If Luis Arraez doesn't get two hits in a game, Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker is tempted to run on the field and take the temperature of his star second baseman.
On Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals, Arraez will go for a fifth straight multi-hit game as the host Marlins aim fortheir sixth consecutive win and second sweep in a row.
Arraez, who has played in 57 of Miami's 62 games this season, leads the major leagues with a .401 batting average. In his four straight multi-hit games, he is batting .706 (12-for-17).
"It doesn't matter where I put him in the in lineup -- leadoff, second, third or anywhere else," Schumaker said. "He just wants to hit. He's so much fun to watch."
Arraez, an All-Star acquired in an offseason trade with the Minnesota Twins, said he is thrilled with what is happening so far this season, especially Miami's five-game win streak.
"It's an honor to see the scoreboard when I'm batting .400," Arraez said in Spanish. "Things are going well for me, and we are winning, which is most important."
On Wednesday, the Marlins will start right-hander Edward Cabrera (4-4, 4.50 ERA). Cabrera, 25, has never faced the Royals.
The Marlins are 7-5 when starting Cabrera this season, including two straight wins. He is 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA in five home starts this year, but in seven road starts, he is 0-4 with a 5.91 ERA.
The Marlins, who are 12-2 against American League foes this year, fortified their bullpen on Tuesday when they brought reliever A.J. Puk back from the injured list. The left-hander, who had been sidelined due to left elbow nerve irritation, is 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA and six saves.
The Royals, meanwhile, are set to start Jordan Lyles on Wednesday. It has been an epic struggle this year for the right-hander, who is 0-9 with a 6.89 ERA.
The Royals are 0-12 when starting Lyles. However, he offered a hopeful sign in his most recent start, going five innings and allowing just two hits, one walk and one run on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. Lyles struck out eight.
"He threw the ball great," Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. "He worked the ball up and down in the zone. It was a positive start."
Lyles, a 32-year-old veteran, has been durable, starting at least 30 games in each of the previous two years. However, after tying his career high in wins last season (12-11, 4.42 ERA), he now leads the majors in losses.
In seven career appearances against the Marlins, including five starts, he is 2-1 with a 5.22 ERA.
As for Kansas City's bullpen, one reliever to watch is Carlos Hernandez, a 26-year-old Venezuela native.
Hernandez (0-3, 4.45) has lost nine straight decisions dating back to September 2021. Even so, the Royals are bullish on Hernandez, who this week flashed a fastball that topped out at 99.7 mph.
"We think so highly of his future," Quatraro said. "We think he will have the ability to pitch toward the back end of our bullpen."
--Field Level Media