MLB: Guardians turn to Ben Lively in rematch vs. Marlins

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As Ben Lively tries to continue his surprisingly successful season, the right-hander also needs to help the Cleveland Guardians end a minor rut.

Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins are aiming to string together some wins.

Lively will look to keep the visiting Guardians from a third straight defeat when they continue a three-game set with the Marlins on Saturday night.

The American League Central-leading Guardians are 4-5 since winning nine straight games from May 17-26. After falling 4-3 at home to Kansas City on Thursday, Cleveland couldn’t hold a two-run lead and dropped a 3-2 decision in the series opener against Miami on Friday.

The Guardians have lost consecutive games for first time since a three-game slide against the Chicago White Sox from May 9-11.

“It’s frustrating. We’re all frustrated about this,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said.

The Guardians’ vaunted bullpen, among the majors’ best with a 2.39 ERA this season, allowed the tie-breaking run during the eighth inning in each of the last two games after going five straight without yielding any runners to score.

Meanwhile, Lively (5-2, 2.84 ERA) hopes to put the Guardians in position to bounce back.

Amid a career season, the journeyman right-hander has won four straight starts and owns a 2.45 ERA in the last three. Lively allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2 win over Washington last weekend.

“Just staying ready and hoping by fastball is there,” Lively, 32, said about what has worked for him this season while pitching for his fourth team since breaking into the majors in 2017.

Lively is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his lone career encounter vs. Miami.

He’ll face a Marlins lineup that did all its scoring Friday with two outs. Bryan De La Cruz and Josh Bell hit back-to-back solo homers in the third inning, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. added an RBI single in the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie.

The Marlins, who halted a four-game skid, have won back-to-back games on two occasions during their current 6-7 stretch.

However, Miami’s bullpen has not allowed a run in 18 innings over the last three games. After Friday starter Ryan Weathers left after 2 1/3 innings with a finger issue, five Marlins relievers held the Guardians to two hits.

“Just keep going. Keep doing what we just did (on Friday),” Miami reliever Tanner Scott told Bally Sports Florida. Scott earned the win Friday with 1 2/3 innings of work. He has not allowed an earned run in 18 innings over his last 18 appearances.

Ex-Guardian Bell is 16-for-37 with seven extra-base hits and four RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.

Right-hander Roddery Munoz (1-1, 5.17 ERA) is slated to be recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville to start Saturday’s game. He last pitched in the majors May 6, when he allowed six runs on seven hits — including four homers — and four walks in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Munoz has yielded six homers in his three starts with Miami this season.

Cleveland star Jose Ramirez went 0-for-3 on Friday. He’s not gone without a hit in back-to-back games since May 11-12.

–Field Level Media

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