DENVER -- The Miami Marlins open a three-game series Friday against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field with Ichiro Suzuki on the cusp of history.
Suzuki is two hits shy of 3,000 but has gone hitless in his past 10 at-bats. Ichiro, the Marlins' fourth outfielder, has started two of Miami's past 13 games because of the Marlins' formidable outfield starters -- Christian Yelich, Marcel Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton.
The three-game series with the Rockies concludes a six-game road trip for the Marlins, who open a six-game homestand Monday. Miami manager Don Mattingly said he wanted Ichiro to reach the 3,000-hit milestone when the Marlins were home, but he's been mostly pinch-hitting because the three starting outfielders have been well and the Marlins (57-51) are tied with St. Louis for the second wild-card spot -- three games ahead of Colorado.
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"We go back to the context of winning, and that's where Ichiro fits into this thing perfectly," Mattingly said. "I don't think he wants me to just put him in there to get this thing done and sacrifice the team when you've got somebody else that's going good."
The left-handed hitting Ichiro is likely to be on the bench Friday when left-hander Jorge De La Rosa starts for the Rockies. De La Rosa is 7-7 with a 5.51 ERA and earned his 100th career win in his last start Saturday at the Mets when he gave up two runs and six hits in six innings as the Rockies won 7-2.
In nine starts since moving back into the rotation June 14, De La Rosa is 5-3 with a 3.54 ERA.
David Phelps, who is 5-5 with a 2.65 ERA, starts for the Marlins. He threw 55 pitches on Saturday while working 2 2/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis and will be making his first start after 50 relief appearances this season as the Marlins try to move him into the rotation to stabilize their No. 5 spot. Phelps will be on a limit of about 70-to-75 pitches when he faces the Rockies in his 60th career start.
While the Marlins wait to celebrate with Ichiro when he makes history, the Rockies are concerned with more mundane matters, namely their depth at shortstop.
Rookie Trevor Story is done for the season after undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. In his absence, the Rockies planned to have Daniel Descalso, Cristhian Adames and Rafael Ynoa, who was recalled when Story was placed on the disabled list, handle the position.
However, Descalso suffered a left shoulder contusion while playing left field Thursday and had to leave the game after the third inning. He stumbled making a catch on drive hit by Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit the wall with his neck and shoulder.
When he addressed the media after the game, manager Walt Weiss said he had not talked with trainer Keith Dugger about Descalso.
"But he was having a hard time swinging the bat, so I had to get him out of there," Weiss said. "It didn't look real good. He kind of got folded up there against the wall. Any time a guy runs into the wall and you see his neck get in a position like that, it's concerning."
The Rockies on Friday will have to evaluate Descalso and determine if and when he can play shortstop.
"We're a little nicked up right now," Weiss said. "It's not really a position that we can take on any more (adversity), but if that's the case, we'll deal with it. We'll be fine, just like we have been."