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Marlins, Giants starters aim to improve on ugly ERAs

May 29, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb (38) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in the third inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Friday night pitching matchup between the San Francisco Giants and the host Miami Marlins features a pair of struggling right-handers.

San Francisco will start Alex Cobb (3-2, 5.73 ERA). Miami will counter with Elieser Hernandez (2-5, 5.77).

Miami won the opener of the four-game series 3-0 on Thursday night, and the Giants will try to break a two-game losing skid on Friday.

Cobb, a 34-year-old veteran who is in his first year with the Giants, is 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins. He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts in Miami.

The Giants are just 4-4 when Cobb takes the mound, but he is coming off his first quality start of the year. He allowed two runs in six innings during a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Last year, Cobb had a 3.76 ERA in 18 starts with the Los Angeles Angels. He had a 24.9 percent strikeout rate, an 8.4-walk rate, a 37.6 percent hard-hit rate, a 27.8 percent line-drive rate and a 53.3 percent ground-ball rate.

This year, his numbers in all those categories are actually better — 28.7 percent strikeouts, 7.3 walks, 30.4 hard-hit rate, 18.1 percent line drives and 62.9 percent on what every pitcher wants, ground balls.

However, on balls in play, opponents are hitting an astonishing .402 against him as compared to .316 last year.

Hernandez is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four career appearances against the Giants, including one start. In 45 appearances in Miami — including 24 starts — Hernandez is 8-11 with a 3.83 ERA.

At issue with Hernandez is what happens the third time around a batting order as opponent OPS rises about 400 points. His career ERA is under 4.00 for the first four innings. But his ERA jumps to 7.09 in the fifth frame, 7.64 in the sixth and 9.49 in the seventh.

On Friday, Hernandez will face a Giants lineup that has been battling injuries almost all season. San Francisco hitters currently on the injured list include first baseman Brandon Belt (knee) and outfielders Steven Duggar (oblique), Austin Slater (wrist) and LaMonte Wade Jr. (knee).

Designated hitter/outfielder Darin Ruf is on the bereavement list following the unexpected death of his father.

That’s four of the Giants’ top six outfielders missing from the lineup.

In addition, third baseman Evan Longoria (shoulder) and shortstop Brandon Crawford (illness) were absent from Thursday’s starting lineup. Crawford was a late scratch.

“We all know what kind of team we are when we have everyone in there,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “We can withstand a player or two going down. But we’ve been missing like half our team.”

Miami’s lineup is also being impacted by injuries as outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper (intercostal), third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson (back) and third baseman Joey Wendle (hamstring) are all out.

Cooper, who was not in Thursday’s starting lineup, is available for reserve duty. Anderson and Wendle are on the injured list.

“(Anderson) keeps getting better every day,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “(Wendle’s) injury keeps lingering. Hamstrings are tricky.”

–Field Level Media