CLEVELAND -- The Miami Marlins are reeling and the Cleveland Indians are dealing. On Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field, they will meet for the final game of their three-game series.
In winning the first two games of the series, the Indians have outscored the Marlins 14-5. Cleveland's two starting pitchers -- Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer -- combined for a 1.72 ERA in the two games.
In Cleveland's 8-3 win on Saturday, Bauer gave up three runs and three hits in the first inning and no runs and no hits in the next seven innings, facing the minimum 21 batters.
"That was really impressive," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Bauer. "You look up in the first inning and think we might be into our bullpen early, and then he (Bauer) pitches into the ninth."
It's September, the Indians are in first place, and they are hot. They've won five games in a row, and the win Saturday pushed them to a season-high 22 games above .500 (78-56). In the American League Central race, the Indians' lead over second-place Detroit is up to 5 1/2 games.
The Marlins, meanwhile, are going in the opposite direction. They've lost seven of their last eight games and are 1-5 in the first six games of this seven-game trip to New York, where they played the Mets and Cleveland.
The Marlins are trying to stay in the hunt for a wild-card berth in the National League, but the losses are starting to pile up.
Saturday's loss dropped the Marlins' record to 68-68. It's the first time they have been at .500 since they were 12-12 on May 1. They have lost 12 of their last 18 road games, dating to Aug. 1, and the Marlins have been held to three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 13 games. Their record in those 10 games is 2-8.
"I'm not concerned with the guys' mindset, but I am concerned with the results," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We're at the point where we have to win every game. The guys are playing hard. They have all year. But we've got to get it going again."
The Marlins will try to get it turned around Sunday. The pitching matchup will be Cleveland's Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.88 ERA) against Miami's Tom Koehler (9-10, 4.02).
Salazar, who was selected to the American League All-Star team, was glad to see the end of August. In four starts in August, he was 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA. However, his last start in August was a good one, even though he was the losing pitcher in a 2-1 loss to Texas. In that game, Salazar pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks. This will be his first career appearance against the Marlins.
Koehler's last win came Aug. 9. In four starts since then, he is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA. This will be Koehler's first career appearance against the Indians.