Houston (53-67) at Miami (60-60)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 20, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Florida Marlins may be at the .500 mark, but they are seeing steady development from their top prospects.

A crop of talented rookies looks to lead the Marlins their fourth straight win Friday as they open a three-game series with the visiting Houston Astros.

Florida (60-60) boasts three of the most promising rookies in the game in Gaby Sanchez(notes), Logan Morrison(notes) and Mike Stanton(notes).

Stanton earned player of the week honors last week, hitting .583 with four homers and eight RBIs. The 20-year-old outfielder has 14 home runs in his first 59 games in the big leagues.

Stanton’s teammate in the outfield, Morrison has shown potential in his 20 major league games. He’s batting .382 during a nine-game hitting streak, and has had at least one hit in all but two games he’s played.

“He’s going to be a very consistent major league hitter,” manager Edwin Rodriguez told the Marlins’ official website of Morrison. “He’s been showing that, pretty much his whole minor league career. He’s been very consistent and I’ve been very impressed with the way he’s been taking his at-bats here in the major leagues against very good pitching.”

Sanchez hit a three-run homer Thursday night and another rookie, Alex Sanabia(notes) pitched 7 2-3 innings of four-hit ball as Florida beat Pittsburgh 4-2.

Florida’s young talent should continue to benefit from the example of veteran infielder Wes Helms(notes), who signed a one-year contract extension Thursday.

“I want to be a leader for these young guys,” Helms said. “With (Mike) Stanton and (Logan) Morrison coming back next year, for all these young guys - (Gaby) Sanchez and the rest - just to help them mature another year, and I think that could really benefit them a lot. They are on the way to being superstars, and I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of watching them grow and helping them as much as I can.”

However, Florida will be without catcher Ronny Paulino(notes), who was suspended 50 games Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Paulino says he used a dietary pill to control his weight this season, and recently learned it contained a banned substance.

He batted .259 with four homers and 37 RBIs in 91 games this year, his sixth in the majors.

J.A. Happ(notes) (3-1, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for Houston (53-67) on Friday.

The left-hander is 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in four starts in an Astros uniform since coming over in the Roy Oswalt(notes) trade. He gave up two runs and three hits Sunday in six innings of an 8-2 victory over Pittsburgh.

Happ is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in two career starts versus the Marlins.

Anibal Sanchez(notes) (9-8, 3.31) will get the start for Florida.

The right-hander gave up two runs in six innings Sunday as the Marlins fell 2-0 to Cincinnati. It marked the fourth consecutive loss in which Florida’s offense supported Sanchez with either one run or none.

Sanchez is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA in three career starts against Houston.

Florida dropped two of three at Houston from April 20-22, but is 6-1 at home versus the Astros since 2008.

This contest opens a 10-game road trip for the Astros, who completed a 6-4 homestand Thursday by beating the New York Mets 3-2.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Happ Pit vs. A. Sánchez Det
6-4 Record 13-12
3.40 ERA 3.55
70 K 157
47 BB 70
1.37 WHIP 1.34


Friday, Aug 20