Pablo Lopez (3-2, 2.10 ERA) vs. Josh Fleming (2-0, 1.74 ERA)
The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays will get a three-game series underway at the Trop in St. Petersburg. It’s an instate battle between the Marlins and Rays, with the Marlins travelling north for this series. Fortunately, the Rays haven’t had to deal with a Covid-19 outbreak. There was some concern that all Florida teams were going to get hit hard by this virus.
The Marlins were, as they missed several games early on this season. No players or personnel suffered any serious complications, though. The rumor has been that they picked it up in Atlanta at a strip club, not even their home state which has had one of the highest positive rates in the country.
That was just stupidity and could have been prevented, but the Marlins are a young team so not really all that surprising. Upon their return, the Marlins were playing pretty good baseball. And all things considered, a record of 16-16 for 3rd in the NL East isn’t all that bad for this club. The Marlins are in the midst of a rebuilding process, so expecting too much from them isn’t realistic.
With a record of .500, the Marlins are exceeding expectations at this point in the season. They might drop below .500 and stay there, but I wouldn’t put this season into the failure category. In fact, in a 60-game season with an expanded postseason, the Marlins are still in the mix to go to the playoffs.
The Marlins are coming off a 2-1 loss against the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Sixto Sanchez did a terrific job on the hill, though the offense fell silent in Miami. They did just enough for a 3-2 win the day before versus the Jays. Prior to that series, the Rays brought out the brooms for three wins in three games.
They will have to deal with Pablo Lopez of the Marlins, who is one of the more underrated pitchers in the majors in 2020. Rookie Josh Fleming will counter for the Rays at the Trop. Head below for our free Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays pick for September 4, 2020.
Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Betting Odds:
Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays Prediction:
Pablo Lopez would be getting a little more attention if he were pitching on a contender. But playing on a team like the Marlins, at least for this season, only gets you attention when there’s a coronavirus outbreak. That said, Lopez is likely going to get his attention in the coming years. The 24-year-old will be looking for a big contract come his next contract, and he’s done a nice job of justifying a big payday.
Lopez enters Friday with an ERA of 2.10 and 1.17 WHIP. After struggling in his first two seasons, Lopez has looked much better on the hill in Miami. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs in any of his six starts. Lopez should be able to spin another quality start against the Rays in Tampa on Friday night. In his most recent performance, Lopez held the Rays to 2 earned runs through 7 innings of work.
Josh Fleming has made the most out of his promotion to the major leagues. Fleming made his major league debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 23 and was effective. He gave up 2 earned runs against the Jays through 5 innings of play. With the nerves of his first start gone, Fleming turned it up a notch and was in better form versus the Rays last week.
Fleming was strong with no runs conceded across 5.1 innings on the bump. The Rays notched just 3 hits and no walks. His ability to prevent walks in the minors was one of his most impressive feats. The Blue Jays and Rays hit .189 against Fleming in 10.1 innings. This matchup should stay UNDER the total at the Trop on Friday evening.