MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - INSIDE PITCH

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins, who started the day 2 1/2 games back in the National League wild-card chase, couldn't afford to lose Wednesday to the worst team in baseball, the Texas Rangers.

But that's what they did.

The Marlins' 5-4 loss to the Rangers put somewhat of a damper on an otherwise strong 6-3 homestand.

Now the Marlins hit the road to face another lost team -- the Colorado Rockies -- who own the worst record in the National League.

The Marlins are hoping to dominate the Rockies because, after that, the schedule gets tougher -- three games at the Angels and three at the Braves to close the month.

"We've just got to be solid," Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton said of the upcoming road trip. "Colorado was really good early but has fallen off of late. It's important to get those three.

"Then we've got the Angels and Atlanta, so we know how they are. It will be huge."


MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 63-63

STREAK: Lost one

NEXT: Marlins (RHP Henderson Alvarez, 9-5, 2.43 ERA) at Rockies (LHP Franklin Morales, 5-6, 5.04 ERA)


--RHP Henderson Alvarez will make his 24th start of the season on Friday when the Marlins hit the road to take on the worst team in the National League, the Colorado Rockies. Alvarez, an All-Star this year, is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his only appearance against the Rockies. That was a start that lasted just three innings after he gave up six runs, including three earned. Alvarez this season is the second-toughest pitcher in the majors to homer against, but he has been much better at home (1.46 ERA) than on the road (3.62).

--RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-8) won just one game since June 23, and things didn't get any better Wednesday against the Rangers. Eovaldi allowed nine hits and five runs, four earned, in five innings. His struggles at home continue. He entered Wednesday with a 4.66 ERA at home this year and 4.10 for his career. He is better on the road than at home, where he has a 6-17 win loss record.

--LHP Brad Hand is at a crossroads. The Marlins had not yet announced their starter for Sunday, and it had been well publicized that they were trying to decide between Hand and RHP Brad Penny. Hand, though, was used in relief Wednesday, meaning Penny is the likely starter for Sunday. Hand would prefer to start, but the numbers suggest that he has produced the same mediocre results in either role. In 11 starts this season, Hand has a 4.57 ERA. In 14 relief appearances, he has a 4.58 ERA.

--2B Donovan Solano, who committed his first error of the season Tuesday, was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday and went 0-for-5 with the game-ending strikeout. Second base has been a trouble spot for the Marlins this year, with seven players starting there. Injured 2B Derek Dietrich has the most starts with 43. Solano is next with 30.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We're not afraid to make things interesting. That's just the way the season has gone. We need to keep that up, but we can't wait until the ninth inning every time." -- Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton said after a loss to Texas on Thursday.