Just a few days removed from a 9-1 stretch that made believers out of many Marlins fans, the tone has shifted yet again in Miami.
The Marlins, who have lost three straight games, will hand the ball to Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday night as the right-hander tries to halt Homer Bailey and the Reds at Marlins Park and get his team back into the win column.
Eovaldi's pitching line didn't show it -- he was charged with five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings -- but the right-hander had been coasting before the sixth inning in his last start against the Nationals on Monday.
Entering the frame down a run and having retired 12 of his last 14 batters, he was starting to look like the Eovaldi of old, who entered the 2014 season as the Marlins' No. 2 starter.
But in the sixth, Eovaldi proceeded to allow three straight singles, one of which drove in a run, and a walk before he was removed. Had the Marlins not pulled off a late-inning rally, he would've been charged with his seventh loss of the season.
Since his last win June 23 against the Phillies, when he pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings, Eovaldi has posted a 6.69 ERA in six starts. The Marlins are 1-5 during that stretch. He's struggled to keep his pitch count down. In fact, he had 31 pitches under his belt by the end of the first inning on Monday.
Bailey will serve as Eovaldi's counterpart on Saturday. Bailey, who is 8-5 with a 4.03 ERA, gave a stellar performance his last time out, throwing eight innings of one-run ball. But the right-hander didn't factor in the decision against the D-backs, as he got no run support in Cincinnati's 15-inning loss.
"That's what you try to do. You try to go deep into games," Bailey said. "I tried to save our bullpen a little bit. You can't really predict going 15 innings. But that's just the way it goes."
In six career starts against the Marlins, Bailey is 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA.
Reds: Phillips' repaired thumb OK after taking grounders
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is on the disabled list after having surgery July 11 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, took ground balls Thursday for the first time since having the operation, and he got through it with no issues.
"He's got a really great brace that protects his thumb from being bent to the wrong position when fielding," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Friday. "The great thing about it is he's able to continue working on his footwork and stay in baseball shape and throw, which is very important. He's still a ways away from being able to swing the bat."
Phillips remains on track to return sometime in late August.
"He's champing at the bit to go faster," Price said. "I don't know if this is an injury you can really rush to completion."
Marlins: Sore shoulder sends All-Star Alvarez to DL
On Thursday, the Marlins welcomed newcomer Jarred Cosart to their rotation. But on Friday, the club suffered a big blow when it placed All-Star Henderson Alvarez on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Jacob Turner will move back into the rotation and fill Alvarez's spot on Sunday in the series finale with the Reds.
"He came in today and was complaining of a sore shoulder, so we're going to get him checked out and shut down," Miami manager Mike Redmond said.
In 2013, Alvarez opened the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. He didn't return until July 4. The Marlins are hopeful this setback isn't as serious.
"I don't know if it is in the same spot or the same type of pain he had last year," Redmond said. "We're going to get him checked out and make sure that we get him healthy. Hopefully we caught it early enough so it's not a huge deal."
• The Reds activated right fielder Jay Bruce from the bereavement list on Friday and optioned reliever Curtis Partch to Triple-A Louisville. Bruce missed the last three games to return to Texas after his grandfather, World War II veteran Carter Stanford, passed away at the age of 94. Bruce went 1-for-4 with a run scored in the 5-2 Cincinnati win.
• Giancarlo Stanton's last seven homers have been solo shots. The most recent, which came on the first pitch he saw in his at-bat in the eighth inning of Friday's game, was his 26th dinger of the season and 143rd of his career, tying him with Mike Lowell for the third-most homers in Miami history.
Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.