We’ve reached the rubber match in this Marlins and Diamondbacks series, as Miami evened the series last night. We’ll preview today’s game before going over why I’ll be targeting the total in this one.
Jesus Luzardo was impressive yesterday, throwing seven innings with one earned run and five strikeouts. However, the biggest talking point about last night’s game was Jorge Soler and his two towering home runs that traveled a combined 901 feet, and both had exit velocities greater than 110 MPH. The power hitter drove in five of the Marlins' six runs in the game to bring his RBI total up to 19 on the season.
Going back to the mound, right-hander Edward Cabrera will look to give the Marlins another strong performance following Luzardo. In seven starts and 32 innings, the righty has pitched to a 4.78 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 26 walks. Cabrera has racked up six or more strikeouts in four straight starts and is fresh off his second start with just one walk this season.
The hard-throwing righty will face a Diamondbacks lineup that, despite picking up 11 hits last night, could only manage to score two runs, as they left 16 runners on base. Evan Longoria had the biggest day at the plate, going 3-4 with a home run and double. Arizona is still ranked 4th in BAbip and prefers to hit in their home ballpark, as they have a .292 batting average and .822 OPS at Chase Field this season.
Getting the ball for the Diamondbacks today will be Merril Kelly to make his eighth start. The righty has thrown 39.3 innings up to this point and has a 2.75 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 19 walks. Kelly is coming off his best start of the season, as he went seven innings with ten strikeouts and one earned run allowed against the Nationals on May 5th.
The total for this game is currently set at nine, and I’ll be taking the under as my play in this one. Both games played so far in this series have gone under, and the under is also 6-1 in the last seven games that Miami has played following them scoring five or more runs. Both starting pitchers have strikeout potential, and I expect a strong start from both of them today.
Merril Kelly will face a Marlins team hitting .234 against right-handed pitching and averaging the fewest runs per game in the first five innings this season. Kelly is in the 66th percentile in barrel percentage, 64th percentile in strikeout percentage, and has a 49% ground ball rate. Even with Kelly out of the game, the Diamondbacks bullpen is 11th in expected FIP, and is 9th in groundball rate.
For the Marlins, Edward Cabrera has big strikeout potential, with his whiff rate in the 89th percentile, and he is also a heavy ground ball pitcher with a ground ball percentage of 53.2%. Only walking one-hitter in his most recent start is also a good sign for his command issues. Miami’s bullpen has also been solid this series, throwing 5 ⅔ innings with two earned runs, so I think these teams will go under for the third straight game.