Reeling Marlins aim to stop slide in finale vs. Rockies

The Colorado Rockies entered this weekend with the worst record in the National League. On Sunday afternoon, the Rockies will bid for a three-game sweep of the host Miami Marlins

Miami has lost eight consecutive games, including a 4-3 defeat on Saturday in which the team squandered a three-run lead in the seventh inning on rookie Nolan Jones’ homer. Colorado scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on Randal Grichuk’s RBI single.

This is the Marlins‘ longest losing streak since they lost nine straight last season from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7

Marlins rookie manager Skip Schumaker was asked after Saturday’s game if his players were frustrated

“I don’t worry about the guys in there,” Schumaker said. “It stinks when you give up a home run late in the game to tie it up, but there were a lot of positives that happened for us.”

Schumaker said his team is trying to change some things to break out of this slump.

“But you can’t change everything,” he said. “You have to trust the process.”

The Marlins, who have the longest active losing streak in the majors, will start left-hander Jesus Luzardo (8-5, 3.34 ERA) on Sunday

Luzardo is 0-1 with a 10.45 ERA in his career against the Rockies. But those statistics feature a small sample size — just three appearances and one start

This season, the Marlins are 13-7 when Luzardo starts. Luzardo has won his past three decisions and hasn’t lost since June 12

Catcher Nick Fortes has been behind the plate for all 20 of Luzardo’s starts this year, and that includes a 4-2 record and a 2.43 ERA in 11 home games.

Colorado tabbed left-hander Ty Blach (0-0, 6.75) to serve as the opener for Sunday’s game.

Blach, who has made seven relief appearances this season, is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in four career games (one start) against Miami.

The Rockies are 5-2 since the All-Star Game, and Colorado reliever Justin Lawrence said the bullpen is a big factor

“From young guys to old guys, we’re all running with whatever role we’re given,” said Lawrence, who earned a save on Saturday. “It’s just the confidence we all have in each other in our bullpen.”

Jones, perhaps Colorado’s biggest hero on Saturday, had a scholarship to the University of Virginia but signed with Cleveland after the Guardians drafted him in the second round in 2016.

Jones, 25, made his MLB debut last year, but the Guardians traded him to Colorado following the season. Now he is getting consistent at-bats as the Rockies‘ right fielder, and he’s hit some monster home runs

On June 7, he hit a 483-foot home run. On Saturday, his three-run blast traveled 445 feet.

“Everything has to go right to hit a home run,” said Jones, a 6-4, 195-pounder who has gone deep eight times in 43 games this season. “The pitch has to be there. I have to put a good swing on it, and the timing has to be right.”

And, given that the Marlins are in the midst of a massive slump, Colorado’s timing appears to be perfect in making the trip to Miami at this moment of the season

–Field Level Media

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