Two of the most promising young arms in the National League will bring plenty of flair to the first of a three-game set between the Marlins and Dodgers on Monday.
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, 21, will try to slow the Dodgers' historic run and keep them from picking up their 11th victory in 12 games. It's a Dodgers lineup that looks like an entirely different beast today than it did May 10, when Fernandez allowed three runs over six innings and struck out seven.
But Fernandez has made strides of his own since mid-May, the proud owner of a 1.65 ERA who has held opponents to a .167 average since June 1, both marks best in the Majors over that stretch. And the right-hander hasn't exactly stumbled under the spotlight.
"That's always a sign of a great player or a great pitcher -- can you rise to the occasion?" Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Can you take it to another level, on a big stage? I think he's proven he can do that. It's something he didn't have to prove to us, because we've seen it. But he probably feels like he has to prove that. That's good. That hunger is what is going to make him a superstar -- hungry to be the best."
But Fernandez likely won't have much room for error as Los Angeles puts its own rookie stud on the mound in 26-year-old Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu will eye his sixth consecutive win and look to build on his .800 winning percentage, the highest all-time for a Dodgers rookie.
A solo home run was his lone misstep in a win over the Mets on Tuesday, as he allowed just five hits and one run over seven innings.
"I'm not sure he's getting enough credit around here," Dodgers outfielder Skip Schumaker said following Ryu's last start. "But we have some pretty good pitchers on our team, so I get it. He's been just so good and so consistent every single start. It's just a lot of fun to play behind because he throws so many strikes."
Even after losing the series finale in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Sunday, the Dodgers show few signs of slowing down after posting the second-best 50-game stretch since 1900. They took the first two from the Phillies to complete their first 10-game winning streak in seven years, and the boys in blue haven't dropped a series since June 16.
The Marlins will try to make the most of what remains of their 10-game homestand after avoiding the sweep with a 6-5 win over the Giants on Sunday afternoon.
Dodgers: Uribe's bat picking up speed
Lost in the pandemonium of Puig-mania and an MVP-caliber season from ace Clayton Kershaw has been the steady production of Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe.
Uribe went 3-for-3 and finished a triple short of the cycle Saturday, driving home three runs in a 5-0 win over Philadelphia. Uribe, who did not play Sunday, has a hit in seven of eight games and is hitting .500 with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs since Aug. 9.
Uribe barely broke the Mendoza Line in his first two seasons in Los Angeles and he's already posted his best year in a Dodgers uniform with seven homers, 35 RBIs and a .275 average.
Marlins: Yelich showing big league potential
He's less than a month into his big league career, but Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich is already finding his groove.
Yelich, one of Miami's top prospects before his July 23 callup, has 22 hits in August, the most among Major league rookies. After finishing 0-for-4 with a walk Sunday, he's hitting .328 with two doubles, a triple and a homer in 16 games this month.
Yelich, 21, went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his Major League debut before going 8-for-37 and striking out 11 times in the first nine games of his career.
• Fernandez has allowed two runs or fewer in his last six starts, going 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA over that span.
• In a May 11 start vs. the Marlins at Dodger Stadium, Ryu allowed only five hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.
• Logan Morrison has a six-game hitting streak, which matches a season high.