MIAMI — San Francisco Giants rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez will celebrate a homecoming on Wednesday night when he faces the Miami Marlins for the first time.
Suarez Chukwuma Okorafor Color Rush Jersey , who was a local star at Columbus High as well as the University of Miami, said he will try to approach the game as a business trip.
“I will probably cherish the moment while I’m warming up,” Suarez told the Sun-Sentinel. “But once I step on the mound, it’s game time.”
The 25-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.06 ERA in nine starts this season. His slider eats up lefty batters, holding them to a .208 batting average with one homer and a .562 OPS. Righty batters are hitting .303 with seven homers and an .870 OPS, however.
Suarez was the Giants’ second-round pick in 2015. He started this season as the Giants’ No. 10 prospect overall and No. 2 among lefties. Some scouts had projected him as a two-pitch reliever with his fastball-slider mix. But, largely due to injuries to Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, Suarez is getting his shot in the rotation.
So far, the Giants are 3-6 when Suarez starts, but they have won two in a row with him on the mound.
Suarez has two quality starts this year — both of them at home. In five road starts this year, Suarez is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
The Marlins will counter Suarez with another rookie left-hander, Caleb Smith (5-6, 3.70 ERA) Authentic Thomas Vanek Jersey , who made his major league debut last year on July 17 with the New York Yankees.
This will be the 16th major league start for Smith, 26, who leads National League rookies with 79 strikeouts. In his 13 starts this season, he is averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings, which is improved from his 8.7 stat line of 2017. His walk rate of 4.1 is high but yet improved from his 4.8 figure of last year.
But perhaps the biggest improvement for Smith has been cutting his hits per nine innings from 10.1 to 6.6.
The Marlins are 6-7 when they hand the ball to Smith, who has four quality starts this season. In addition, the Marlins have won three of the past four Smith starts. Smith has pitched well at Marlins Park, going 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA in six starts. That compares well to his 3-4, 4.41 mark on the road.
Over his past seven starts, Smith — who has never faced the Giants — is 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA.
Neither Suarez (92.1 mph) or Smith (92.7 mph) is overpowering in terms of their average velocity. But Suarez, with plus control and a plus slider, distinguished himself in the minors, going 10-10 with a 3.21 ERA last year between Double A and Triple A.
That success helped earn him a shot at the majors, and now he gets to pitch in front of his home crowd.
“Being able to pitch against the Marlins should be fun 49ers Weston Richburg Jersey ,” Suarez said. “I’ve been watching the Marlins since I was little.”
Suarez will be trying to stop the Giants’ two-game losing streak. Miami has won the first two games of this series, including Tuesday’s 3-1 victory in which four Marlins pitchers held the Giants to three hits.
Marlins shortstop JT Riddle had the go-ahead hit, a two-run double, and second baseman Starlin Castro went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who entered this series red hot, has gone 0-for-6 with two RBIs in the two games. He is still hitting an impressive .329.
Marcedes Lewis wasn't sure if the Green Bay Packers were the right fit for him. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tight end Jimmy Graham made him feel at home at Lambeau Field.
Lewis visited Green Bay last week thinking he wanted to explore his options during his first stint as a free agent following 12 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He received calls from other teams, but he said that the Packers were the most persistent so he made Lambeau his first stop.
He never made another visit.
"This was the only place I took a trip ... I took my trip, and Aaron was here in the locker room. I started talking to him," Lewis said Thursday. "I started talking to Jimmy and I kind of made my decision that day.
"When I came down here, I didn't expect to sign anything," Lewis added. "I was just coming down here to get a feel. Once I saw Aaron and Jimmy, it was a no-brainer after that."
Lewis, 34, was released by the Jaguars in March after the team had picked up his one-year Lamar Jackson Jersey Elite , $3.5 million option in February. His signing filled a glaring need - a blocking tight end - and gives the Packers another veteran at the position with Graham, a five-time Pro Bowler, and Lance Kendricks.
"I don't think we've had this much experience at the tight end position in my time here," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who called Lewis a "prime-time player."
"An on-the-line tight end is something we haven't had a lot of, as far as the way we've played over the years," McCarthy added. "He can block any defensive end on the league, and that's definitely a huge asset."
Lewis, who said he felt he got a "raw deal" from the Jaguars, started 157 games for Jacksonville. He has 375 career receptions, including 24 for 318 yards and five touchdowns last year.
Still, Lewis hasn't caught more than 25 passes in a season since 2012, when he had 52 receptions. His best season came in 2010, when he earned his lone Pro Bowl selection by catching a career-high 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-6 Harold Landry Color Rush Jersey , 269-pound Lewis said he takes the "blocking tight end" moniker as a compliment, but added that "I pride myself on being a really good all-around tight end, whatever it is that I'm called upon to do."
It's the type of attitude that Rodgers loves to hear. Lewis' ability to help slow down pass-rushers should help an offensive line that has questions on the right side.
"Obviously, I'm a really good blocker, but don't get it mistaken. I didn't come here to be a tackle. ... Be on the other side of Jimmy doing some good things," he said. "It's going to be trouble out there."
Graham's strength is making tough catches. Kendricks provides experienced depth.
"Jimmy's not known as a blocking tight end, but he's willing. He will get in the way. He will punch you in the mouth," Lewis said. "So it's going to be interesting. We get in that personnel with three tight ends on the field and (defenses) have to leave base on the field, it's not going to be good."