way,” Young said. “It’s all about breaking him in defensively. He understands that this is a lot bigger than him, and, at this point, he’s just trying to be here and contribute towards this team winning. Josh is a very educated player, he has a lot of pride in what he can do and a great work ethic.”
This is a unique time for the first base position in the Pirates’ organization. Last season, Pedro Alvarez made the move across the diamond from third base and had inconsistencies learning the position. This season, John Jaso made a somewhat similar transition but has achieved more success.
Bell has these resources — not to mention Kevin Young, who was asked by former Pirates manager Jim Leyland a couple of weeks prior to his 1993 rookie season to adjust to the first base position — at hand, and there has been a plethora of knowledge for Bell to use.
“You get to utilize the resources, and he does that very well,” Young said. “When I see John Jaso go out and do his ground ball routine, I share that with Josh as we go down to Indianapolis. I tell him that this is what I want you to mirror when you take your ground balls. It’s very demanding what we ask our infielders to do positioning wise so to be able to go through that part of it. We can’t prepare for how hard the ball is hit, we just need to be in position as consistently as possible.”
- Josh Harrison 2B
- Starling Marte LF
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- Gregory Polanco RF
- David Freese 3B
- Josh Bell 1B
- Sean Rodriguez SS
- Eric Fryer C
- Ryan Vogelsong P
- Dee Gordon 2B
- Martin Prado 3B
- Christian Yelich LF
- Marcell Ozuna CF
- JT Realmuto C
- Ichiro RF
- Xavier Scruggs 1B
- Adeiny Hechavarria SS
- Jose Ureña P
Bottom of the ninth:
Tyler Glasnow (right shoulder discomfort) is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Altoona Monday night. His target is to throw four innings or 65 pitches … The Marlins have activated closer A.J. Ramos (right third finger fracture) off the disabled list and sent Brian Ellington to Triple-A New Orleans.