For the first time ever, the Rangers will visit Marlins Park to open up another two-game series with Miami after splitting two games with them back in June at Globe Life Park.
But unlike their sporadic matchups in the past several years, the Marlins find themselves in a position the Rangers have been used to: looking with anticipation toward October.
That's primarily because while the Rangers, sitting in last place in the American League West, have their sights set on next year, the Marlins find themselves three games back of the Giants for the second Wild Card spot, after their 10-2 demolition of the D-backs in Sunday's series victory.
They will look to Jarred Cosart, who shut down the Cardinals -- a team the Marlins are also chasing for a Wild Card -- in his last outing on Wednesday, against NL-wins co-leader Adam Wainwright, no less. Cosart only issued one walk and gave up three hits, getting his first win as a Marlin and his first since July 7. It was his best start since June 20, when he blanked the Rays in eight innings of six-hit ball with the Astros.
"I feel like I needed that [win against St. Louis] now that the nerves have subsided a little bit and I feel like I'm part of the team," Cosart said. "Ready to keep building on that."
Tuesday will be Cosart's third start with the Marlins, but he's not new to the Rangers. He's faced them three times and is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA against them in 18 innings. That July 7 win was actually against Texas, but he wasn't very sharp, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks in five innings.
Miles Mikolas will start for the Rangers on Monday, not far from where he grew up in Jupiter, Fla. But in addition to the pressure of pitching in front of his hometown supporters, Mikolas knows he needs to show the Rangers something better than he did in his previous start, when he allowed 10 earned runs in six innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Mikolas is 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA in eight starts for Texas this season, and he will likely need to be better to make the big league club in 2015.
"I know I'm up here kind of on an audition basis for next year," Mikolas said. "They've got a lot of guys coming back, so I want to make as good an impression as I can. … I've had my ups and downs, gave up a few runs last time out, but I thought I did a good job managing my pitch count and still getting us into the seventh."
As for pitching close to home, Mikolas said he's excited and will have several fans at the game.
"Lot of friends and family, old teammates, coaches," Mikolas said. "It should be a pretty good turnout for me. And [Nick] Martinez has the other game, so that's kind of neat, two Florida guys going."
Marlins: Stanton taking over on offense
Since last Monday against the Cardinals, it's been hard to keep Giancarlo Stanton off the bases. He's gone 9-for-23 with three home runs and has drawn six walks over the last seven days, which adds up to a .517 OBP. Entering Sunday, he had a .421 home OBP, which is third in the Majors. His OPS isn't too shabby either. At 1.049, it's also the third highest in MLB.
And for a ballpark that's as big as Marlins Park, it's impressive that 21 of Stanton's 32 homers have been at home. In fact, both of his longest-hit balls have been struck in Miami, traveling 484 feet and 470 feet, which makes the estimated 375-footer he hit Sunday seem rather ordinary.
Stanton, who has 88 RBIs for the season, hit a solo homer in his only at-bat against Mikolas.
Rangers: Martin getting time off against lefties
With a lefty on the mound for the Angels on Sunday, manager Ron Washington chose to leave Leonys Martin out of the lineup for the first time since Aug. 5.
Washington said he has been happy with Martin's approach recently -- "he's swinging at strikes," the manager said -- but Washington was more guarded in his assessment of Martin's performance against lefties.
Asked if Martin needed to show improvement to get more playing time against southpaws, Washington paused for about 20 seconds before offering only one word: "Yeah."
Martin is hitting .198 (19-for-96) this season against lefties with four walks and 26 strikeouts. His on-base percentage against right-handers is .345 and against lefties, it's .230.
• The Rangers lead the all-time series, 10-7, over the Marlins, including a 7-2 all-time record in Miami (all at the Marlins' former home, the current Sun Life Stadium).
• After starting the season with a 20-7 record in their first 27 home games, the Fish went on to go 7-17 over their following 24. Miami has turned things around at home since July 20, though, going 9-6 at Marlins Park despite scoring more than four runs in a game just four times.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.