May has been kind to the Miami Marlins, as the club has climbed out of last place in its division and is suddenly playing like a contender.
The same cannot be said for the Colorado Rockies.
The Marlins look to continue their surge and move a season-best four games over .500 in Monday night's series opener with the slumping Rockies.
After finishing April with an 8-14 record and six games out of first place in the NL East, Miami (22-19) is a major league-best 14-5 in May.
"We never give up, we never are going to give in," winning pitcher Josh Johnson told the Marlins' official website after Sunday's 5-3 victory over Cleveland. "As nitty and gritty as we are, there are a lot of characteristics on this team that we haven't had in the past. We'll do whatever it takes to win - defense, timely hitting."
Giancarlo Stanton is leading Miami's offense this month, having hit seven of his season's eight homers to go with a .310 average, 15 RBIs and a 1.078 OPS. Stanton would seem to have a good chance of continuing his hot hitting in the opener of a season-high 10-game homestand Monday considering he is batting .353 with five homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.303 OPS in 10 career games against the Rockies.
The Marlins and Colorado split six games last season with each team taking two of three at home.
The Rockies (15-25) were 11-11 at the end of April, 4 1/2 games out of first in the NL West, but have gone a major league-worst 4-14 this month to fall well off the pace. They arrive in Miami coming off Sunday's 6-4 loss to Seattle, their four straight defeat.
"We are in a helluva rut right now,'' manager Jim Tracy said. "We are going to have to dig our ourselves out. Nobody likes it. It's no fun to go through it. There is no finger pointing going on.''
Carlos Gomez, who homered among his three hits Sunday, has been one of the few bright spots for Colorado this month, batting .306 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He is 4 for 6 with a triple lifetime against scheduled starter Mark Buehrle (3-4, 3.17 ERA), who will square off with another veteran left-handed pitcher in Jamie Moyer (2-3, 4.20).
Buehrle, who ranks fourth among active lefties in career victories, earned his 164th win Wednesday in Atlanta, yielding four runs and six hits in six innings as the Marlins prevailed 8-4. He is 2-0 with a 2.91 ERA this month.
Buehrle didn't receive a decision in his only career appearance against the Rockies last June, yielding two runs on a pair of solo homers and five other hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win for the Chicago White Sox.
The 49-year-old Moyer, who leads all active lefties with 269 wins, earned his first victory his last time out since April 17, when he broke Jack Quinn's mark becoming the oldest pitcher in major league baseball to win a game. Against Arizona on Wednesday, Moyer allowed one run and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-1 victory.
A game against Miami used to almost always result in a win for Moyer, but that hasn't been the case lately. The 25-year veteran has recorded a 4.13 ERA in losing his last four starts versus the Marlins since July 16, 2009, after going 13-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his first 15 outings against them.
Moyer has already pitched in more ballparks than any other player since 1921, and Marlins Park will become the 50th stadium he has appeared in when he takes the mound Monday.
- Miami Marlins
- Colorado Rockies
- Jamie Moyer