Starting pitching, for the most part, has been the primary reason the Marlins are positioned to reach the postseason for the first time since 2003.
In all, Miami has used 13 starters this season. That total could reach 14 this weekend, if rookie Nick Neidert, who currently is a long relief option, gets a start.
Rotation depth once again will be tested with a pair of doubleheaders on tap this weekend against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
The Marlins on Friday will play a twin bill, with rookie Sixto Sánchez listed as a starter for one of the games. Washington is countering with Erick Fedde. Neither team has announced its other starter.
Rookie Trevor Rogers, who started on Wednesday, would not be available for the series with the Nationals. But if he stays lined up every fifth day, his next start falls on Monday in Atlanta.
"All of the guys are pretty much in line," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "There's no off-days, no extra days for guys at this point. Obviously, we'll have to figure out the back end of doubleheaders, or front ends, however, you want to look at it for Friday and Sunday."
The Marlins don't anticipate any issues with Rogers, who was lifted after three innings of Wednesday's 8-4 win over the Red Sox. The last batter the rookie faced in the third inning, Christian Vázquez, hit a liner that struck him on the back, near his hip.
After the game, Rogers said the ball caught him on the belt, which helped cushion the blow.
"It sounds like he was probably going to be a little sore today, but more muscular than structural," Mattingly said. "He started treatment yesterday. He was walking around fine."
Being cautious with Marte
Center fielder Starling Marte, who got a day off on Wednesday due to some general soreness, was in the lineup for Thursday's finale with the Red Sox.
Managing players' usage is something Mattingly, the training staff and the organization is monitoring closely, since players are wearing down during the heavy volume of games in the final stretch of the season.
The current homestand is 15 games in 11 days, including four doubleheaders.
"If he's sore again tomorrow, we'll take him out of there again," Mattingly said of Marte. "I think we have to protect, even though there's not that many games left. We can't let wanting to push him out there again, or any of our guys."
The Marlins are treating all the players with caution.
With little recovery time between games, the team is doing less pregame work on the field and more in the cages.
"It doesn't matter who it is," Mattingly said. "Trying to push him for that one extra game, and then we lose [him] for four or five. That ends up hurting you in a bigger way.
"Even though there's not many games left, I still think you have to use good judgment on risk/reward with guys."
Infielder Jon Berti, who is on the injured list with a lacerated right finger, has been hitting and fielding at the alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla. Berti is playing in scrimmages, and the anticipation is he will be ready to return on Sunday.