The Marlins are getting their ace back on Saturday, when Henderson Alvarez takes the mound for the first time since July 29. Alvarez, who stepped up as Miami's No. 1 starter after Jose Fernandez went down in May, has been on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
His return to the pitching staff couldn't be more timely, with the Marlins eight games back in the National League East and their next seven games coming against teams with three of the four worst records in baseball. Miami will need Alvarez's electric stuff if it intends to continue its playoff push against Arizona at Marlins Park.
"He looks great, so whatever he had is gone and he's ready to go," manager Mike Redmond said. "And a perfect time. We need him. We were all hoping that this was a short-time deal, and it looks like it is, so that's big for us."
Alvarez, who will carry an 8-5 record and a 2.48 ERA into Saturday's outing, said he wasn't 100 percent comfortable, but it's nothing he can't deal with. Throwing 137 2/3 innings in a season can take that kind of toll on anyone's arm.
"The rest has definitely helped me," the All-Star said. "I rested my whole arm and now I get to start again. I'm just glad I can come back, and I hope I'll stay healthy so I can finish out strong."
His Saturday night counterpart, Wade Miley, will need to cut down on the home runs if he's going to finish 2014 strong. Miley enters the game third in the league in home runs allowed, with 22.
His last time out on Sunday, he went six innings against the Rockies, allowing three runs and two more home runs. The Arizona offense handed him a lead twice, and in each of the ensuing innings, Miley fell victim to the long ball.
Marlins: Leading Majors in one-run games
With their league-leading 10 walk-off wins this season, the Marlins have provided their fans with plenty of thrills. But even more promising for their playoff push is their success in one-run games.
In 2013, the Marlins finished 24-35 in games decided by a single run, the second-worst mark among NL teams, and fifth-worst in the Majors. But this year, they are 30-18, and also lead the Majors with a 9-2 record in one-run games since the All-Star break.
The 30 one-run wins are tied for fourth most in a single season in Marlins history, equaling those of the 2009 and '03 seasons. The franchise record for most one-run wins is 32, which happened in 2000 and 1997.
"It shows the resiliency of our ballclub and the fact that we've gotten guys on base and we've gotten them into scoring position," Redmond said. "It's one thing to get 'em into scoring position, but you still gotta get the big hit. We've had a lot of different contributors get those big hits. When you win one-run games, that's a difference. It's executing guys into scoring position and then getting a hit. And, you know, being able to stop them. I think our bullpen has done a great job being able to minimize damage. ... It all kind of works together."
D-backs: Lamb gets rest, chance to process first week in bigs
D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb was out of the starting lineup Friday as manager Kirk Gibson wants to give the rookie a chance to process his first seven games in the big leagues.
"He's getting to where he's played enough games and he's starting to understand that he has things that he's thinking about that he wasn't thinking about before he got here," Gibson said. "I think it's important for him to have him be able to have a break, sit on the bench, talk about some things and see things from a different perspective."
Gibson believes that the best way to bring a young player along is to give him a series of starts and then a day off to take it all in, rather than just run him out there day in and day out.
Lamb, ranked No. 5 among D-backs prospects according to MLB.com, was 1-for-10 to open his career and then had four hits in his next 15 at-bats while working with hitting coach Turner Ward.
• Miami's Donovan Solano has a hit in each one of his eight career games against the D-backs. The second baseman is hitting .448 (13-for-29) with three doubles and six RBIs vs. Arizona.
• Injured D-backs shortstop Chris Owings took live batting practice against rehabbing lefty Matt Reynolds on Friday at Salt River Fields.
Owings has been on the disabled list since June 26 with a left shoulder injury.
"He's going to start to progress pretty rapidly into games, I would guess," Gibson said. "It's taken him a long time, but he feels perfect, I was told."
• Arizona's Daniel Hudson, who his working his way back from a second Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch Saturday night in the rookie Arizona League.
• Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich, who's been on the DL since July 4 with a right wrist strain (retroactive to July 2), will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter on Saturday. He has been swinging the bat for a few days.
Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.