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Boston Red Sox vs. Miami Marlins Preview and Predictions 09-17-2020

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The Boston Red Sox and the host Miami Marlins will conclude their three-game series with the rubber match on Thursday afternoon at Marlins Park.

Boston won the opener 2-0 on Tuesday. Miami won Wednesday's game 8-4.

On Thursday, it will be a battle of right-handers as Miami will start Jose Urena (0-1, 7.71 ERA). Boston will counter with former Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 4.82).

Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro, who slugged two homers on Wednesday, is not expected to catch Thursday. Alfaro was removed in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game after he took a foul ball off his mask, and he has had concussion issues in the past.

Chad Wallach is expected to replace Alfaro on Thursday. Interestingly, Urena's ERA when Alfaro catches him is 6.04 in 19 games. Urena's ERA in four games caught by Wallach is much better at 4.30.

This will be Urena's third career start against Boston. So far, he has no record but a solid 3.46 ERA.

Urena, 29, has spent most of this season on the injured list. In his two appearances, covering 9 1/3 innings, Urena has allowed nine hits, seven walks and eight earned runs. He has struck out just four batters and could be in danger of losing his rotation spot if he doesn't turn things around quickly.

Eovaldi, 30, went 13-27 in two-plus seasons with the Marlins. Miami traded him to the New York Yankees in December 2014, and Eovaldi went on to help Boston win the 2018 World Series.

In his career against the Marlins, Eovaldi is 0-1 with a 7.82 ERA in three starts. He is also 6-15 with a 4.43 ERA in 34 starts at Marlins Park, his former home stadium.

This season, the Red Sox are 4-3 when Eovaldi starts. However, he missed about one month due to a right calf injury, returning to pitch three innings -- allowing one run -- last Saturday at Tampa Bay.

"I felt a grab," Eovaldi said of his initial injury. "I thought I would be out a day or two."

It turned out to be much longer than that, but the Red Sox are grateful he's back now.

Both teams are also expected to get their standout center fielders back in the lineup -- Jackie Bradley Jr. for Boston and Starling Marte for Miami.

Marte has sparked the Marlins since they acquired him on Aug. 31 from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 16 games since the trade, Marte has produced a .772 OPS, three homers and 11 RBIs.

"I hate taking him out of the lineup," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Marte. "But he's a little beat up. He has a collateral damage from all those games (seven in five days) against the (Philadelphia Phillies)."

The surprising Marlins, who are in second place in the National League East -- one year removed from losing 105 games -- are feeling pretty confident. In fact, this is the first time the Marlins have been in a playoff race this late in a season since they won the World Series in 2003.

Garrett Cooper, now in his third season with the Marlins, talked about the feeling on the team after he slugged a two-run homer on Wednesday.

"The past few years have been a struggle, but this is a fun group," Cooper said. "This year is something special."

--Field Level Media

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Marlins Park
Miami, Florida, USA.
Capacity: 37,000

Last Injuries

Miami Marlins

  • Josh A. Smith

    Finger
    Out indefinitely | 10-day IL

    Smith has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a cracked fingernail. He is in danger of missing the remainder of the season.

  • Jose Urena

    Forearm
    out for season | out

    Urena suffered a non-displaced ulna fracture in his right forearm and will miss the remainder of the season.

  • Magneuris Sierra

    Hamstring
    Early Oct | 10-day IL

    Sierra has been ticketed for the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. He is likely to be activated near the beginning of October.

  • Stephen Tarpley

    Oblique
    Early Oct | 10-day IL

    Tarpley has been shifted to the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain, and he will be idle until at least the early part of October.

  • Isan Diaz

    Groin
    out for season | 45-day IL

    Diaz will spend the remainder of the season on the 45-day injured list with a left groin injury.

  • Jon Berti

    Finger
    Late Sept | 10-day IL

    Berti has been moved to the 10-day injured list with a right index finger contusion, and he is not projected to return until the latter part of September.

  • Matt Joyce

    Rest
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Joyce is not expected to be in the starting lineup for Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader versus the Nationals.

  • Jorge Alfaro

    Head
    Prob Fri | probable

    Alfaro sat out the last game due to a head injury, but it is projected that he will bounce back in time for Game 1 of Friday's doubleheader versus the Nationals.

Boston Red Sox

  • Mookie Betts

    Hip
    Ques Wed | questionable

    Betts has a left hip injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up in Game 1 of the National League wild-card round against the Brewers.

  • Domingo Tapia

    Bicep
    out for season | 10-day IL

    Tapia has hit the 10-day injured list with a right biceps contusion and he will sit out the remainder of the season.

  • Alex Verdugo

    Hamstring
    Doub Sun | doubtful

    Verdugo is managing a sore hamstring, and is unlikely to play in the season finale versus the Braves.

  • Heath Hembree

    Elbow
    Out indefinitely | 10-day IL

    Hembree will miss an undetermined length of time while on the 10-day injured list with a strained right elbow.

  • Yairo Munoz

    Back
    Out indefinitely | 10-day IL

    Munoz has been assigned to the 10-day injured list with lower-back spasms. Team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.

  • Alex Verdugo

    Hamstring
    Prob Tues | probable

    Verdugo has missed the past two games due to left hamstring tightness. It is anticipated that he will play against the Orioles on Tuesday.

  • Mookie Betts

    Rest
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Betts is not expected to play Sunday against the Rockies due to a day of rest.

  • Andrew Triggs

    Arm
    out for season | 10-day IL

    Triggs is expected to be on the 10-day injured list for the remainder of the season due to right radial nerve irritation.

miami-marlins Stats 2020

Hitting Statistics
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Pitching Statistics
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Field Statistics
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB