Preview: Marlins try to take series from visiting Phillies

TV: FOX Sports Florida

Time: Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m.


MIAMI -- Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was blunt when asked about rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta, who will start Wednesday in the rubber game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

"His first couple of starts … they weren't good," Mackanin said before the Phillies beat the Marlins 5-2 on Tuesday night. "Then, he all of a sudden turned it around. He started throwing strikes with all his pitches. He was more composed."

Pivetta (2-5, 5.63 ERA), who has yet to face the Marlins, is a 24-year-old Canadian. He was the Washington Nationals' fourth-round draft pick in 2013, fresh out of a New Mexico junior college.

He made his major league debut this year on April 30. In his first six starts, he never went past five innings. However, in his most recent six starts, he has gone at least six innings four times.

"I told him for his second start, 'Slow your head down,'" Mackanin said. "And he started doing that. I've told players, 'The sooner you convince yourself you belong here, the better off you are.'"

On Wednesday, Pivetta will have to convince himself he belongs against a Marlins lineup that has three batters with more than 20 homers each, including All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in the outfield corners and Home Run Derby participant Justin Bour at first base.

Stanton, who has 29 homers, tops in the National League, should threaten his career high of 37 long balls, which he has accomplished twice.

This year, he has one homer per every 11.8 at-bats, the second-best rate of his career.

His best year in terms of homers per at-bat occurred in 2015, when he went deep 27 times or once every 10.3 at-bats. However, he sustained a season-ending hand injury on June 26 that year, curtailing what could have been a monster overall performance.

Stanton hit two homers against the Phillies on Monday and one on Tuesday. On his first homer of the series, he dented the left field scoreboard.

"It wasn't hit hard enough," Stanton said in a light-hearted moment after Miami's 6-5 win over the Phillies on Monday. "I'll take some lights out next time -- maybe the whole thing."

More scoreboard-denting homers by the Miami offense would be just fine with veteran right-hander Dan Straily (7-4, 3.32), who will start for the Marlins on Wednesday.

Straily has had good success against Philadelphia. In two career starts against the Phillies, he is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA.

Straily, Miami's most consistent starter this year, battled through a right hand injury in his previous start. He threw a bullpen session on Monday, and the Marlins pronounced him ready to go.

Wednesday's game could be a good opportunity for Marlins manager Don Mattingly to give infielder Miguel Rojas his first start since he came off the disabled list after recovering from a fracture right thumb.

Rojas, a gifted defender who is having a breakout offensive season, said it may take him a little while before he can get in the flow again.

"After two months being out, this has felt like the first time being called up to the big leagues," Rojas said. "I'm never going to take these moments for granted.

"I feel like I need to show (Marlins coaches) I'm ready to go and ready to help this team win."