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Urena, DeSclafani face off in Marlins-Reds series

Sports Xchange
22 Sep 2018, 13:03 GMT+10

MIAMI -- Jose Urena and Anthony DeSclafani, who were both part of the Miami Marlins' organization in 2014, will face each other on Saturday night.

Urena (7-12, 4.21 ERA) signed with the Marlins as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, and he has developed into one of the main arms in the Miami rotation. Saturday will mark his 30th start of the season, a career high.

It hasn't all been glory for Urena, however. After a breakthrough season in 2017 when he went 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA, things have flipped this year, mostly due to a lack of run support.

In fact, Urena's WHIP has improved from 1.273 last year to 1.189 this season.

Urena, who is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his only career start against the Reds (2017), is attempting to finish the 2018 season strong. In his past five starts, he has a 2.16 ERA.

Meanwhile, DeSclafani is just happy to be healthy. He missed all of 2017 because of surgery on his right elbow and started this season on the disabled list because of an oblique strain on his left side.

"It feels great to be out there competing with the guys," DeSclafani told the media earlier this year.

The Marlins traded DeSclafani to the Reds in December 2014, getting pitcher Mat Latos in exchange. DeSclafani hasn't faced the Marlins since 2016, but he is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in the two times he has battled his former team.

On Friday, another former Marlins pitcher, Luis Castillo, dominated Miami by pitching a career-high 8 1/3 innings, not allowing any runs. In two career starts against Miami, Castillo has allowed just one run in 16 1/3 innings.

Miami, however, got the last laugh on Friday as rookie outfielder Isaac Galloway hit a one-out, walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the Marlins to a 1-0 win over the Reds. It was Galloway's first career walk-off hit.

This series, the final one on Miami's 2018 home schedule, is tied at one game apiece.

Friday's low-scoring game was not surprising considering the Marlins are last in the majors in runs scored. The Reds are a middle-of-the-pack offensive team, but that is at least partly explained by their smaller home stadium.

At spacious Marlins Park, things are different, and indeed the Reds were held to three hits on Friday.

In games this season in which the Reds have accumulated three or fewer hits, they are 0-11.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have the worst record in the National League and are simply trying to find out who can play and who can't. Their lineup includes rookies such as third baseman Brian Anderson and outfielders Austin Dean, Mag Sierra, Lewis Brinson and Galloway.

In addition, another large group of Marlins hitters are still trying to establish themselves in the majors, including first baseman Peter O'Brien, shortstop JT Riddle and outfielder Rafael Ortega.

Miami also had several of their top minor-leaguers at Marlins Park on Friday, allowing them to soak in the atmosphere.

"I think we've done a nice job this year of blending the minor-league guys with the major-league guys," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "In spring training, we did a lot of that, (and) it's nice to let them have a look at this ballpark."

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