As the Marlins close out their 2013 season, they'll do so by mixing in a bevy of youngsters getting their first taste of the Majors. Not that playing prospects is new for Miami this year, but for the callups, the final contests represent an opportunity to prove to themselves and the organization that they can compete at the highest level.
"For these guys, every at-bat is big, every inning is big, and there is still a lot at stake," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We're trying to finish strong. We're talked about it over the last few weeks. The energy is good. These guys are joking around, they're having fun, and hopefully we can win some of these ballgames."
After taking the opener, the Marlins will try to capture the series victory and avoid their 100th loss of the year on Tuesday when they host the Phillies in the second game of a three-game set at Marlins Park.
Taking the mound for Miami will be 23-year-old right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who, like many of his teammates, is attempting to make a lasting impression on the club heading into the offseason. Alvarez opened the season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and has thus only thrown 86 2/3 innings, so every start down the stretch is crucial for him.
He last pitched on Thursday at Washington, where he gave up three runs in five innings and took the loss.
Opposing Alvarez for the Phillies will be Zach Miner, who is making not only his second consecutive start against the Marlins, but also his second start of the year. The right-hander faced Miami on Wednesday, working three scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. He made 13 appearances out of the Philadelphia bullpen before replacing the injured Kyle Kendrick in the rotation.
Marlins: Cishek having historic year following rough start
After posting a 5.25 ERA in April, Marlins closer Steve Cishek finds himself riding a string of 27 consecutive converted saves, matching a Marlins record initially set by Todd Jones in 2005.
"The way things were going in April, it didn't look like we were going to do too much," Cishek said. "I got a chance to pick up a groove. … I didn't imagine getting a team record or this many, or anything like that."
Entering Tuesday's game, Cishek has a 2.43 ERA in 66 appearances. He worked a scoreless ninth on Monday.
"He's been so solid," manager Mike Redmond said. "I've talked about it all year. He got off to a little bit of a slow start. It wasn't his fault. It was more of the fact we had trouble getting him in ballgames and getting him enough work.
Phillies: Kendrick to the DL to make room for Bastardo
The Phillies placed Kendrick on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of a right shoulder issue. Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said they made the move because they have to remove left-hander Antonio Bastardo from the restricted list on the final day of the season, and they need a spot for him on the 40-man roster.
That means the Phillies could put Kendrick on the 60-day DL. Amaro also said Bastardo, who is serving a 50-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, had a left knee issue that earlier required a PRP injection, but he will pitch in winter ball.
• Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is working out in Clearwater, Fla., but is not expected to see action in the Florida instructional league.
• The Phillies are just 5-20 in their last 25 road games.
• Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who underwent season-ending surgery on his left thumb in August, took batting practice on the field on Monday afternoon. Ozuna has been hitting for a few days, and he is progressing well with his recovery.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.